As we move through autumn and into winter, the days continue to grow ever shorter and darker.
And whilst the lightness of spring and summer is truly behind us, there is still plenty of colour to be found in the world around us. From the fiery leaves of fall, and newly illuminated city squares, to a plethora of art attractions all over the UK.
The lower levels of daylight at this time of year can mean that we experience a dip in our serotonin levels which can, in turn, lead to low mood and feelings of depression. The changing seasons certainly can affect our wellbeing but, thankfully, art can help.
Art has long been used to help improve mental health - both by creating it, or simply by spending time admiring the work of others. According to The Mental Health Foundation “arts can make a powerful contribution to our mental health”.
University College of London professor and neurobiologist, Semir Zeki, claims that when we look at a piece of artwork the feel-good chemical, dopamine, is released in our brain and we experience pleasurable feelings which can help improve our wellbeing.
Art museums like The National Gallery in London are great places to visit to immerse yourself in masterpieces by the great artists. Like George Seurat, the French post-Impressionist artist who is considered to be the pioneer of creative techniques ‘pointillism’ and ‘chromoluminarism’; the practices of creating an image in a full range of tones using a series of coloured spots, and the separation of colours into individual patches, respectively.
There, in room 43, you can see his 1885 painting Le Bec du Hoc, Grandcamp: an oil on canvas painting depicting a cape on the Normandy coastline, which is part of a series of coastal scenes and seascapes which the artist created during his stay in Grandcamp.
Throughout November, Tate Britain, in London is hosting a series of LGBTQIA+ tours, with the aim of examining their vast historic and contemporary collections from the perspective of sexuality and gender identity. These tours are led by volunteers with lived knowledge of the themes and works which they are exploring, and these experiences are sure to be immensely interesting, as well as helping to bolster the voices of those still marginalised in the art world.
English contemporary artist Grayson Perry also has a number of his vases currently on display at the Tate, which feature images of himself as his female alter-ego Claire; his work seeking to address the themes of identity, gender, social status, and sexuality.
The Tate Liverpool has work by Dutch De Stijl abstract artist Piet Mondrian on display, including his iconic piece Composition with Red, Yellow and Blue c.1937-42. This exceptional example of Neoplasticism (abstract work typically consisting solely of simple shapes, lines and primary colours) incorporates bold black horizontal and vertical lines, forming areas filled with primary colours and pure white paint. This style is much recognised and revered, with contemporary artists like Chris Ross Williamson even paying homage to such pieces in their own works.
Chris Ross Williamson is so taken with the work of the masters, and clearly acknowledges the value of spending time appreciating art, that he has created a series of gallery-themed prints, each depicting his relatable characters Barton Darcy and Garfield Eldrich gazing at a different famous painting by acclaimed artists like Jackson Pollock, Andy Warhol, Monet, Banksy, and Piet Mondrian.
Stunning Dorset sculpture park, Sculpture by the Lakes, is another great place to visit, and perfectly combines sublime artwork with the beauty of nature. Founded by sculptor Simon Gudgeon, the park features more than thirty of his monumental bronze sculptures, as well as a gallery displaying his smaller pieces and work by other local artists.
His large-scale sculpture Pelicans is an elegant and superbly sculpted piece, which is showcased proudly on one of the lakes; its magnificence reflected and enhanced by the serene waters.
As spending time in nature is another pastime purported to improve mood and wellbeing, spending a few hours marvelling at art whilst enjoying the great outdoors is sure to provide a double dose of feel-good vibes.
If, however, the weather proves too inclement to brave, try visiting a local art gallery to lift the spirits. You can stay warm indoors protected from the elements, whilst soaking up some culture, and feeling the benefit of a bit of creative energy.
Our Gallery in Fordingbridge is a lovely place to visit, and you can browse through our latest collections of wall art and sculptural pieces, as well as our Interiors collections of homewares and gifts.