Your Brain On Art

Your Brain On Art

No drugs required

A couple walks their dogs on the dunes at sunset

The title is from a new book by Ivy Ross and Susan Magsamen about how art affects our brains. When I first read the title, I couldn't help but think about the 70s-era PSA about drugs. I never bought into the idea behind the ad campaign about drug abuse. However, I can fully get behind the idea that art does good things to our brains.

I'm not sure where to dive in here because what these two women have done is simply remarkable and, honestly, a bit overwhelming. Instead of dissecting and explaining their book and how they came to their conclusions, I will point you to the website, Your Brain On Art and let you explore it for yourself.

The website really is something else too. Images expand, contract, and move as I scroll down the page. There is an invitation to explore your own aesthetic mind near the end, so I clicked through. What follows is a test of sorts which they call the "Aestic Mindset Index." This is a series of questions about how one interacts with art and how art emotionally affects a person.

My overall score on this assessment was 3.38, which is average. I scored above average on Aesthetic Appreciation and Creative Behavior, which makes me happy. But my score for Intense Aesthetic Experience was 1.6, which is between below average and low.

It is true that I don't have intense reactions to most things. I am the calm one and tend to take most things in stride. However, this has me curious about why I rate high on appreciation and creativity when it comes to art but don't have intense experiences around it.

So I will encourage you to explore the website and take the test yourself. Since you are reading my essays and I share my photography art with you weekly, you will probably score well on at least the appreciation part of the quiz. It's fun and easy to do. You can check it out here Your Brain On Art.

Today I have several photos from White Sands National Monument to share. At the top is the silhouette of a couple walking their dogs across the dunes at sunset. Typically, I don't have people in my photos. In this case, I thought it was a lovely scene.
Just below are the dunes at dusk, just after sunset. This is one of the images I had in mind when I went to White Sands. I like how it turned out.
Almost exactly twelve hours later, I photographed the edge of the dunes at sunrise. You can see by the shadows how the light is coming from my right and slightly behind me.
And finally, a tiny plant finds a way to grow in the sand. It reminds me of the palm leaves we would have in church on Palm Sunday as a kid. Even though the plant takes up less than half the frame, the shadow fills the rest for a pleasant composition.

The dunes at White Sands National Monument just after sunset

The edge of the dunes at sunrise

A tiny palm makes a way for itself in the desert sand

If you have a moment to look around my online art gallery, you might find something nice to display in your home or office. The link is

Thank you for being here, otherwise I couldn't do what I do.