Opinion: Fun getting health benefits from life & art in Laguna Beach


By Paul Fremes

Science has proven that looking at and creating art provides a host of benefits such as reduced stress, improved memory, and greater sense of well-being. To maximize the experience there are easy-to-learn ideas used by the masters of painting that have rarely been shown, until now. Discover how to get more out of Laguna life while gaining health benefits from art.

Sometimes we look at abstract paintings such as those at Laguna Art Museum’s collection and wonder what was the artist trying to say?

Sometimes we look at representational paintings and think, “it’s interesting to see a haystack in a field”—but we don’t get much more from it than that. Completely understandable if you’ve had those thoughts!

Here’s a key: The masters of painting discovered that when we look at an image, we unconsciously give “psychological weight” or importance to objects based on how much they grab our attention. Artists use this idea to calculate or “eyeball” a balanced image where all the parts work together—just as musicians in an orchestra work together creating a symphonic sound.

How can two parts of an image equal each other if the dark part is smaller than the bright part? Due to the brightness and weight illusion dark objects sometimes look “heavier” than bright objects owing to our basic instincts. A warning can trigger in our brain when we see distant small, dark objects as they could be predators.

Therefore, sometimes we give more “weight” or importance to small, dark objects. Now that you know a good image is like a puzzle where all the parts fit together, you can visit Laguna Art Museum to experience the immense pleasure of seeing art as both an emotional, and intellectual experience.

At places like Main Beach or Heisler Park, try using these ideas to create timeless images with a camera. Creating imagery this way is so immersive it’s like meditation—for a moment you forget about everything else to think about how all the parts of a scene work together. In the process, you automatically get health benefits. This is an introduction to a new way of seeing the world and art as well as creating imagery like a music composer creates a symphony.

Like learning to play a musical instrument (or balance a bicycle), it takes practice. Through this wonderful journey you can get more out of life and art in beautiful Laguna and come away with next-level images you created!

Paul has facilitated photography workshops for 26 years at institutions including Simon Fraser University. He has also provided photographic services for organizations including, Bard on the Beach, Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, Vancouver Opera, Arts Club Theater, and Ballet BC. Email: [email protected]

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