Monday, June 11, 2012

Brain, Ideas, Art

Learning about the way the brain interprets and stores information helps me to think about the way I approach my painting process.

When I was first starting out as a painter, I was greatly influenced by the book Art and Illusion by Ernst Gombrich. His writing style seemed hopelessly dry and outdated, yet his words spoke to me as directly relevant to what I was trying to accomplish in the studio. He delved into the way the mind and eye work together to 'see' and understand the world. His perspective was scientific and art historical and there were nice diagrams to illustrate his points. I can see this book on my shelf right now with it's folded corners, and colorful scraps of paper sticking out of it's pages- shortcuts to the many highlighted and underlined passages I've come back to over the years.

I am now reading two more recent books by Eric R. Kandel, a nobel prize winner for his research in brain science. Kandel, much to my surprise, seems to be picking up where Gombrich left off and reinvigorating an interest in what he has termed the 'science of mind.' I am so enthralled with the way brain science affects painting and art that I can't wait to see how his insights will alter the way I consider my own process. I have just finished his very scientifically-focused book In Search of Memory: The Emergence of a New Science of Mind (link). And now I am reading the slightly more apropos book The Age of Insight: The Quest to Understand The Unconscious in Art, Mind and Brain. (link) I can't wait to finish this book! As I start a new body of work based on portraying memory, I have so much fodder for future ideas.


Terry Strickland said...

Katlyn, I will check these out, I recently read The Talent Code and found it fascinating. Happy Painting!

Katelyn Alain said...

Hi Terry! Oh, that's great- I'll have to look at The Talent Code next. Happy painting to you as well!

Alison said...

This is fascinating! I'm so glad you're blogging about it. I hope you will write more about your thought process on this!

Bruce Meyer said...

This is interesting to me, and timely. OK, you posted it a long time ago, but I just saw it now.
Best to you, B.