My Take on “Herb & Dorothy” – as an artist.
Herb and Dorothy Vogel, a postal clerk and librarian, respectively, are everyday people who decided to collect art, and they do it with great passion. Herb and Dorothy have the knack for the early adoption of artists’ works before they got into the blue chip prices. For 50 years, they have sought and collected art they like, and that fit in with their life.  The art had to be small enough to carry home via taxicab and small enough to fit in their home. Their art collection is all over their house: lining the walls, under the bed, and in every nook and cranny of their tiny New York apartment.  .

Herb and Dorothy bought what they liked and made a lifelong joy of it. The Vogels started their art enrichment hobby by going to local arts events and looking, really looking, at the art. They appear to be an elderly couple on their way to the grocery store that ended up at the art world premiere showings by chance.  Far from it, they studied and planned each and every art outing and purchase. They trusted their initial reactions to works of art and bought what they liked.

They visited their local art venues (which happened to be New York City) and prowled for works in their price range.   “Art is not limited to the elite few. You don’t have to be wealthy or an art school graduate to enjoy art.” ( “Herb & Dorothy” documentary film maker Megumi Sasaki). The Vogels had an uncanny ability to select the most cutting-edge art, before others discovered it. The result? A collection worth millions, coveted by every major museum in the U.S.” (PBS)
Watching people look at and enjoy art, and especially collectors doing so, gives me a lot of encouragement to make art.  I have hundreds and hundreds of drawings and hundreds of paintings I have made.  Each one makes me wonder if anybody will ever “get” what I am doing, or at least enjoy it.   Every mark I make, every concrete pound I pour, has meaning for me.  Herb and Dorothy give me hope and encouragement in that they also find attraction, value, and deep meaning in artwork that artists make.  Even when others do not see the value, they have seen it and purchased the artwork.  They felt the good it did for them.
Seeing real Did you know that enjoying art is also very, very good for you?  By enjoying artworks in person and procuring it to enjoy at home, art helps you to relax and improves your memory.
A recent study at Cal Tech and Cedars-Sinai Medical center proved that the relaxed state of mind (theta and alpha brain waves) is an enormous benefit to our neurological systems and our minds.  These are the brain waves we
use in viewing art, by the way.
(Notice I did not use the commonly used words “nervous system” ; somehow “nervous” never goes with “relaxation” when aligned with art).
“Stronger and more lasting memories are likely to be formed when a person is relaxed and the memory-related neurons in the brain fire in sync with certain brain waves, scientists said on Wednesday.  Researchers from the United States said their findings could help develop new therapies for people with learning disabilities and some types of dementia.”  Theta and alpha are the brain waves we use in viewing art as art enrichment.  The research found the relaxed mind improves incoming information processing, retention, and memory.  “Our research shows that when memory-related neurons are well coordinated to theta waves during the learning process, memories are stronger,” said Adam Mamelak, a neurosurgeon at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Memory is a key component to good mental health.  We use our memory to build our senses of experience, quality of life, and these impact our physical health as well.  It makes sense that the relaxing art enrichment experiences keep us sane.  While it is common sense that beautiful, attractive art can do this, the discharge of chemicals upon viewing so-called disturbing art may also play a part in our sanity.

I prefer the former version of relaxing, joyful art, myself.  And, yet, those discordant splashes of paint, the colliding colors and brush strokes of mediums to visual meaning actually can affect us visually.  It does so as a release of tension by art as highly visual experience. Our eyes tell our brains what they see and it is by our mind’s interpretation of that vision that we get our reaction and memory.

Most of the time, our mind tells us the art is an illusion, but not before our neural memory has had an impact on our body system; we get an adrenal oomph before we get the logical answer which equals a strong reaction to the art. Many people call this rush “fun” as it relates to their art choices, movie choices, sport choices and recreations.

We can take up the art habit right where we are.  Not only is it a fun way to get out into town and enjoy our creative environment, but it is also a really good way to improve our well-being. As an artist, I make art every day, but I still have a need to look at life and art in novel ways through the art vision of others. So, on that note, here are some of my art works to inspire your artful living this month.   Perhaps your taste will yield the next amazing art collection, one artwork at a time, just as Herb and Dorothy did.


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