During a series of brain-mapping experiments led by neurobiologist Professor Semir Zeki, he scanned the brains of volunteers whilst they viewed series of 28 pieces of art. The scans show that art triggered a surge of the chemical dopamine into the brain.

Dopamine gives you that lovely rich boost of warm feelings you get from pleasure and reward like falling in love, and the reaction in the experiment was immediate, indicating that when looking at things we consider beautiful, activity in the pleasure reward centre of the brain is increased.

Of course, If I asked you to think about your happiest memories, there is a strong chance you’d conjure up memories flooded with colour and light (unless your happy place is trudging up a bleak mountain in a gale), so I can’t really tell you that looking at a dark moody landscape will have the same effect on your own experience, but it’s an interesting experiment to try on yourself when you are next in a gallery.

The challenge of creating art and risking the pain of failure along with the magic of something wonderful has become one of the most confusing and equally joyful experiences to me. I’m challenging myself to of make art daily, pushing through the barrier of failed attempts of work that don’t seem quite right or seem not to capture what I set out to achieve. It’s a process that is hard work and sometimes painful, but the journey from sketch book to a final piece of art truly brings me huge rewards and I learn and grow along the way.

I’ve recently removed some of the cotton wool cocoon from my life and decided to share my art with a few more people. This is a big bold step for me because what if no one likes it! There is no instant gratification in this journey, and I’ll be pushing myself to try new things and ways of working in my sketchbook along the way.

I hope you’ll find a little happiness from my art and join me on my journey. I’ll be sharing the highs and lows of my art here and via my newsletter, sometimes something I sketch is not a perfect offering but part of a process and it may offer you something that may wake you up to the world around you or spark something that lets a little bit of the light in.

Thank you so much for reading, it would be lovely if you’ll join me on my journey, please sign up for my newsletter.