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Art and neuroscience 

Painting workshop combines disciplines to guide the creative process

click to enlarge NEW PERSPECTIVE :  David Saari helps painters better comprehend the creative process. - PHOTO BY STEVE E. MILLER
  • NEW PERSPECTIVE : David Saari helps painters better comprehend the creative process.
David Saari and Anita Hampton combined have more than 55 years of experience teaching but in what seem very different disciplines. Hampton, an artist, and Saari, a neuroscientist, are joining forces to guide painting students in a workshop they call “Tools that Unleash and Express the Creative Soul.” Instead of teaching painting conventionally by introducing composition, materials, and implements, the pair will focus on helping students examine the psychology enabling creative processes.

“This workshop will help artists take their artwork to another level … Old painters get into a pattern and beginners do something fresh: They both have something to learn from each other,” said Hampton. “Our senses, brain, and memories process our ideas; how we function. It helps us identify what we’re doing before we touch our canvas. When the artist understands how information is received, processed, and perceived, the individual has a much better chance of success in expressing their ideas through a well-organized design that displays their particular creative experience.”

Hampton’s emphasis is on line, shape, color, and texture; combined with the theory of design and composition. Saari, who’s a professor emeritus of the School of Public Affairs of American University in Washington, D.C., retired in 1999 and starting in 2002, devoted himself to painting. Saari will concentrate on how the brain’s limbic system, from which spring learning, emotions, feelings, and memory, interrelates with the five senses in the creative process. Hands-on painting exercises will follow lectures to reinforce the pair’s lessons.

 “We want artists to use all senses. It’s a follow-along process; we evaluate the paintings.” said Saari. “We want people to understand how our brain works in art to build a group of people who understand fundamental painting.”

 It’s a rigorous academic class combining theory and the tools of good composition, which is dedicated to students at least 18 years old. It will take place six Saturdays in a row, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., June 12 to July 17. The cost is $225; full scholarships are available. The workshops will take place at Dave’s Art Farm, 1451 Branch Mill Road, Arroyo Grande.

For more information call 474-8031 or 528-3564.

Fast facts

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 Community Action Partnership of San Luis Obispo County (CAPSLO) received a $5000 grant from the SLO County Community Foundation toward the I am Moving, I am Learning Program, which helps children learn daily activities to prevent obesity. For more information about the program call 544-4355

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 Intern Dylan Baumann compiled Strokes&Plugs this week. Send your nonprofit and business news to

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