Thursday, May 19, 2011

New Painting: Nap time!!

(c) Michelle Hunter 2011
(you can click on the image for a larger view)
Zzzzzzz (Sleep)
20" x 20"
Acrylic on Stretched Canvas

Now if you know anything about me, other than I'm an artist, you would know that I LOVE sleep. Sleep is awesome and one of the best things in the world. So doing a painting on the brain and sleep was particularily interesting to me.

The Concept
We spend about one-third of our lives sleeping,so this is a topic we all can relate to. Sleep not only feels good for its relaxing nature but it is crucial for brain development and dealing with what we encountered while awake.

Detail: Zzzzzzz (Sleep)
(c) Michelle Hunter 2011
Hippocampus (yellow) - Stores our short term memory. So when we sleep, that information is transfered into our cortex which holds long term memory.

Prefrontal cortex (front of the brain) - Ever been awake for too long? Brain feels heavy and screaming for sleep? If you pay it a little attention, that screaming may feel concentrated at the front of the brain. The prefrontal cortex is sensitive to sleep deprivation. It is also highly active while dreaming.

Thalamus (middle of green) - In order for our brain to proceed processing information taken in during the day, the brain needs to shut off outside stimuli. That happens thanks to thalamus. If someone doesn't respond to what you may say or do to them while they are asleep, they are busy stop bothering them.

Pineal gland (back middle of green area) - produces melatonin. When produced, we get sleepy. Light reduces the production of melatonin so if you're trying to fall asleep but a light is on or TV, good luck.

Hypothalamus (front middle of green) - is what naturally signals us for when it's time to sleep and when it's time to wake up.

Brainstem (bottom of green) - those wakey wakey signals from the hypothalamus travel through the brainstem to the rest of our body to get us moving (and in some cases, we may just move into another position to fall back asleep).

The Colors
Well I took a picture of my bed with the lights out so I can try to get a sense of how the pillows and sheets looked in the dark. I put some free weights on the pillow to see how impressions were made as if ones head was laying on the pillow. That resulted in most of the painting being blacks and blues.

Since the focus of the painting is the brain I decided to have the brain fairly 'bright' since it's still very active while all else is calm. The colors used, orange, green, yellow, red were a nice complement to the blacks and blues used for the rest of the painting.

No Face! WHY?
Well of course the painting isn't about the face; we all sleep so it doesn't matter who the is person that's in bed. No need to try to guess who it would be, who they may remind you of or try to critique their face. So, no face. Yet I wanted to show that it is human being in bed, so I show some shoulders and the neck which then fades to the pillow s/he/it is resting on. It then resumes at the brain.

Check out pictures of this painting while it was forming by visiting this blog post:


ALL feedback is welcome, there are tons of ways to reach me. Also feel free to share this with others you feel would want to see it.

Thanks for reading!! Until next time....

Hunterart Line: 646-504-5034
Twitter: Artcoholic
GTalk: mkh9781 or uniqueh


Brain series (so far):

Painting 1: Past, Present, Future or Dreaming

Painting 2: Caffeine Headache

Painting 3: Don't You Remember?

Painting 4: First Aid