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Did you know that in ancient Greece they built theatres alongside hospitals? And for a good reason: the performances made people feel better! The arts have long been a very important part of most civilisations, and the enjoyment of art of all kinds is well known for promoting an emotional response. Whether that's pleasure, pain or education - art is a powerful tool with a wide array of uses.

Taking part in creating art adds another valuable dimension. However good or bad we are at painting, it is a fascinating, absorbing and stimulating pastime, and it lets us see the world in a different, more focused way.

It's difficult to paint and worry about the bills: we have to concentrate, focus and think. As we progress we learn more and produce paintings that improve in our eyes and hopefully in the opinion of others. But the important point is to please ourselves, to make ourselves feel good. In this way we will improve our health and our general sense of well-being.

And the benefits of art go further than just the individual: if we help others to paint, we are doing a great service to ourselves as well as our community. There are thousands of painting groups in the country, and the companionship of painting together not only helps to improve our work, it also makes and keeps friendships. If you would like to start a group, the SAA, society for all artists can help you do just that.

So perhaps the saying should be a painting a day keeps the doctor away? You can still enjoy an apple of course... but why not paint it first?

Do you think art can have positive effects on personal health? Please let us know your thoughts below.

The SAA is for everyone with a love of painting. To learn more about the society, or to join today, please click here.

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