Posts Tagged ‘brain pickings’


Story of Matisse’s Childhood

March 22, 2015

The Nature and Nurture of Genius: The Sweet Illustrated Story of How Henri Matisses’s Childhood Shaped His Creative Legacy by Maria Popova

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.33.21 AM Recently Brain Pickings included an in depth review of the book called The Iridescence of Birds: A Book about Henri Matisse by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Hadley Hooper on Matisse’s childhood and the influence and nurturing that his parents provided him. An excerpt from Brain Pickings review:

At 8PM on the last day of 1869, a little boy named Henri entered the world in a gray textile-mill town in the north of France, in a rundown two-room cottage with a leaky roof. He didn’t have much materially, but he was blessed with perhaps the greatest gift a child could have — an unconditionally loving, relentlessly supportive mother. Like many creative icons whose destinies were shaped by the unflinching encouragement of loved ones, little Henri became the great Henri Matisse thanks to his mother’s staunch support, which began with an unusual ignition spark: At the age of twenty, Henri was hospitalized for appendicitis and his mother brought him a set of art supplies with which to occupy his recovery. “From the moment I held the box of colors in my hands,” Matisse recounted, “I knew this was my life. I threw myself into it like a beast that plunges towards the thing it loves.” And that thing flowed from love, too — it was Matisse’s mother who encouraged her son, like E.E. Cummings encouraged all aspiring artists, to disregard the formal rules of art and instead paint from the heart. “My mother loved everything I did,” he asserted. 

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.33.55 AMThe illustrations by Hadley Hooper are delightful (and the colors delicious).

Screen Shot 2015-03-08 at 11.33.31 AM

To read the entire piece please click here


Brain Pickings has a free weekly newsletter. It comes out on Sundays and offers the week’s best articles. Here’s what to expect. Like? Sign up at the site.


How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More than Any Other Activity

February 23, 2015

Brain Pickings

Every Sunday morning I receive an email from Brain Pickings. It is filled with information that I find very useful. It is like my Sunday newspaper, there is always something that I refer to in the future in some way. I don’t recall which edition this article was in called How Playing Music Benefits Your Brain More than Any Other Activity by Maria Popova but I popped the link into a blog post draft and found it today while thinking about what to post.

Just an aside, I have been putting many links onto the MEArtsEducation facebook page at but I know that many of the blog readers on not on the facebook page. I invite you to visit soon so you don’t miss any of the content going there.

Anyway, the benefits of music article is located at The start of the piece is located below. With Music in Our Schools Month just around the corner, you may want to share this with your students, parents, and colleagues.

“Playing music is the brain’s equivalent of a full-body workout.”

“Each note rubs the others just right, and the instrument shivers with delight. The feeling is unmistakable, intoxicating,” musician Glenn Kurtz wrote in his sublime meditation on the pleasures of practicing, adding: “My attention warms and sharpens… Making music changes my body.” Kurtz’s experience, it turns out, is more than mere lyricism — music does change the body’s most important organ, and changes it more profoundly than any other intellectual, creative, or physical endeavor.

If interested you can check out all that Brain Pickings has to offer at If you like what you see, you can join me in receiving the email on Sunday mornings.


What Makes You Think?

January 13, 2013

brain pickings

Not sure if you’re familiar with Brain Pickings, the weekly free newsletter that arrives by email on Sunday’s. It is filled with articles on a variety of topics including the arts. It is put together by Maria Popova who are also writes for Wired UK and The AtlanticOn Twitter Maria has described herself as: Interestingness hunter-gatherer obsessed with combinatorial creativity.

Maria put over 5,000 hours into creating Brain Pickings. She is one of those people who makes me think “out of my box”. When I take the time to read her Sunday email the articles can take me down a pathway I haven’t ventured before. Pathways that really make me think.

Like today, here I sit getting ready for the Mega-regional workshop tomorrow at UMF, and the Brain Pickings email arrived and I am off reading about Sherwood Anderson on Art and Life: A Letter of Advice to His Teenage Son, 1927. His letter is found in a book of letters called Posterity: Letters of Great Americans to Their Children.

Last weeks entry was called Creativity Is Like a Slot Machine.  The piece is about the book called How To Think Like a Great Graphic Designer by Debbie Millman. Twenty graphic designers are interviewed for the book which combines their answers and ideas on their creative process, work ethic, and general philosophy of life. I can only imagine how interesting the conversations were.

Next time you’re looking for something to take you down a pathway perhaps on a foggy afternoon I highly recommend Brain Pickings!

%d bloggers like this: