13 Reasons That Prove Viewing Nature Scenes Can Improve Your Health

bluebell wood landscape art

If you’ve got access to a few aesthetically pleasing photos of the great outdoors, a better mood, more productivity, and improved concentration might be closer than you think. In a 2006 meta-analysis published in Health Promotion International, researchers found theoretical, empirical, and anecdotal evidence for the following positive effects of viewing nature scenes:

  • Observing nature can improve productivity and concentration
  • People have higher life satisfaction and a more positive outlook on life when in proximity to nature
  • There are established methods of nature-based therapy that have succeeded in healing patients who had not responded to previous treatments
  • When humans observe, encounter, or otherwise positively interact with landscapes, animals, wilderness, or plants, there are several known beneficial physiological effects
  • Regardless of whether they regularly get out and enjoy nature, having nature in close proximity or simply knowing it exists is important to individuals

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the positive benefits of nature. Below, we will examine these perks and others in more detail.

Derwentwater Morning wall art

1. Reduce Depression

When we remove ourselves from nature, our innate emotional relationship with other living beings, known as “biophilia,” is hampered. Merely viewing nature scenes is enough to remind us of how expansive and soothing a direct experience with nature is. When we do not have access to natural beauty, we shut down.

This is backed up by the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2007 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey. This study found that residents in urban areas were seventeen percent more likely to suffer from psychological disturbance than their counterparts living in rural areas.

Little Masterwort floral canvas art

2. Give Your Brain a Break

In addition to depression, spending your time in a concrete jungle quickly becomes monotonous. We have an innate need for novel experiences that artificial environments fail to give us. In the short term, they can be stimulating and exciting, but in the long run, they do not give us all of the things our brain needs for excitement and novelty.

A 2013 study from the U.S. National Institutes of Health (NIH) shows that nature can give us a physical and mental sense of being away from the monotonous urban environment. Whether images or the real deal, nature scenes give us visually-rich stimuli that nourish the brain.

3. Heal Faster

A 2013 article in The Atlantic profiled a small suburban Pennsylvania hospital that had several rooms facing a small courtyard and several others facing a boring old brick wall. Hospital administrators began to notice that patients in rooms that were facing the courtyard were recovering much faster than those viewing the brick wall.

Plenty of studies since this finding have backed up the fact that viewing natural environments, including indoor plants and mounted prints, speeds up the body’s ability to heal after surgery and other procedures.

Distant Mountains panoramic wall art

4. Bolster Your Immune System

You know the old aphorism “a picture is worth a thousand words”? Well, it may also be worth a thousand vitamins, especially if the picture is a photograph of a beautiful, old-growth forest. In addition to healing faster, natural views improve your body’s ability to ward off colds and viruses.

5. Restore Your Focus

Our ability to exert willpower and focus is often taken for granted. However, what allows us to focus when we need to? To function, the parts of your brain that are ultimately responsible for your ability to pay attention rely on a source of energy.

If your brain is in constant use without a break, it runs out of energy. Natural environments help you restore willpower and focus by giving your brain time to recover. This NIH study goes into the process more thoroughly.

Misty Trees panoramic canvas print

6. Stave off the Effects of Dementia

A 2011 article in the BBC looked at the effects of “nature-deficit disorder,” a term created by Richard Louv to describe the negative effects of being away from nature. Organizations like the Woodland Trust located in Lincolnshire in the UK organize trips to the countryside to help older adults with dementia because the vibrant appearance of green spaces provides a number of benefits.

7. Improve Your Mood

Active workouts in a gym cannot even begin to come close to the many ways that being around nature can make you feel better. Science Daily summarized these findings from a 2011 study by a team at the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry that compared exercise in natural environments versus workouts in manmade facilities.

Researchers found that being around nature was associated with

  • Increased energy
  • Positive engagement and greater feelings of revitalization
  • Decreases in anger, tension, and depression

All of which contribute to an improved overall mood. And, natural images are likely to bolster our motivation to stick to an exercise regimen.

Autumn Palette canvas picture

8. Nature Makes It Easier for You to Relax

If we let stress build up, our fast-paced lifestyles can really take a toll. As a matter of fact, we may not even notice how stressed out we are in our daily lives. We can enter a state of relaxation by focusing our minds on green spaces. You are sure to relax when you go for a walk through a park, in the hills, or along the river, whether the walk is physical or mental.

Some surefire ways to destress include looking at breathtaking nature scenes on your computer’s screensaver, gazing at the flowers on your dining room table, or commissioning a business to provide you with wall art of one of your favorite nature photos for display anywhere in your home or office.

9. Reduce Your Perception of Pain

Distract your mind from discomfort and pain by focusing on nature. Research shows this is an effective strategy. In a study looking at gall bladder surgery patients, those patients who had a view of a wall did not fare nearly as well as those who had a view of green spaces.

Furthermore, the study found that the patients with views of trees had fewer negative interactions, were able to leave the hospital earlier, and had a greater tolerance for pain. These results have been replicated many times in studies exploring the effects of plants and nature scenes in hospital rooms.

Lonely Tree abstract art print

10. Lower Your Stress Levels

We have already touched on how viewing nature scenes help you relax, which is basically the same as lowering your stress. But, there is so much evidence that we needed to create another spot on our list. A study published in the journal Public Health reported that people who walked in forested areas experienced less production of cortisol, the stress hormone, than those participants who walked in suburban areas.

In fact, the stress-reducing benefits of nature images are so pronounced that the Japanese have coined the term Shinrin-yoku, which means forest bathing or taking in the forest atmosphere. Shinrin-yoku has been shown to have positive physiological gains. The NIH published a 2010 study cataloging the effects.

11. Experience More Happiness

Do we really appreciate how much spending time in the natural elements can improve our mood? Most of us underestimate what nature can do to improve our state of mind. Compared to activities we perform indoors, we seem to feel happier when we take part in the same activities outside. For instance, walking on a treadmill in a stinky gym is nowhere near as satisfying as walking in a park.

If you cannot get into nature as much as you would like, you can simply remind your brain of the healing powers of the countryside by surrounding yourself with photographs and images of outdoors scenes.

Woodland Fog gallery print

12. Boost Your Social Wellbeing

Social wellness is another benefit of enjoying nature. Researchers at the University of Illinois conducted a study tracking the social health of residents in public housing that did not have trees versus those tenants who lived in buildings surrounded by trees and green spaces.

The results showed that residents living around trees felt a greater sense of belonging, were more engaged in neighborly acts, and knew more people. They also enjoyed less domestic violence and a lower risk of crime.

13. Increase Your Lifespan

Do you want to live longer? Of course, you do. Who doesn’t want to increase their lifespan? But, did you know that you can live longer by simply having more greenery around you? In the May 2008 International Journal of Health Geographics, a study showed that nature images provided significant protection from having a stroke. On the other hand, there were higher risks of stroke mortality in areas with fewer trees.

By now, it should be clear to you that getting out in nature is a must for your overall wellbeing. Yet, it isn’t always easy to just get away from it all. If this is the case for you, consider surrounding yourself with plants and images of nature scenes, such as nature wall art from Fotoviva. Be well.

The Art of Derwentwater in Pictures

Derwentwater Calm by Rick Bowden

If you are lucky enough to have visited the Lake District in Cumbria, you will already know it is one of the UK’s most beautiful places. From the inspiring fells and lakes to the quaint towns and villages that provide wonderful food and produce after a day walking through the countryside.

Derwentwater is one of the many lakes that draw visitors by the thousands. In our collection of wall art we have quite a few prints featuring Derwent Water so we thought it was a great opportunity to show them all here. Feast your eyes on the art of Derwentwater in pictures by our team of expert photographers.

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Acrylic Print vs Canvas Print – What’s the Difference?

From time to time we get asked what the difference is between acrylic prints and canvas prints. They are both fantastic forms of wall art but have their own styles. Unless you have seen them hanging on a wall you may not be able to grasp how they actually look which is understandable. They are quite different formats and which one you choose will be determined by your interior design theme and your personal preference. Let’s have a look at the way the two wall art formats differ…

Large canvas wall print

What is a canvas print?

Originally we had paintings that were painted onto canvas material. These days we can actually print onto canvas itself, so basically we take the digital images that our great photographers supply us with (or yours for the custom canvas printing service) and we print the picture direct onto 100% cotton canvas. That’s not how it ends though! We then stretch the canvas around a solid wooden frame (known as stretcher bars) and use professional staples to attached it tightly. When we say ‘stretch’ we must emphasise the actual image is not stretched! What we do is one of two things. If the image and canvas size suits a plain side canvas best, we just make sure the image is printed on the front face of the frame, and leave plain canvas to wrap around the sides of the frame and the back section. If a canvas wrap print is more suitable then we either make the image wrap around the sides, mirror the image for the sides or clone it for the sides. If you have a personal preference for wrap or plain sides, please let us know when ordering your canvas picture.

Once the printed image on canvas has been secured it then has finishing tape applied and a UV varnish applied to the canvas to ensure it is protected from sunlight and can be easily wiped clean. A hanging bracket is then attached to the back of the wooden frame so the print is ready to hang.

gallery wrap canvas print

Gallery wrap style canvas print

plain sided canvas print

Plain sides canvas print

What is an acrylic print?

Although still a form of wall art that is great for the home or office, acrylic prints are a different beast altogether. These are much more modern looking, suiting interior themes that feature modern, trendy designs. They come ready to hang and in a variety of sizes, but that’s where the similarity with canvas art ends.

Acrylic prints are bright and glossy looking, with light reflecting through the acrylic sheet onto the image itself. They are made by printing the photographic image onto high quality photo paper, which is then pressure bonded to the back of a diamond polished acrylic sheet. This is like Perspex – clear, solid and clean looking. We offer 5mm acrylic prints in the floating style. This means that the acrylic does not have distracting stand-off bolts in each corner to attach to the wall. Our acrylic prints have a custom bracket system on the rear of the print which makes the finished acrylic print stand off from the wall. This creates the illusion of it floating off from the wall. It’s a truly stunning look.

Acrylic wall art detail

So which is the best?

There is no winner between canvas and acrylic art prints. Both have their place and both have their fans. Some people prefer the more traditional style of the canvas prints and they work in just about any interior space thanks to their timeless appeal and ease of fixing to the wall. Acrylic prints are gaining ground in terms of sales, especially with people who want more modern looking wall art for their new homes or indeed their office wall space. Acrylic art looks great where there is plenty of natural light as it reflects and absorbs it to produce a really glossy, dynamic looking piece of wall art.

We have both canvas and acrylic wall prints in the office and they don’t look out of place next to each other. Hopefully this brief guide will have given you an idea of the difference between acrylic prints and canvases. Choose from our collection of photographic prints and then buy them as either canvas prints or acrylic prints for your interior walls.


Lighthouse Prints That Illuminate Your Walls

The human fascination with the ocean has always been apparent and this also extends to our love of lighthouses. Think of lighthouses and you might imagine waves crashing violently around the building as it holds firm against the powerful storm that’s raging. The lighthouse is also a symbol of protection, helping sailors for hundreds of years from avoiding the rocky perils of the coastline.

Many of us don’t live by the sea so we tend to have wall prints in our homes of seascapes to remind us of the beauty and energy of the seas. You will know of our seascape print collection that features some of the most iconic images of the oceans and coastlines ever put together. Within this gallery we have several lighthouse prints that capture the solidity and spirit they bring to the coastline. They come in various sizes and can be purchased as canvas wall pictures or modern acrylic prints. Here is a selection of our lighthouse wall art that will bring your love of the sea into your home…

Another Storm Weathered

Another Storm Weathered

Sentinel lighthouse print

The Sentinel

Brewing Storm lighthouse art

Brewing Storm

Path to St Mary's Lighthouse canvas

Path to St Mary’s Lighthouse

Mumbles Lighthouse panoramic canvas print

Mumbles Lighthouse

Penmon Point Lighthouse

Penmon Point Lighthouse

St Mary's Lighthouse panorama canvas art

St Mary’s Lighthouse panorama

Distant Storm Kimmeridge lighthouse

Distant Storm

St Mary's Lighthouse Tim Wallace

St Mary’s Lighthouse

Showcase Your Photos with Acrylic Picture Frames

floating acrylic photo print

Great photographs make great memories. Photographs immortalise special moments. So why not share your memories and moments to your friends and family by showcasing them as acrylic wall prints. Not heard of acrylic art? Read on to find out how this exciting print media will transform your interior designs.

Acrylic picture frames are the perfect way to display your own photographs thanks to the awesome quality of not only their presentation but their print quality. They are actually frameless picture frames that float off the wall, creating an eye-catching piece of wall art. It’s what professional photographers and art enthusiasts use nowadays to display their photos in contemporary galleries. Thankfully they are no longer exclusive to this clientele and have been made readily available to all kinds of consumers, from home owners to amateur photographers. Nevertheless, whether you’re a professional photographer or just someone who loves taking pictures or one who wants to treasure their picture in the way it deserves to be preserved, acrylic printing is the way to go. Continue reading

Canvas Print Sizes Guide

Large canvas wall print

Canvas prints come in many different sizes, from small A4 canvas prints to larger canvases of A1 and beyond. You may not have heard about ‘A’ sizes, or you may need to visualise how big a certain canvas size will be before you buy a canvas, which is why we have created this handy guide for canvas sizes. There is also a useful measurement conversion tool below which converts between inches, feet and centimetres.

Basic Canvas Sizes
Our canvas wall prints are offered in several standard sizes which should suit most purposes. They start at 12 x 16 inch and go up to 24 x 34″ for the large canvas art. These canvas sizes are typical of what is offered on most canvas stores and galleries.

Bespoke Canvas Prints
If you need a specific sized canvas for your wall space, just contact us with your preferred size and we can work out our best price. We have made many bespoke canvas prints over the years that customers have ordered to suit their rooms. If you are going bigger than the large canvas art we offer, you just need to be careful that the picture can be enlarged as much as you want, and that the size fits the stretcher bars we have. In most cases you won’t have any issues. Continue reading

Acrylic Photo Blocks – The Perfect Gift

Acrylic Photo Print

What is an acrylic print? It’s very hard to describe just how great these acrylic photo blocks look, but if we say the words ‘funky’, ‘cool’ and ‘awesome’ it may go some way to giving you an idea, at the cost of sounding a little old school with those words. These personalised blocks, though, are in no way old school!  Fresh and unique, acrylic blocks are a fantastic way to show off your own photos or to make a gift that will stand out from all the others. Let’s find out just how good they are…

When we show our photo blocks to people who haven’t seen any before, they usually blurt out things like ‘Wow!’ and ‘I want one!’. They are so different to other photo displays that they immediately catch your eye. Modern and contemporary looking, the acrylic photo blocks can transform your pictures and bring them to life. The thick acrylic block allows light to flow through the display creating a super glossy and punchy image. It makes for a 3D style presentation as the light illuminates from the sides and top too. Essentially frameless picture frames, personalised acrylic blocks are freestanding so there’s no need to get the drill or hammer out. Simply set them down on a table, bookcase, desk or mantlepiece and they will provide a real talking point in your home or office. Show off your favourite photos or send them to your friends and family as a unique personalised gift. Continue reading

Capturing the Beauty of Autumn Colours

Autumn Dreams

Autumn Dreams by Jacky Parker

As the warm summer days begin to fade away we find the nights drawing in and the temperatures dropping. Our minds turn to winter and the ensuing delights of Christmas, but before all that happens we have the wonders of Autumn to enjoy. This brings about a visual change to our world, with new colours across the landscape and temperatures that make those glorious barbecues seem like distant memories.

One of the most inspiring things about Autumn are the incredible colours this season brings with golden leaves and misty mornings that . The trees that were once full of green leaves now begin to wind down for the winter, shedding the leaves like a colourful carpet on the ground. A multitude of colours like a patchwork quilt are created with reds, oranges, yellows and browns. Catch them in the low sunlight of an early morning and they can look like pieces of artwork in their own right. Add a touch of frost and the images they produce really catch the eye. Continue reading

The Top Five Art Galleries In The UK

UK art gallery guide

The type of art you like can be deeply personal. You might be moved by classical paintings, portraits of religious figures, and perhaps tales from mythology. Here at Fotoviva we’re more into the photographic art side of things. Certain styles and colours may speak to you more than others.

There are also countless art categories ranging from contemporary, classical, abstract, to modern. The best way to discover art for yourself is to visit as many art galleries as you can. Europe is home to many amazing art galleries to start or continue your journey of artistic exploration. Here in the United Kingdom we have countless galleries that are worth seeing, most of which are free to enter. In this article, we will outline the top five art galleries in the UK. Continue reading

An Interview with Don Tiffney

Daybreak photographic print by Don Tiffney

Daybreak – Seascape wall art by Don Tiffney

Don was one of our first photographic contributors and has a large selection of images on the Fotoviva Art Store. He has just developed his new website to showcase the exceptional work he has made so we thought it a good time to have a chat with him and see what’s going on.

How long have you been taking photos and what is your camera history?
I have been taking photographs since my early twenties after winning a camera in a sales competition (I was in the motor trade), it was my first ‘proper’ camera a Yashica 35mm GSN rangefinder. I was severely lacking in technique but was very impressed with the quality images the camera was capable of and I set out to improve my picture taking ability.

Over the years I progressed to 35mm film SLR’s & medium format too, my images were nearly always slides and I still have a collection of several thousand that I periodically get out, dust down my projector & have a slideshow session!

I have a collection of vintage cameras (all working) from box Brownies, folders, medium format & of course I still own a Yashica 35mm GSN rangefinder which I last used a week ago. Some of the older stuff I have been trying out lately too (75+ year old cameras) as I have found a supplier of film for these in New York, it really does test your skills!  Continue reading