I’ve been wanting to share with you what I’ve been dabbling in lately. While I could tell you that I’ve been successfully making soap over the past few months (got all the supplies and everything), that would be a lie. For some reason, my time to dabble in soapmaking isn’t here yet.
Right now I’ve been knee deep in learning watercolor painting.
I’ve long been enamored with the whimsy of watercolors. Something about it feels so deeply feminine and in flow.
Watercolor has also scared me for a long time - seemed like there were too many ways to mess up. And this recovering perfectionist does not like to feel like she’s messed up or failed in some way.
Am I right, ladies?
But I am committed to my work of dabbling myself out of perfection and back to my inspired self who is living a more joyful, enlivened life, so I got myself some brushes, paints, and paper and got to playing. Now full on hooked.
Watercolor provides so many lessons for us, beyond creating something beautiful. Some of the most beautiful work unfolds when you go in without a plan.
When I follow my intuition and let my feelings guide me (rather than the plan), I am giving myself creative freedom. The plan dictates an expectation, and expectation often leads to feelings of failure because the end product usually doesn’t reflect the expectation.
When you drop into your natural flow state, you access creative freedom. And that is where the magic happens. You uncover the deep, inner artistry that the plan never could have predicted. So, instead of putting brush to paper with the intention of creating a perfect single rose, I start forming petals and a bouquet of different flowers comes of it. Or perhaps something abstract that feels more poetic than that perfectly painted single rose ever could have.
It is forgiving.
If you make a mistake that really must go, you can usually blot it with a paper towel and transform it into something else. The flow and movement of the water is your friend if you work with her
It’s okay to bleed.
In fact, the bleeding and blending of the water and colors together is my favorite part. Using the water, you can watch where the bleeding of the colors takes you. If you can take a few deep breaths and surrender to the moment and being with the colors and the water, real magic can happen. When you surrender to the will of the water, you can expand your creative consciousness to see your creation in a whole new light.
Imperfect is beautiful.
Too much detail can take away from the soft, flowy effect that watercolor gives. Trust in the imperfections as you go, and you’ll see the beauty in all the brushstrokes.
Presence and patience are your friend.
The nature of painting watercolor requires that you be present with your creation. To take deep breaths and watch how the color moves in the water, how they blend together, and where your brush wants to move next. It is a meditation in motion, with a gorgeous gift at your fingertips.
It’s okay to walk away and come back to it.
When I catch myself in a rush to complete the task, just get it done, or am not sure what to do next with my work, I simply put down my brushes and walk away for a little bit. It gives me a breather and some great perspective. Plus, once the paint dries, you’ll be able to see your work in a new light and can choose to add more to it or feel complete with it.
Let me assure you that I am no expert in watercolor here, but the simple act of dabbling in this creative practice is enough to expand my mind, open my heart, and connect me to my inner wise woman. If you are drawn to this beautiful artistic practice the way I am, then I invite you to pick up a brush and delight in the experience.
Beloved Supplies for Watercolor Dabbling
- Thick, Beautiful Paper (I like Strathmore Cold Press Ready Cut)
- Painter’s Tape to prevent the paper from warping from the water. I tape down the sides of the paper to my work table before painting.
- Brushes of various sizes and shapes (like these)
- Really good paint (I like Winsor & Newton)
- A plastic palette to blend and save colors (like this one)
- Two glasses of water - one for cool colors and one for warm colors
- Pinterest to pull up images of what you want to work with (I like to look up flowers and trees)
- Lighting a candle and putting on a soothing music playlist to get the mood right while I paint
Itching to try out watercolor yourself?
Check around local art studios and stores to find a beginners workshop near you. I also found a bunch of classes online:
- Watercolor Basics for Beginners
- Painting a Crystal Cluster
- Painting Trees
- Painting Feathers
- Painting Moonlike Planets
Are you a seasoned watercolor dabblist? Share your favorite tips and tools in the comments below!
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