Change your mood and lift your spirits with the simple joy of color! Follow along with watercolorist Jean Haines in her new video, Watercolor Mindfulness, as she guides you through exercises designed to help you let go of stress and truly enjoy your painting time. Try the simple relaxation techniques listed here, and head to ArtistsNetwork.tv to stream the full video, including step-by-step demonstrations of Peaceful Wisteria and Energetic Grapes!
“So many people are worried about painting purely because they put such high expectations on their shoulders of having to achieve a masterpiece. Actually, painting can be such a joy…just to watch color flowing over paper, to de-stress, and to just literally change your mood.” ~Jean Haines
A Waterfall of Washes
Choosing relaxing greens, blues, and violets, start by putting a row of solid colors on the top of the page. These blocks represent any problems or worries you might be having. As you add water and let the colors flow down the paper, imagine all those troubles washing away. The goal is to enjoy what’s happening with the pigment as you create a beautiful soft abstract.
“Really, it’s not what you’re painting. It’s how you feel when you’re painting. I have to be honest, I’m feeling quite relaxed at this stage. There are some really pretty patterns happening.” ~Jean Haines
Controlled Color Flow
Take out a new sheet of paper and choose your favorite color from the previous exercise. By wetting the paper first, you can control exactly where you want the color to go. Touch the color to the wet paper wherever you want to see a color burst, and focus on how you feel when the color starts to run. You can drop more water on top, draw the color out to the dry areas, or add more color where you’d like it. Think about how you’re moving your arm, and try moving in different ways to get abstract patterns.
“Don’t worry about what’s going to happen with this paper when you’re finished with it. It’s not a frameable painting. It’s purely about learning and looking at these gorgeous color patterns…if you see an area that’s beautiful, leave it. If you see an area that’s boring, just throw some water on it.” ~Jean Haines
Positive in the Negative
Start with a clean sheet of paper, and in the center of the paper, leave an area white. Think about this area as representing a problem, as large or as small as you like. It could be a flower, the sail of a boat, or any white shape. Think about that shape and paint around it, creating a negative edge. After that edge dries, which should happen fairly quickly, start letting color flow around it. The edge will stop the color from running into the white space. If you like, you can make the problem disappear entirely by painting into the white space, as Jean has done below.
“I’m just going to leave my problem [sitting] there, and I’m going to focus on everything going on around the problem, which is a much better way to be. This area is the positivity, the positive side of the painting…you can forget your problems when you’re painting, and that’s no bad thing.” ~Jean Haines