Painting is one of my favorite types of self-care. I let go, breathe deeply, and create. I have found that my experience varies depending on the subject matter, type of paint, and my mood.
Painting for Self-Care
Types of Paint I Use:
Acrylic: Water-based, quick drying, and versatile, acrylics are great for works on paper or canvas, especially if I want to build up layers of color. The green and blue piece above is one I did with a fairly thick application of acrylic in my journal. Even when I start without a plan, or the intention to simply create an abstract exploration of color and transitions, I end up with nature-inspired pieces. It’s just what lives inside me. 🙂
Watercolor: I love watercolors for their flow. The relative difficulty of the medium often gives me unexpected and beautiful effects. I have always enjoyed the variety of lines I can produce with a bamboo watercolor brush, like this one. And sometimes playing with the flow of watercolor and the boundary that you can create with lines of a Sharpie or pencil is fun. It’s a nice metaphor too, isn’t it? Where do you need to learn to open up and flow versus creating a hard-line boundary in your life? We will look at using watercolor in Art Journaling 101 in September.
Oil: Here I have saved the best for last. Oils were my first serious foray into painting, and they remain my favorite medium. While setup and cleanup are certainly more onerous, the rich, heady, experience of oils has always been worth a little extra time. Unlike acrylics, you can lay down color, and then lay in a second and push and pull them together to get new and varied surfaces, sometimes for hours. The pigments are rich and intense. Embarking on an oil painting requires a commitment. You give yourself over to the piece, and I love this experience of abandon and letting go.
While I sometimes enjoy the silence and hearing only the movement of my brush on the canvas and the palette, frequently I find music helps set the mood and keep me “in the zone” for creating.
During college I discovered so much wonderful Latin American and Spanish music during my adventures and travels. These tend to be amongst my staples when I am in the studio. The music I choose tends to be more quiet and jazzy, but can also shift to faster paced at times. It’s helpful to explore how different types of music influence your art making experience.
Here’s my shortlist of favorites:
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What gets your creative juices flowing? Do you find you learn things about yourself through art making? What kind of music gets you “in the zone” for making art?