Why mindfulness watercolor?
Mindful living means being fully present in your experience, without judgement.
I find that painting mindfulness in watercolor can be a fruitful place to practice this since the medium demands trust in your present brushstrokes and release of judging how the work in progress is going… which is ridiculously hard to do! This blogpost will outline all the tips that will get you to painting calm.
This is often why beginners watercolorist cling to tiny brushes and pencil outlines. My first paintings were definitely tight and extremely precise for watercolor. I think my brush had about 4 hairs on it and my face was only ever a few inches away from the paper. In those moments I craved the freedom that I saw in other artists who posted their process videos. It sounds so cheesy but it really seemed like watercolor masters would let their paints dance with water, held in full trust and creative intuition.
Watercolor as a Practice
It’s then that I started approaching my time painting as my watercolor PRACTICE. This allows me to take some pressure off and focus more on the process then the finished product on the page.
Bringing my awareness to the present moment of painting calm, with tools that I learned through my mindfulness practice, allowed me to turn off the incessant cycle of thoughts and drop into a flow state.
This is the most enjoyable way to create – loosing touch with time and outcome, and instead enjoying my own company while expressing my truest self ♥️
The Hard Part About Painting Mindfulness
Mindfulness can inspire self awareness, allowing you to identify negative thought patterns or habits and choose to implement more supportive thoughts and actions into your daily life.
This is also a really hard thing to do when painting! There have been so many times when I’ve been in the middle of a watercolor painting when I just can’t stop the reel of negative thoughts and self doubt.
I end up rushing through a painting, which can make it look TERRIBLE, because I’m just trying to get it done so I can see what it looks like. Or I look back at my painting and am so happy with it, only to have the thoughts of ruining it come crashing down – almost hindering me from making any more marks. My hand becomes timid and my decisions are noticeably hesitant.
What is Good Art Anyway?
I’m pretty sure that I’ve never painted a “good” watercolor painting without some confidence in my brushstrokes. And by “good” I mean a watercolor painting that feels connected to me and my creative vision.
I find that when I paint using mindfulness methods I allow myself to enjoy the process of creating. I am open to my creative intuition and decisions in mark making flow more easily.
The more I immersed myself in mindful watercolor painting, the more I discovered the liberating joy of painting with intuitive brushstrokes. I began to trust my instincts and let go of preconceived notions of how my artwork should look. Instead, I embraced the process—the gentle flow of paint on paper, the blending of colors, and the textures that emerged. I found that by surrendering to the moment and allowing my breath to guide me, I created art that felt genuinely connected to my inner vision.
Painting Mindfulness Tools: Using Breath
When we paint from a relaxed and comfortable place, we allow for the space needed to listen to our creative intuition.
The breath is the quickest way to your parasympathetic nervous system – which means it’s the quickest way to access the pathways of “rest and digest”. This is an essential mode for processing our experiences and healing as well as what’s needed to create artwork that can only come from you!
If you’re interested in learning how to paint with breath – try this free 5 minute video tutorial.
Our time to paint can be this sacred time to slow down and express your truest self.
The opposite of this is the “fight or flight” feelings of your sympathetic nervous system. Sometimes we don’t even notice that we’ve been moving so fast through our day, we keep ourselves stuck in this pattern of pumping adrenaline and anxiety. If we don’t take a minute to find our breath and bring some awareness around our actions we can float mindlessly through our day / week or even year. I love to think about painting myself calm, in alignment and ready to move from a place of trust instead of fear.
How Painting Mindfulness has Impacted my Work
Mindful watercolor painting has become a transformative journey of self-discovery for me. Through each brushstroke, I uncover aspects of myself—my emotions, desires, and even my vulnerabilities. It has become a sacred space where I can explore my inner world, heal, and express my truest self without judgment.
As I reflect on my mindful watercolor painting practice, I am grateful for the profound impact it has had on my life. It has taught me to slow down, breathe, and embrace the beauty of each moment. I encourage you to embark on your own mindful watercolor journey—to discover the magic that unfolds when you are painting calm with breath and allow your creative intuition to guide you.
If you’re interested in starting a watercolor practice rooted in self-care, check out the exercise below!
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