When I chose to “do the brave thing” and try my hand at watercolor, I never realized how much joy and healing it would bring me. The process, itself, is so meditative. A great opportunity to let problems go and just be present in the moment. Plus, it comes with a pretty picture at the end. And if the painting isn’t so pretty, it comes with a sense of relaxation and accomplishment.
Anyway, painting loose florals has been my greatest watercolor challenge. I’d given up on painting them entirely because they always just ended up in my recycling bin.
Well, today I thought, “Heck, I’ve been painting for several months now. Maybe it’s time to try a loose floral again and see if the things I’ve learned from other tutorials and other projects will improve my florals.”
Oh. My. Gosh. When I finished this painting, and knew I was done, I held it up to get a look, and … I cried. For Joy!!! People, I was so happy, I cried!!!! And then felt silly and laughed … and then cried some more. 😀 Feeling that much joy is no small thing for me these days.
There are tons of things in this painting that aren’t exactly right. But I’m not mad! And this one won’t end up in the recycling.
So today, I overcame my loose floral hurdle. And I’m actually looking forward to doing another floral watercolor sometime soon.
What have you been avoiding due to fear of failure or embarrassment? Can I challenge you to “do the brave thing” and give it a try with no expectations or judgements? With just a willingness to loosen up and have fun?
As you may have noticed, I had a difficult time over the holidays. Emotional and physical stuff all mushed up together into a perfect storm of miserableness. It was hard to get out of bed (physically and emotionally) and difficult to do anything fun or uplifting. Even painting, which has been such a joy for me the past couple of months, was undoable.
A friend suggested that I try painting my emotions rather than painting things — even if it meant painting with my tears on the paper. So I did two abstract paintings and they were so dark and a little scary. I couldn’t stand to use any color but black. Plus, they just look messy and not at all what I would normally paint.
But there was something cathartic about painting my dangerous and depressing feelings.
This first one I painted right before Christmas It’s called Family. Not a cheery holiday painting by any means, but an emotional portrayal of loss, heartache, and rejection. Art can be therapeutic. A safer way to explore the unsafe parts of ourselves. And the second one is called Black Hole.
If you want to see today’s painting and see that I’m not still stuck in the dark days of the holidays, you can find it at this link. It’s called “Rainbow Wishes” and is much more cheery, and will maybe balance out this somewhat Goth moment. 😉
I have been terrified of doing this bee tutorial. Bees are my thing, my symbol, my talisman. My name, Deborah, means “bee” in Hebrew. To paint a bee, and make it look horrible, seemed too scary for words.
Anyway, I decided today that I would do the brave thing and dive into the bee project. I was wincing and cringing the entire time because I was seeing nothing but mistakes … but then I let it dry, stepped away for a while, and suddenly I found I actually like it!
I am so happy I didn’t let my fears win on this one. I love having a bee that I painted myself.
I remember the year my parents decided to flock their own Christmas tree with canned spray-on fake snow. My mom had read an article that said to get the most “natural” look for your “snow,” you should spray the flocking into the air above the tree and let it settle like snow onto the branches.
Mom did the directing, Dad did the flocking, and I did the watching. Mom pointed out the angle Dad should spray the flocking, he pressed the spray button, and we waited for flocking magic to occur. Nothing happened. Where the heck did the flocking go?
Well, my parents had forgotten to take into account the fact that we didn’t have a cathedral ceiling. My dad had just flocked the ceiling. We all laughed so hard, I think my sides still ache from it to this day.
They took the tree out into the carport and did the “flock snowing down onto the tree” outside. The ceiling stayed flocked for many years. I’m not really sure why they never cleaned it up. But it gave me many years of funny stories to tell my friends when they’d looked a little scant-eyed at the living room ceiling.
Now I’m wondering if I might have a photo somewhere?
Update to Previous Post: I was able to keep my Christmas tree up, after all, but I needed to move it to a different location in the living room. Turns out that I had an incredibly triggering memory associated with decorating a tree in that other spot. As soon as I moved the tree, I felt fine and have been okay with the tree ever since. Sometimes you don’t have to throw everything away. Sometimes you just need to move the tree.
The holidays are an incredibly sad and lonely time for me now. I decided to try to reclaim my holidays this year. Rather than feeling the emptiness of previous traditions and people that are no longer in my life, I’ve been trying to start some new traditions. Even just tiny ones.
One of my new traditions is painting my own Christmas cards. I haven’t sent any Christmas cards for a number of years, but I decided not to let other people’s decisions that have messed with my holidays stand in the way of me enjoying a simple tradition that brings a smile in the midst of the sadness. Adding the idea of painting cards helps to make it a new tradition, just my own, rather than trying to restart a previous tradition that has memories that can make me sad.
Anyway, I’ve always been too intimidated to try painting. I can’t draw worth beans, so using paintbrushes always seemed way beyond my abilities. Plus, I’ve developed a slight tremor that makes straight lines and fine details nearly impossible. I’m so glad I had the brainstorm back in October that watercolors are a fairly forgiving medium and the soft lines and blended colors are part of the beauty. In other words, inexactness can be a benefit rather than something ruinous.
It’s been just about two months since I began trying my hand at watercolor. Not only is a fun learning project, it also functions as almost a mediation project. Sitting at the table, quietly focused on shapes and colors. Painting has now become my reward for finishing my daily chores. I have lots to do today, and I really want to paint, so I’ll get the chores done ASAP. I’m planning on painting either a cardinal or a snow scene today.
“Pickup Christmas” was done earlier in the week. This painting is my first try at the truck and tree. I’ve done more copies since then. Amazing how much I can learn in the course of one painting.
I hope we can all find ways to negotiate any sadness that may accompany the holidays.