The pleasures of watercolor painting

I love painting. It’s like a form of meditation for me. I first took a watercolor class when I was in graduate school, almost 20 years ago. I did it as a stress relief activity, once a week for a semester at the arts center at my university. I remember finding it so soothing, the way that focusing on painting just cleared my mind. I stopped obsessing about all the daily worries and concerns and anxieties. I stopped thinking about my work and my experiments and everything that I was supposed to do. I could just quiet my mind and move the brush and play with the colors and paint. Everything else faded away.

But I only did it that one semester. The class ended. I tried painting a bit more, and I did make a few more paintings. But then I allowed myself to get even busier with my research/grad school activities, and I stopped carving out time to paint. I put my painting supplies in a box, and that box ended up in the closet, forgotten, for years. Every so often, I would clean out my closet and see the box and think, “Hey! I should paint some time…”

But I never made the time.

But then, 20 years later, in Feb 2021, I started painting with my youngest child, Jimmy. He was struggling after the divorce (a process which began in March 2020) and my ex-husband moving out of the house (which didn’t happen until January 2021). Painting was something fun that the two of us could do together. So I pulled that old box of painting supplies out of the closet (and most of the watercolor paints weren’t even dried out!), and I started painting. And then in March 2021, I had broken up with my boyfriend and was trying to find activities that brought me joy during a painful time. Jimmy lost interest in painting, as my interest increased. I went and bought a nice new watercolor paint set, brushes, and lots of paper.

I began painting almost every day, even if it was just for 10 or 20 minutes. And it was a time of peace and creativity and joy in my life. And then I learned about Brene Brown’s “Ten Guideposts for Wholehearted Living” and how engaging in regular creativity is actually a necessity for human beings to be healthy. And that just cemented the importance to me of regular painting.

I no longer paint EVERY day, as I’m currently working on giving myself more fluidity with my routine these days. But I do paint quite often. And it is peaceful and soothing every time I do it.   

I even made a website recently where I am posting my artwork.

Artbyacademicsandfriends.com

I don’t expect to get much traffic, but it feels good to just “put myself out there” this way. Just sharing my creations with the universe.

My first paintings from my watercolor class in 2003

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