Painting Myself Calm

After getting discouraged recently with watercolors,  I decided I was going to put them away and focus on acrylics.  Then I bought a book!   Yes, another one!  Paint Yourself Calm: Colourful, Creative Mindfulness Through Watercolour, by Jean Haines. I already have a few books of hers as I like the way she paints.  However, I haven’t been able to get to grips with how she does it so I resisted buying her new book – until now.  It came in the post a few days ago and as I was reading it, I started to feel better already.  This book isn’t so much about as teaching you how to paint, but more like trying to help inspire you to paint. So I read the book through one evening and on Sunday I decided to try a few things out.

I had some paintings I started last week that didn’t work for me and I found some old ones that were not great, but they were clean on the back.  I thought that this was just going to be an exercise, with no goal, just fun.  So it didn’t matter that I was working on the back of something.  No sense in wasting paper.  So this is what I did.


Painting with yellow.  I have since chopped this up and am working on a couple of things.


Painting with blue.  This was not intended to be a seascape, but that is how it turned out.  I created a horizon line by using a damp brush to take out some pigment.  This is a small piece – 3×5 inches.  I think it will make a lovely card for someone special.


Painting with blues.  This is just paint and water.  This was done on a scrap 3×7 inches.


And here is some more blues.  Just paint, water and some sea salt.  It looks like a stormy sea.  I might add a horizon to this later.  This is A4 size.

I had fun painting with just a few colors.  I didn’t know what was going to happen when I started painting.  It didn’t look like anything in the book, but that is ok as there was no object in mind.

After I painted these, I started on some of the other exercises in the book.  This time they are of ‘things’.  They are not my things, but will be my take on what I will be asked to do as an exercise.  I think the exercises I did earlier with the yellow and blues helped me to loosen up and relax me.


Here is another little thing that helps me relax when I’m painting.  It’s nice to have a little bit of company!

Crop It!

After a not very fruitful afternoon of painting poppies last Saturday, I revisited the two pieces I completed and decided there might just be something worth salvaging.  I often hang onto work and then cut up pieces, work on the back, or throw things out.  I’ve made a lot of birthday cards recently out of work I wasn’t completely happy with.  No sense in wasting my efforts if I can use even a little bit of my work to make someone happy.


This is approximately 6 inches square.  I’m still playing around with the dimensions.  The original size is A4.  There is supposed to be a lovely blue sky, but the green paint bled into it too much and it didn’t look right.


This one will be approximately 3 x 5 inches cropped from A4.  I had another sky issue and I also wasn’t too crazy about the bottom of the painting.  This would make a nice card or a small framed painting.

I think I might buy some mount card and try making my own mounts.  I seem to recall trying this once and failing miserably.  My skills with a craft knife are not that great. Practice makes perfect though.


Poppies – Going Large


Poppies – Watercolor and Ink on W&N Cotman 200lb – A3

This is a more controlled version of the poppies I painted previously.  I also used a different colored red ink and waited until the paper dried a little bit.  I also used a larger sheet of paper.  I am hoping that painting on larger sheets will help loosen me up.  I don’t know which one I like best.