Our schedules are disrupted and our senses are either over- or under-stimulated because the normal things we hear, see, and touch in our daily routines have changed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Your emotions are real and valid. We all need ways to express our strong emotions in productive ways that don’t diminish their value.
Taking a creative break is an effective way to express our emotions. Making art can be a soothing activity to engage and manage our senses. Here is a simple watercolor painting project you can try at home. If you trust the process, it can take you from perceived chaos to a sense of calm while discovering unexpected beauty.
The key is to intentionally observe how wet pigment moves, swirls, and interacts on wet paper while being safely contained on the page. This process helps us acknowledge the chaos around us while at the same time we regain a sense of control. Go ahead, try it. Have the courage to shift from feelings of anxiety to peaceful acceptance and curiosity.
This step-by-step process is one way to use color and creative self expression to soothe and ground yourself during times of stress.
Gather basic tools:
- Water in a cup
- Sketchbook, mixed media, or watercolor paper
- Watercolor paints
- First, set up a painting station with your paper in the middle
2. Then place your paint, water cup and brush on the right side if you are right handed, left side if you are left handed.
3. Now with your wet brush, add a drop or two of clean water into each color in your paint pallet to activate the pigment.4. It’s now time to paint! So dip a clean brush into your water and paint a small to medium sized shape onto the paper. If you’d like, add more water to keep it wet.5. Dip your wet brush into a color of your choice, then gently touch the tip of your brush onto the wet paper in 2 or 3 spots.6. Now watch what happens as the color spreads, swirls, and moves in random shapes.
7. Clean your brush and repeat the process with another color of your choice. Tip: Add small drops of water to the paper as needed so the colors can flow naturally.8. Give yourself permission to move slowly and observe the pigments interacting.
9. Add a few more colors if you wish.10. Finally, allow it to dry and then marvel at the finished product.11. Great, you’ve done it! Now explore more. Try another shape with new colors.
Now, pause and check in with yourself. How do you feel? How did this help? If this has made a difference for you, please share this with friends and family as a way to stay creatively connected with them.
Take a Creative Break.
Give yourself permission to try other materials and methods.
– Lisa Lounsbury, MA, LMFT, ATR-BC, Executive Director of Art Lab Rx, LLC