Painting : The 20 best reasons to fall in love with it.
"Every painting is a voyage into a sacred harbour."Giotto di Bondone
1. First and foremost, painting is so much fun and brings a great deal of pleasure!
2. You can paint on a small budget. Cheaper art supplies can be fine for beginners. Even artist quality watercolour sets are often reasonably priced. Craft acrylics are also a great option to consider in order to own a good range of colours at a low price.
3. Using colour is therapeutic. When I was studying art therapy we often carried out exercises where we would just paint with one colour for a whole session of wet-in-wet watercolour painting. I was amazed at the strength of the different emotional, mental and even physical responses I had to the colours. Different colours are said to have different emotional qualities but we also each have a unique personal response to each colour. Sometimes the colours that we like the least are the ones that are beneficial to work with to bring our energy fields into balance.
4. You can use painting therapeutically to process emotions. I often start an art journal page by just writing my current feelings on the page before I paint over it. Many people weren’t taught as children how to identify and express emotions. Painting can bring these feelings out so that they can be recognised and integrated. Also by using certain colours, collage, styles of painting and process, you can powerfully work through emotions and blockages on the page or canvas. You may even find that you can express feelings and emotions that you weren’t previously able to find words for. If you are processing very difficult emotions or experiences it may be advisable to work with an art therapist. If you are a beginner and would like to learn more about art journaling, Effy Wild’s site would be a good place to learn more.
“Painting is the passage from the chaos of the emotions to the order of the possible.” Balthus
5. When you get immersed in painting and are in the flow, it is incredibly meditative. The increased attention to detail increases mindfulness. Time takes on a different quality and aches and pains fall away. There is only you and the page/canvas and blissful feelings may arise!
6. Painting reduces and releases stress. A study carried out at Drexel University by the assistant Creative Arts Therapy professor investigated the effect of making art on stress levels. The results, (published in Art Therapy: Journal of the American Art Therapy Association) showed that art making resulted in statistically significant lowering of cortisol levels.
7. You can paint portraits or self-portraits as gifts for friends and family. It is fun to paint your pets too!
8. You can paint when you are travelling, even on a train or plane with the right travel kit. Water brushes (a brush with a reservoir for water in the handle) are so handy for smaller work and mean that you always have water available. Pentel make a good range and there are many travel sized watercolour tins (like this one) that are compact and great for beginners.
9. You can join local classes and make new painting friends. You can access the plethora of painting classes online and join forums and groups where you can share your art and see other people’s creations which are very inspiring. They are generally very friendly and supportive.
10. You can use it as a spiritual practice, a meditation. I often meditate before I start creating so that I am in the right space to begin. I make a sacred space with candles and burn sage first. I have found that the painting generally goes better when I am coming from this mindful beginning. My ego and critical voice are softened which allows the images to form almost of their own accord.
11. There are many different mediums to use and experiment with, for example, watercolour, oil, acrylic, liquid inks, paint pens and tempera. They all have their advantages and disadvantages but if you are a beginner I advise starting with watercolour (as it is portable and playful) and acrylics (as they dry quickly and it is easy to layer or mix colours).
12. You can do it as a parent and get your kids to join in, resulting in a shared family experience. Though beware, they may want to paint on your piece, but hey that could be a nice addition? I have collaged some of my children’s drawings into my mixed media pieces at times and it gives it a special meaning and energy. The artist Ruth Oosterman works on top of her child’s drawings to make beautiful collaboration pieces. Here you can watch one of their paintings being created.
16. You can make greetings cards that are a pleasure for friends and family to receive.
17. You can schedule regular outings to art galleries to gain inspiration from painters through the ages. This is a great way to gain knowledge of history, culture and art techniques.
18. Painting can improve your perseverance and resilience. Sometimes the painting does not go as planned or you struggle to render something as you imagined it. By not giving up, you can often push through to a new breakthrough or completely new element or approach that is a complete surprise. Mistakes can become something new and beautiful. The great thing is you can always add more layers.
19. Your more finely attuned skills of observation give you a new and positive perspective on nature and the world around you.
20. You can go on a painting holiday for a relaxing trip away as painting is now your passion!
Here is a challenge:
Find a simple you tube painting video that you like and follow along.
Post about how the experience was for you below in the comments section. How did you feel before and afterwards? Did you have any strong emotional responses to the colours used? Post your images too if you are comfortable to share.