Welcome to Better With Art. I’m Melinda and I’m here to encourage you to reclaim your creativity and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care with weekly small art prompts that can be done in an art journal, or on paper if you don’t have one.
Scroll to the bottom for my top recommendation and what I’ll also be trying out in the weeks to come.
Not sure where to start?
Paper may be the most important thing to consider when purchasing an art journal to use as in the 52-Week Art Journal Journey or Better With Art. Look for heavy mixed media or watercolor paper.
The journal I typically use in my videos and for the art journaling group at the library where I work, is 140lb, 300gsm.
The other thing I didn’t have any idea about when I got back into a regular art-making practice was hot press vs cold press. I heard one woman who was using cold press explaining that it was like having goosebumps. Hot press on the other hand, is smooth, like it’s been gone over with a hot iron.
I hope you’ve caught the first two Better With Art videos, that you’ve had a chance to express your chaos with acrylic paint and then bring some order to it. And also let go of perfection and embrace imperfection with blind contour drawings.
If you couldn’t relax in blind contour drawing, I encourage you to try again, but I will also say that this week is about letting go while enjoying every stroke and swirl of watercolor. And adding details as creatively as you’d like.
For those of you who loved them on the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, I am pleased to say we are bringing back watercolor blobs this week.
I love a bargain
If you’ve been around a while, you know I try to use easily accessible and inexpensive materials in my videos because reclaiming your creativity doesn’t have to cost a lot of money.
I did take a bit of a step up on my watercolors . And we’ll see how Master’s Touch bought ON SALE from Hobby Lobby compares to Crayola, which I’ve loved but struggled with at times, and ones from Dollar General.
Both have been unkind to my Micron pens and even my Sharpies at times. If you’re using the cheapest watercolors, which I have been, it may be safest to use a pencil if you notice the surface of your dried paint looks shiny or grainy. Yeah, even if we do our best to find bargains, art supplies still cost and we don’t want to ruin anything if we can avoid it.
And on into the surprisingly gratifying relaxation of watercolor blobs…
Spray bottles are an ideal tool for wetting paint.
My first bunch of blobs was basically just playing with my new colors and seeing what they looked like. I had no plan for what I was going to do with those blobs. Unlike when I made my pumpkins last year for the 52-Week Art Journal Journey.
In one blob I added a second color, wet on wet. You can also experiment with making a blob of clean water and adding the watercolor to it.
And why not drip water, or another watery color on your blobs?
See what happens when your brush is a little dryer. Or how the color changes with more or less water.
On my second two-page spread I decided to do a straight-up watercolor swatch set, working my way through my new paints in order… okay, I take that back. The way it was arranged had the reds throwing off rainbow order. And, yeah, you can probably see where I’m going with this…
Maybe you think simple rows of blobs of roughly the same size isn’t interesting enough, so let yourself go.
Maybe a little more order in approach is what will allow you to relax into it and get yourself into a flow-like state of being fully present in this moment, just making art, not continuing your mental struggle with all the stuff.
Maybe you DON’T want to use ALL the colors. Do you know how much you can do with just ONE with different amounts of water?!?
I ran out of new colors before I ran out of page, so I also enjoyed some color-mixing.
If you were around for autumn color videos, you heard me talk about combining complementary colors to create a muted fall color palette. The complementary colors – red & green, orange & blue, purple & green – tone each other down. Extra fun in the color-mixing experimentation was none of the colors I was working with were primary red orange yellow green blue or purple but had other colors playing in the interaction.
Swatching. Color-mixing. Both good ideas to get you going if you’re not sure where to start.
DO WHAT WORKS FOR YOU.
Take your time.
I never expected watercolor blob painting to be therapeutic. But that was one of the many benefits of the 52-Week Art Journal Journey.
Paint blobs. Don’t worry about anything but painting blobs. Well, don’t worry about that either, just DO.
I’m the problem… No, wait! That’s NOT a PROBLEM!
And if you’re color-mixing, and experimenting with starting making blobs with one color at the center and another outside, so the can get all blendy, and then you just keep going and going with big blobs and are running out of space but want to keep playing in the awesome color so keep layering them on, don’t worry! It happened to me, too.
Have fun making watercolor blobs.
And then have fun making your watercolor blobs into something. Like the pumpkins from last year’s 52-Week Art Journal Journey. Or maybe this year you see fruit. Or you just get creative with lines and shapes and it morphs into faces. There were spiders with faces last year. And mushrooms without faces. Use any type of mark-making you would like.
THERE ARE NO RULES!
There’s no limit on how you can extend your creative self-care art-making time embellishing your watercolor blobs. You can be as creative as you’d like. My color explosion reminded me of geodes and I enjoyed tracing different shapes created by different colors greeting each other.
Your art journal is a safe place to experiment without fear
Your art journal is yours and as private as you want it to be. I share so I can encourage you to practice art-making for creative self-care, not because I think each page is objectively “share-worthy” art. The most important part isn’t how “good” it looks, but how making your own can benefit you.
PROCESS OVER PRODUCT!
I’d love to hear how creative self-care art-making helps you.
I’d also love to see what you come up with! I’m always excited to see the unique creativity of images sent to me and shared in the Facebook group.
If you share with others on Instagram to encourage them to reclaim their creativity and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care, tag me: better. with. art or, to both extend each week’s theme in an email and receive a link to join the very small but slowly growing private and encouraging Facebook group, click here to sign up.
I’ll be back next week with another Better With Art creative self-care small art prompt.
Ordering this one.
At time of writing (Sunday, January 14, 2024) there’s a 5% coupon, and
IF YOU’RE INTERESTED IN TRYING WATERCOLOR PENCILS,
THERE’S A PROMOTION TO SAVE 30% on them with purchase of this this spiral watercolor pad.
It will be interesting to see what it’s like to go back to the texture of cold press for art journaling.