Better With Art

Reclaim your creativity with watercolor play

Welcome to Better With Art! I’m Melinda, here to encourage you to reclaim your creativity and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care through weekly small-art prompts. These can be done in an art journal or on paper, and if you’re ready to invest in a journal, click here for my top recommendation that’s ideal for my simple form of art journaling. I use it in my prompt videos, and for the art-journaling groups at the library where I work. I LOVE the paper. If searching for something different remember the paper needs to be heavyweight and preferably hot-press because although I love the texture of cold-press it’s really hard on markers and pens. This one is 140lb/300gsm.

This Week’s Prompt: Playing with Watercolors

This week, we’re bringing out the watercolors for some play, and we’ll be using the results of our watercolor play in next week’s small art.

My favorite inexpensive watercolor set continues to be Crayola’s basic eight. Partly because I can find them at one of the dollar-ish stores not far from where I live. And there the most vividly colored of those available near me, and they’re not grainy. Something you should remember to keep your watercolors in good shape longer is to make sure you let them dry thoroughly before closing the case. Crayola watercolors will get gummy if you don’t let them dry. You can also click here to have Crayola watercolors delivered to you from Amazon.

You’ll also need masking tape, a cup of clean water, and a relatively small paintbrush you’re comfortable using with watercolor. A spray bottle of water is optional but helpful to wet your paint.

Last year, during the 52-Week Art Journal Journey, I did not tape down my page for a similar project. Taping down the page not only gives us clean edges but also prevents the page from buckling when it gets really wet, reducing puddling. I folded the rest of my journal back from the page I was painting, and taped it directly to my desk.

As well as for a border, we’re sticking three shorter pieces of tape to our page. They don’t need to have perfect edges, and we need to ignore them while we paint this week but they’re an important part of next week’s small art.

Getting Started

After adhering all my tape and wetting my paint with my spray bottle, I used my paintbrush to wet three blobby areas on my page. The dropped a bit of my lightest color in each. I worked with just the three primary colors—red, yellow, and blue—which created secondary colors, as well as tertiary colors and colors without and even a little mud. And that’s okay.

I love watching the color move through the water. If you find you don’t have quite enough to encourage your colors to flow and slow together, you can add more. With my first round, I added red and blue to my yellow in each puddle and made sure each were touching at least a little.

The Relaxing Process

Keep adding color to your paper in whatever ways you feel. Connect your water blobs within thin wobbly lines of clean or pigmented water, and enjoy mesmerizing color interactions as you experiment with pushing and pulling them with your brush.

There are no rules—just get some paint on your paper in a way that pleases you. R E L A X into and throughout the process. Enjoy playing.

If an area is getting too muddy for your taste you can avoid adding more pigment there, and avoid further mixing it. You can also use the corner or folded edge of a paper towel to lift some water as needed. Leave some white areas if you’d like. Some small ones can add interest.

A bit of buckling with heavy applications of water is natural, but the paper in the journal I use will flatten beautifully.

Join the BETTER WITH ART Community

Would you like to share your work (better called play) with a small group that exists for mutual encouragement in art-making? Click here to sign up for what are supposed to be weekly emails from me but currently are fewer, and receive a link to join the private BETTER WITH ART Facebook group.

Thank you for the opportunity to encourage you to reclaim your creativity and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care. I’m glad you found your way here today.


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