52-Week Art Journal

Week 9: B R E A T H E

Last week we ended with

Protect the margins.
Leave time for creative self-care.
For things that make you feel alive.
For growth.

This week we’re taking the time to b r e a t h e.

If you’re new, start here, or learn more here.

Just here for the video… just scroll on down…

What you’ll need for today’s small art

This week we’re using watercolor paint. A cheap kids’ set is ideal, and if you watch the video you’ll see that’s what I’m using. You’ll need a paintbrush or brushes. A one-inch wide one to start is great but not necessary. Use whatever you have, and feels comfortable. You’ll also need water in a container in which you can also rinse your brushes.

If you have all of your supplies together, let’s… b r e a t h e… a painting.

There’s only one rule, if you want to call it a rule

The only rule is to paint a stroke on the exhale.

The first step is putting down a layer of water.

As you inhale, fill your brush with water.

As you exhale, spread a line of water across your page.

Keep going until you have covered your page with a thin layer of water.

If all you have is a narrow brush that makes this step frustrating, skip it. You can just paint. The colors won’t go on your paper, or blend, as smoothly, especially with a rigid brush like those that come in a dry watercolor paint tray, but you can just use plenty of water with each brush stroke.

With or without a layer of water on your paper, choose your first color.

What color you use, or how often you change it is up to you. But you won’t want to use too many different colors, as they will blend.

Get color on your brush as you inhale. Paint a line as you exhale. It doesn’t have to be a straight line.

If you get out of sync with your breathing, it’s okay. Just start over putting your paint on your paper as you exhale.

Don’t rush rinsing your brush or picking up color to beat your next exhalation. Just do what you need to do and catch the next one.

This small art is about taking our time.

And as we breathe, and paint, in tandem, we (gently) force ourselves to relax.

No pressure

As well as relaxing with our painting, let’s relax with our journaling.

You may have found the last couple of week’s journaling a little rough. But worthwhile.

Click here for Week 7: Mending Hearts and it’s follow-up Week 8: Boundaries if you missed them.

This week you’re free to write about whatever you would like.

Whatever will help you breathe easier.

Maybe you do need to take on a tough topic to get some tightness out of your chest.

Maybe it’s a week to just write on the page adjacent to your breathed painting, a reminder to JUST BREATHE.

If you’d like you can write about how it felt to do this breathing a painting.

How did focusing on your breathing, and matching your paint strokes to your breath affect your stress level? your mood?

Did you find it relaxing?

If you haven’t yet found it relaxing, keep going a little longer. Give your body and your mind a chance to relax. To slow down. To release any tension.

And use your journaling time the same way. Don’t force it.

Just sit still and quiet for a moment, and then write as much or as little as you feel like.

Sometimes we just need a break. Time to breathe.

And that’s part of the importance of boundaries. To as much as possible protect time for rest.

Take time for creative self-care

I’m so glad that you’ve chosen to take some time for creative self-care and are allowing me to encourage you to do so, and keep doing so.

I have learned how important it is to my mental and my emotional and my spiritual health.

We’re NOT meant to be constantly busy. Constantly striving.

We ARE meant to be creative. We can’t be our healthiest if we don’t give ourselves opportunities to be creative in ways that are meaningful to us.

I, for years, refused to make regular time to make art. It didn’t matter how helpful it was to my mental health. It felt like a waste of time with everything else that needed to be done. With everything else that seemed so much more important.

But feeling mentally and emotionally healthy, doing things that help us feel healthier, help us be healthier, is important. Our mental and emotional health affect every area of our lives. We can’t be as effective elsewhere if we’re not filling this need in us.

Just relax…

I hope you find this small art as relaxing as I did. And that you find the video relaxing if you watch it. I hope the writing you choose to do loosens up something tight in your chest if there’s something in you that needs to be unknotted. And I hope that if this week your writing is as simple as “Just breathe,” it’s a reminder as you turn back through your pages in the future to take the time to make the time for creative self-care, and to breathe, deeply and fully.

Thank you for joining me on the 52-Week Art Journal Journey.

If you know someone who needs encouragement to reclaim their creativity and establish a healthy habit of creative self-care, share and invite them along.

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