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Plants & Art || How To Slow Down With Watercolours

23rd September 2015

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URBAN JUNGLE BLOGGERS

Everyone can paint and while many of us are trying to slow down and live in the moment I can thoroughly recommend it. When I paint I completely lose myself in the process, I love the way the watercolours bleed and I’m never quite sure what I will end up with.

I’ve been fascinated by the recent popularity of adult colouring-in books as a way to relax and be mindful. Like meditation, I can learn a lot about how I’m feeling through the application and expression of paint. And I would wholeheartedly suggest trying watercolour painting to anyone interested in creativity as a form of relaxation.

Urban Jungle Bloggers* this month is celebrating ‘plants and art’ and so I decided to paint some plant portraits. I’m not quite ready for the Tate Modern but I certainly enjoyed whiling away an hour or two. It’s good to view creativity as a fun process rather than an end result, and it takes the pressure off.

Watercolours are inexpensive and simple to use. If you’d like to try painting here are a few basics to help you get you started.

*Urban Jungle Bloggers is a monthly challenge set by the inspirational Igor and Judith. Previous month’s themes have included Plant Colour Pop and My Plant Gang.

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YOU WILL NEED

1. Watercolour paints (I recommend buying a set in tubes).
2. Brushes (I suggest buying a set in varying sizes).
3. Plastic palette to mix your paints on.
4. Jam jar or similar for your water.
5. Watercolour pad (the thicker the paper the less likely it is to curl).
6. Pencil and rubber.
7. Kitchen roll.

I recently bought all of the above for under £25 and my Winsor & Newton paints came with a brush and palette, bonus! Winsor & Newton are one of the best manufacturers of paints and they’re the only ones I used during my Fine Art degree. I absolutely love them.

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PAINTING

If you’re new to painting it’s best to just get going. By experimenting, you’ll gain confidence with using a paint brush and you’ll also see what the paint can do. Try mixing your own colours, my leaf paintings were made from green, yellow and blue. You can also change the paint opacity by adding more water to the brush. Watercolours are versatile and when the colours bleed they create beautiful effects.

Once you’ve gained some confidence – or if you’ve painted before – draw an outline of something to paint. I prefer to draw an object I have in front of me to understand the light and shadows. There are two main techniques with watercolours, you can either paint on dry paper. This is good for detailed work when you require a sharp edge. Or you can wet the paper before applying the paint, a process often used when painting large areas.

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SLOW DOWN

I believe painting should be enjoyed as a process rather than being caught up in creating the next Mona Lisa. It really doesn’t matter what the end result looks like if the practice helped you become more aware of your creative self. By letting go of self-judgment, we can really enjoy and appreciate the moment. Getting lost in a painting is a joy and one which always shows in the end result.

When was the last time you got lost in a painting?

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8 Comments

  • Reply Kate 23rd September 2015 at 8:50 am

    These are really cute. I’ve not painted in years (since I used to go round to my granddad’s to learn about watercolours on Saturday mornings when I was a teenager) so might have to give it a try again.

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 23rd September 2015 at 10:26 am

      Thank you Kate. Watercolours with your Grandad sounds delightful, I made plasticine monsters with mine!

  • Reply Eva 23rd September 2015 at 8:57 am

    I totally agree with you! Anyone can paint, no import the result. I love painting, presqu’e unfortunately it’s been a year that I do not take my brushes. When I painted I really took to the game. Normally I like to put on some music and forget everything! I like your personal jungle, it’s simple and elegant. xo

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 23rd September 2015 at 10:31 am

      Thank you Eva. How lovely, it sounds like I’m preaching to the converted. I’d love to find more time to paint, maybe you should dust off your brushes!

  • Reply Ajewell 23rd September 2015 at 6:52 pm

    I have not painted in years, when I did watercolor was my favorite. I thin I will have to pull out my supplies, I have been wanting some new art work in my room. What plant is on the top shelf? I love the clusters of leaves and the length it is growing to!

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 24th September 2015 at 8:23 pm

      Thank you for your comment. The plant is called string of hearts or rosary vine. It’s so delicate and is soon to reach the floor!

  • Reply Jesse 30th September 2015 at 3:58 pm

    These are so lovely. I have to say I am really fond of illustrations, watercolours and screen-printed works but I’m never daring enough to try my hand at any of it. As a child I loved to doodle though so maybe that’s just the inspiration I needed to push myself a little out of my comfort zone 🙂

    • Candy Pop
      Reply Candy Pop 30th September 2015 at 4:43 pm

      Thank you Jesse for stopping by, it was great to meet you last week! You should try painting with watercolours, it’s really easy. Trust me!

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