Painting Myself Calm

Painting for the Fun of It

I recently read the book, “Paint Yourself Calm” by Jean Haines. She states, “The goal of this book is to learn to paint in a way that helps you feel calm…A myth exists that when we paint, we have to produce something worth seeing. Not everything we paint needs to be framed. It is the process that is wonderful. Just playing with color alone can be really satisfying.”

So I decided today that I would just play with colors and “try” not to worry about the outcome.

Since my main goal was to play with colors, I thought about what colors make me happy. I decided to use an analogous complementary color scheme. My analogous colors were orange (New Gamboge), red orange (New Gamboge + Scarlet Lake), and red (Scarlet Lake). My complementary color was Phthalo Turquoise.

I lightly sketched some carnations and stems.  (Please click on all thumbnails to see larger images.)

Next, I mixed individual puddles of these colors on my palette so that I would have them ready.

I began by painting the turquoise around the flower heads and fading them outward with water. I wanted to try to have a vignette style so I wanted to keep the corners of the painting white.

After the background wash was dry, I began dropping in color on the flowers. I wanted to leave some white and not get too dark.

For the leaves and stems I added some of the New Gamboge to my puddle of Phthalo Turquoise. I added just a hint of the Scarlet Red to tone down or neutralize the green to a more natural looking green.

To finish the painting, I built up the value of my colors in some parts of the flowers.

Overall, I am pretty happy with my colors. However, the next time I think I need a few more “lost” edges.  Oh wait–I am not supposed to worry about the finished project just the process!  Yes, I did enjoy playing with these colors.

By the way, if you would like to learn more about mixing color, please check out my “Color Mixing for Vibrant Watercolor” class by clicking the workshop tab above.

As always, the compositions in these exercises are copyrighted. Thanks!


6 Replies to “Painting Myself Calm”

  1. It’s so hard to set aside our hopes or expectations for a finished product and just focus on the process! I understand completely! I’m glad you enjoyed playing with these colors; I enjoy looking at them–especially the turquoise; it’s one of my happy colors. I enjoy your finished product too. 😉

    • Yes, Susan, I agree. It is very difficult for me to stay in the moment and enjoy the process and not think about the outcome. I did enjoy painting with these colors. To be completely honest though, I almost didn’t post because I didn’t feel like it was as “polished” as I would have liked. But then I remembered not to defeat the point of the post which is don’t worry about the final product–just have fun pushing color around–so I posted to let others know we don’t always have a great outcome but that is okay! Thanks for the comment!

    • Thank you Betty! You are always so encouraging! By the way I loved the portrait sketches you finished recently. They were great!

    • Thank you Connie. I do hope this blog encourages others to try new things. I started this painting by thinking of what color I was in the mood to paint with which was turquoise and then thought of a subject to go with this color. I do hope you try it!