A Painting Exercise for a Creative Mindset

The May 1st deadline for the Art For Homeschool Art Show is approaching quickly. Remember there is no theme. I hope that helps some of you out. You are free to be creative with any medium or subject matter you wish to use.

In order to get yourself in a creative mindset you may want to try the following painting exercise. Doing this activity can get you loosened up and also give your imagination a little boost.

Supplies needed are:

  • a watercolor paint set,
  • water,
  • a few large paintbrushes,
  • watercolor paper,
  • and a black marker.

When I paint with watercolors I usually do alot of drawing and planning. This exercise gives me a break from that. This exercise allows you to just paint. Painting without a plan can be rather freeing. This exercise can be done by anyone at any age. Parents will want to monitor and supervise younger children. Parents may also want to do the activity along with their child.

So, what do you do? First off, protect the area you will be painting on with newspaper or plastic. You may get a little wild with the paint as you loosen up. If you like, you may want to play some music while you paint. Your choice. Before you start, decide if you are going to sit or stand while painting. I prefer to stand, but you make that decision.

Place your watercolor paper in front of you, wet your paints and paintbrush. Now you start to paint. You can wet your paper with clear water first in order to get a wet paint on wet paper effect with your watercolors. You can draw with your brush. You can splatter colors in large droplets or a fine mist. (*An old toothbrush is great for doing splatter.) You can pick up the paper and make the paint run from side to side. You can throw salt into the paint. (*If you use salt, you must let the painting dry and brush off the salt before you paint anymore.)

You play. You think of nothing or you think of everything. If you feel playful use light and bright colors. If you are sad, choose dark, gloomy colors. If you are listening to music let the rhythm or beat come into play. You may even want to use all the colors of the rainbow. If you do, be prepared for the paints to combine and change. If you use too many colors you may end up with gray or black. If you see that happening, stop.

When your paper gets too wet you can stop for a while. Light weight watercolor paper can be fragile so don’t scrub on the paper with the brush too much.  Come back later to add more color using a wet brush on the dry paper. You can come back to your painting and layer the paint as many times as you wish.

Once you feel your painting is done then you bring out the marker. Your painting must be completely dry when you do this step. This is one of my favorite parts of the activity because I love to doodle. I find this step to be relaxing. Use your marker to trace around all the interesting shapes, colors, and values you see within the painting. You may even see things like horses running, a flower, a butterfly, or a cloud. If you see it, outline it. This is where your imagination comes in to play.

Continue drawing with the marker until you feel you are done. You can set the painting aside during this process and come back to it anytime you want to. You can even work on several of these paintings at the same time. If you want to change this project up a little, you can use colored markers instead of black.

The results of this exercise can be surprising. The paintings will usually end up very abstract and quite colorful.  If you happen to try this project let me know how it turns out. You might even consider entering the finished painting in the art show. I hope so!

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