July is apparently World Watercolor Month and many people are deeply enjoying themselves with the challenges put forth on Doodlewash. I especially loved artist Angela Fehr’s article on color theory and experimentation – Learn Color Theory Through Playful Painting. Her giant palette that won’t hold all the colors she needs is a source of envy for me.
I’ve put her video on watercolor painting below and it is very instructional.
She shows us how simple strokes of the paintbrush can allow gentle mingling of colors and if you wait patiently enough the colors speak to you and you can see your picture emerge from obscurity. It is mesmerizing to watch and will make you want to pull out your simple art tools and just paint.
There is something meditative about art. You tend to be in ‘the zone’ where time is suspended and you reach into your depths to bring out your essence. It is a wonderful activity for kids and they come up with the most amazing artwork. I’ve noticed that the artwork of kids usually tend towards the things that are important to them at the moment — mainly because kids actually live in the moment. They are highly experimental without worry of perfection. Art is truly a medium of expression for children.
Here are some pieces done by my kids over the months. Their skills often surprise me, their process too. Whenever we decide to travel for a few days, I always make sure to pack some art material for them — small paintboxes, color pencils, color pens and books. Over these past few years, I might have put my foot down on buying toys, but I’m very generous when it comes to art material (my iron fist is mainly for ensuring there’s no wastage of glue and paint — it’s amazing how quickly we run out of these sometimes).
The benefits of painting are many, and are in no way age specific.
- It is calming and meditative. Time slows down and you get to explore your inner world. Very useful in these hectic stressful times.
- It stimulates both the right and left hemispheres of the brain, boosting creativity as well as logic.
- It promotes culture. The huge variety of painting is mindboggling, many of the techniques dating back through the centuries. Having visited the old Ajanta and Ellora caves in Maharashtra, India, some years ago, I am keenly aware of the intricasies involved in ancient Indian paintings, something the modern world has not matched so easily. I’ve found an interesting blog post on old Indian artwork.
- It can be a social activity, where a circle of friends can enjoy time together creating masterpieces.
- It teaches children how to harness their powers of concentration, an important part of their brain development.
- It is good to learn manual skills in a world when everything is swiped or tapped on, using screens. Our fingers should not become outdated tools.
- And of course, it is just fun.
So paint away the month of July and after the month has gone by, keep taking up the brush. There’re no barriers or boundaries to art — it’s the one place we’re truly free to be ourselves.