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Making Art

Watercolors Are a Gateway: Part I

On learning to enjoy making art

I just love art.

I love art museums and galleries; I love watching performers and discussing theories. I can appreciate art in just about any form or expression.

The thing is, I've never been any good at making art.

watercolor paint tubes

The concept of creating anything visual – painting, drawing, sculpting – has been so intimidating to me, in fact, that I spent eight years of high school and college avoiding taking a single art class. I even signed up for my high school's dreadful choir to earn a course credit only otherwise fulfilled by art.

But I'm a writer, so crafting words shouldn't really be that much different than other forms of artistic expression.

Except that it is. Everyone tells me painting and drawing take an entirely different part of my brain, and one I probably don't access very often. However, art and I have been frienemies for too long now, so it's high time I overcome my fears and give it a go.

Since I already have little faith in my artistic abilities, there really is no worst-case scenario here. And best case, maybe it's fun or challenging or maybe it will stretch me in ways the rest of my existence does not. All of these are good things when it's so easy to go through our daily routines without ever becoming a better version of ourselves.

So to take back a little bit of art's power over me, I decided to start with something even I have done before – watercolors. Except the adult version of watercoloring, where the paint is in tubes instead of those junky plastic trays, is WAY more fun. And liberating! No rules; do whatever you're feeling; add water before, after or even on top of. Did you know you don't even have to make anything? You can just mix colors?? Oh man, is watercolor the free-loving, hippie of the paint scene.

But most importantly, watercolors basically screamed at me to chill out. Art doesn't have to be intimidating or professional, especially not at first. Sometimes making art can just be fun and relaxing.

Sign me up.

pink watercolor painting

Have you ever thought about learning to paint in watercolor?

 Mixing Watercolor Paint

Lesson on basic watercolor painting techniques excerpted from the Walter Foster Watercolor Painting Kit.

Heather Linder

Heather is a journalist and writer living in Chicago with her composer husband and art-loving puppy, Lancelot. She's on an endless quest for the city's best coffee and is endlessly inspired by Chicago's magnificent skyline. Heather is a bookworm, aspiring chef, and NPR fanatic. She's in the process of teaching her beagle to use a French press and overcoming her fear of DIY.

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