Make It Easy

A popular “break-up” song from the 1960’s said to “Make It Easy on Yourself“. I don’t how helpful that advice is when you’re dealing with a broken heart, and fortunately that’s not what’s been happening here. The only “break-up” I’ve done has been in my relationship to art, and it’s not really a “break-up” — not completely, at any rate. It’s more of a change in the relationship status. 

Earlier this morning I was looking through posts and remembering what it was like to start this blog. I was so excited about art! I was learning to draw, something I’d never thought possible. I was actually making progress. This blog, I said, was all about “discovering the joy” of art. 

Lately, as you’ve seen, the joy has gone. It’s been replaced by frustrations and anger. Art stopped being “fun”. It surprised me a bit to see how far my feelings had gone in that very negative direction. What’s been even more puzzling is that despite all the bad feelings, I still have a desire to create art in some form. I still look at beautiful scenes and imagine painting them in oils. I still gush over lovely colors. I still want to be involved with art, even though it’s difficult right now. 

So, I’m doing what I can, and I’m making it as easy on myself as possible. 

Another surprise — to me — is that the best way for me to get back into art is with watercolor. That’s surprising because I am not a watercolor artist. But for me, watercolor is the simplest way of having fun with art. When we first moved into our new home here and I had a “real art studio”, I was hesitant to use it. I had no idea how I was supposed to “be an artist” and “create art” in a real studio. So, I eased my way into it with watercolor, making lovely sets of bookmarks. I made – and gave away – lots of bookmarks. I loved them then, and I love them now. 

Then, watercolor playtime became a fun way for me to start each day in the studio. I dabbled with colors, splashed lots of water and paint around. I had fun. 

Throughout one summer, I kept a small set of gansai close at hand, along with a little sketchbook I’d made. I had fun doing a bit of drawing and then adding color with my paints. Simple. Easy.

And that’s the approach I’ve been taking now to ease myself back into art. And maybe it’s not really so surprising, after all, that watercolor is my chosen medium. I’m not good at it, so I have no expectations other than playing around, having fun, and just seeing what I can do. 

Watercolor is also easy for me in the sense that it requires very little “prep-work”. I have a set of 24 watercolor pans sitting here in front of me. A nice watercolor sketchbook is within reach. I have a big jar filled with brushes, and two other jars filled with water — all close at hand. I also have a few waterbrushes, too. So, if and when I feel that urge to “do something artsy”, I have only to grab my sketchbook, dip a brush in water, and open my paints. 

That’s been my approach with a couple of Sketchbook Revival workshop programs. No great works of art on my part, but, as I pointed out to my husband, “Look, I’m painting!”

Here’s one:

A bit lop-sided, but… oh, well! Look, I actually painted something! 

Inspired by the first, I decided to do another:

And then,  I went on to bigger things and created this watercolor and ink floral piece:


For now, I think playing a bit with watercolor will be all I do. And I share this with anyone who finds themselves in a “time crunch” or who — like me — has ambivalent feelings about doing art. One of the biggest blocks we encounter, I think, is the necessary preparation. If I have to spend a lot of time getting out supplies and setting up a workspace before I can even begin, chances are good that I won’t begin.

But if I just take it easy and make it easy on myself… then picking up that watercolor brush is a bit more tempting. If all I have to do is open my paints and have fun… well, why not?

So, yes, look! I’ve been painting. Not that I have much to show for it so far, but it’s a step in the right direction, a step back toward making — and loving — art.



  1. The next time you are tempted to say you can’t draw, look at that watercolor of the yellow flowers. It’s a good drawing, just not a pencil drawing. Relax into watercolor. And you have shared some very good landscapes with us. They were convincing, too. Maybe you have found your most enjoyable medium?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Watercolor is definitely my media for playing. I don’t have any big expectations for what I do. I’m content to just have fun and let it be whatever it is. That’s the approach I need in art right now.

      Liked by 1 person

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