Relaxation through art

Art is a fantastic form of relaxation, I use it as my own therapy. Below is a picture I painted this weekend, it’s of my Golden Retriever, Barney.


Recently I have been very stressed and my anxiety and depression have suffered as a result. A few days ago a major stressor came, and passed, in my favour. The change was palpable. Leading up to the event concentration was difficult and too much effort took it’s place.

One thing I have picked up about painting is that effort does not necessarily lead to success. Effort means tense muscles, rigid hands and frustration. This is reflected in the outcome with hard lines lacking in fluid motion. Watercolour has the potential to be soft and translucent, just not when you are slapping thick brush marks down in a determined effort to bring about that final result.

I have been working on a picture given to me by a friend. It shows a horse and jockey at a showjumping event. Unfortunately the determined start produced an image that reminded me of something resembling an illustration from a book such as the Ladybird book of Horses. Not a bad thing, but not what I was aiming for. So I put it to one side unfinished, not liking it at all.

Once the stress started to pass I sat in my studio with my audiobook, and let the paint flow. Slowly, with minimal effort, the picture emerged from the white paper. I don’t know how long I was painting for, I was lost in my book, in the end Im quite happy with my painting.

So now I have returned to the horse picture. I have softened the edges and took some paint off. The pressure to finish is no longer there, in fact Im enjoying the process and am looking forward to adding a little more detail, a big turn around from last week.

It’s not always possible, but try and put the end result to one side and enjoy the journey.


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