MINDFUL MOMENT FOR BUSY MOMS AND DADS AND THEIR KIDS
Every day when I sit in front of my computer to write, I am bombarding with ads and distractions. It’s a constant struggle to limit information overload and I’ll talk about that in a separate article. What I’d like to share today is a new creative routine I’ve been trying these days using watercolors and salt.
It started with Adèle asking me to paint with her. And up until now I have often been reluctant because:
A) My work has always been narrative.
B) I would need to do lots of preliminary sketches and studies.
C) I have always found abstract work very difficult and thought my brain was incapable of thinking that way.
D) I never liked watercolors, and neither did Adèle.
I decided to work with watercolors as a challenge – precisely because we didn’t like them. I thought about how we could use them in a mindful, meditative way. I thought about a new way to re-introduce watercolors to Adèle and decided to show her how to make Watercolor Salt Paintings.
HOW WATERCOLOR SALT PAINTING CAN HELP YOUR BRAIN
Any creative activity is going to reshape and rewire your brain, especially if you do it consistently. The nice thing about watercolor paint is that it’s a fluid medium. It requires water, so it automatically gives you a connection to nature. The colors are also subdued when dry, adding to the calming effect.
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I introduced this activity to Adèle as a test, just to see if I could sustain it for a while and so far we both can’t get enough! First of all, watching paint spread over paper is memorizing. And then, seeing how salt changes the painting is surprising. Possibilities are limitless. And aside from Suminagashi (paper marbling), this is the first time I’ve felt that “flow” state while making art. I actually didn’t think about making anything specific, nothing narrative – and when I was done with the first piece, it was abstract. It almost made itself and felt effortless.
WATERCOLOR SALT PAINTING MATERIALS
So, if you’d like to try to get out of your comfort zone and experiment with watercolor salt painting too, here is what’ you’ll need:
Watercolors – The better the quality, the better the result. In the photos you see we actually used Russian watercolors that I’ve had for 20 years. They were brand new and we only opened them now. I had no idea they were this amazing. The colors are very vibrant and spread nicely because there are made with honey. A good, cost effect alternative would be AEM Hi Arts Watercolor Paint Artist Set. The manufacturer claims they are non-toxic and don’t smell, which is definitely a plus when working with paints. The set also comes with a palette, brushes and watercolor paper so this way you get everything you need all at once.
Watercolor Brushes – They hold more water than other brushes which makes the activity easier. But you can try using other brushes to see what happens.
- Ohuhu Water Coloring Brush Pens – These are our absolute favorite brushes to use. We have tried other water fillable brushes, but I like this set the best because it offers 6 different brush types. They are easy to use and the largest one is suitable for smaller children. The best thing about these brushes is that they can be used anywhere without having to use a cup of water. This way you avoid spills and make painting available to your child in almost any situation!
- 10 Pieces Heartbay Nylon Hair Brush Set – Great to have for a variety of uses. Many sizes to choose from and more suitable for older kids or adults, although Adèle has been using them since the age of four.
- 12 Set Professional Paint Brushes – Same as above.
Watercolor Paper – Good quality watercolor paper is essential as it will absorb the colors nicely. You don’t have to get the most expensive paper out there, but for a positive, inspiring experience don’t settle for cheapest one either. We like to use watercolor blocks as they are more economical and have lots of pages. If you get a block where all the pages are attached, use a pallet knife to remove individual pages.While we have tried many watercolor papers, Hahnemuhle Watercolour Blocks are our favorites to use so far. The block you see in the photos was purchased in France and has 100 sheets, but you can find them in smaller quantities as well. The link above is for a pad with 15 sheets for you to try out. Hahnemuhle Watercolour Blocks are my favorites not only because they are well priced, but because they are also of very high quality and can be used by professional artists with great results.
WATERCOLOR SALT PAINTING EFFECT INSTRUCTIONS
- Wet your brush well and wet the paper with it. You can use a roller or a sponge instead if you want.
- Before the water dries, pick up watercolor paint with a very wet brush and touch the wet paper with its tip. You will see the paint starting to spread in a beautiful way.
- Pour thick salt over wet areas and let dry.
- Once the painting is completely dry, brush off the salt into a container. Use your fingers where salt is really stuck.
- Use colorful sand as an activity. For example, you can fill a small transparent container with colorful salt as a transfer activity. Your kid will love it!
WATERCOLOR SALT PAINTING TIPS
- Don’t overthink it. Just pick a color and start painting. Smaller children usually do this instinctively, so just let them do what they want without interfering in any way. An older child might need you to show them that it’s about the process, not the final product. Tell them that they don’t have to make anything representational and just to look and see what happens when colors, water and salt come together.
- To get a clean border, use 1 Inch White Artists Tape around the edges. Don’t press to much on the tape as it will rip your paper. When pealing, do it gently in the same direction from which you taped. So, for example, if you taped from right to left, then untape from right to left.
- Experiment, have fun and remember to tag me on Instagram as @Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play or use the #Rainy.Day.Sunny.Play hashtag. We love seeing your creations!