Painting the world’s problems away

BY JULIE WELLERT

As the end of the second month of the coronavirus shutdown approaches, it is difficult to not feel restless, horribly bored or anxious. No one can really go anywhere or do much of anything except stay inside and twiddle their thumbs. Unless you decide to be creative.

If you’re looking for a way to show your creative side, or at least keep your mind entertained so it doesn’t go spiraling down a rabbit hole, I have you covered.

During my time at home, I have been working on various projects. Most of these projects have been painting objects that I find around my house, like journals or old boxes. In reality, you can paint anything; shoes, discs, old vinyls, sketchbooks, random fruit; it is up to you.

To begin, I found my random object, which is a plain journal. If it isn’t plain, you can just paint over it with any color to make it a solid color base. This isn’t required, but more of a personal preference.

Next is the more challenging part–brainstorming. If you’re anything like me, sometimes you don’t have an idea in mind and just know that you want to paint. Grab a piece of paper and a pencil and make a random list of things you like or something a friend likes if you’re creating this for someone else. Jot down all of the ideas you can think of. It doesn’t matter how ridiculous. This is a good way to think of a theme for your painting. 

I painted the journal with my mother in mind. After making the list of various things she likes, an idea sparked in my mind. I decided to do a plant theme. This not only gave me a theme, but also ideas of more specific things to paint. After this step, I started to sketch.

Sketching is a bit of an easier part. Make a super simple sketch of the object you’re using, and start putting down ideas. I did multiple ones, sketching out my ideas. It’s okay for sketches to be messy or imperfect because it’s just a basic sketch. No need to stress or overthink, just let your creativity flow.

Photo by Julie Wellert

Once you have decided on a final sketch, you can start painting. You can do one of two things: just go for it, or start with an outline. If you are going for it, feel free to skip this and have fun. Go for it with no doubts or worries. If you want your project to be more precise, outlining is for you.

Photo by Julie Wellert

Because my paint was not showing up very well on the material of my journal, as well as being terrified of messing it up, I decided to start with a white outline. With this, you have to look past the basic lines and think of the shapes as a whole. The rose started as a weird blob (in the pic shown, it’s red because I got too excited and painted over it before I remembered to take a picture). But over time, I add more detail. This basic white outline helps me to get everything on the journal. It makes it easier to see as well. Just a basic, simple outline. Once it dries, it’s perfectly ready to start adding color and detail.

Photo by Julie Wellert

As one final tip I can give is to think of the painting in sections. I always do this to not stress myself out so much. Like for example, the rose on my journal was one part. The lavender was another. Last focus was the ferns. Thinking of each part individually made the process much more calming. Finish one thing, then move onto the next.  Pretty soon, it’ll be finished.

At the end, looking over it one more time and adding any more details is a good way to finish up. Once I had finished all of the plants, I went back and added gold accents to what I had done. Remember to always be careful and not overthink. Some tiny mistakes aren’t always worth the risk of messing up an entire part. Trust me, I’ve been there. Just look past it, or if you can’t, add glitter. It’s a good distraction.

Photo by Julie Wellert

All in all, painting is quite an adventure. Personally, I am very, very new to this and have so much to learn. Painting, once you get the hang of it, can be a good relaxer and an excellent way to take your mind off of the world. Even if the world seems to be going crazy right now, there is always art.

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