Let’s talk about taking a break!  Whether you have always worked from home or you have now recently been taking on this new way of life, it’s so easy to feel like you are “on” constantly.  As a parent, it is almost comical for me to balance the constant snacking, playing, sibling rivalry, and running the household while trying to work.  I may not have figured that out yet but I do know that I need a break at least once during the day.  If you are feeling similar, you will feel this creative endeavor may provide some relief.

Think of art as your meditation.  Yes, I know, its not a formal meditation.  However, this intentional focus will definitely help calm your nervous system and kick up some renewed creative energy.

DISCLAIMER:  Don’t feel like you have to complete this project in one sitting.  Instead, let this be your “go-to” over a couple of days.  You may even inspire your family members to join in.

You will want to get out and take a walk.  History’s greatest minds took daily strolls that proved to be effective and productive.  Studies have shown that walks inspire positive emotions.  Brisk walks will release endorphines that will help reduce stress and sleep better. So let’s get out there!

Step 1

While on your walk, grab some leaves from the bushes and trees you pass.  You want to do this with complete awareness. Meaning, you want to pay close attention to your five senses and be present.  Pay attention to how the leaves feel in your hand and the smells around you.  Take the leaves home and choose one that stands out to you.  

Step 2

Take out a paper and a sharpie.  Trace the leaf as many times as you want.  You can fill the page or just do a few.  Of coarse, there is no right or wrong.  If you want to use more than one leaf, go for it!  The most important thing to remember when you are creating is to stay in the present moment.  Taking a mindful deep breath will bring you right into the present.  Works everytime!  Your mind will wander. When this happens, gently bring your attention back to your art work.   Notice how the marker glides across the paper.  Experience the moment.  

Step 3

I added some detail into the leaves.  I kept adding lines.  You can add detail or simply leave them blank.  Using liquid watercolors, I painted the sections.  Adding various amounts water to to the watercolors will give you various tones.  There was no rhyme or reason, just simply painting.  My thoughts are not on the final product but more enjoying the experience and process.  Remember, you can use colored pencils or any kind of materials you have on hand to color in your work.  

Step 4

As your filling in your leaves, continue to stay present.  Pay close attention to your five senses.  Take a break from the project if there are too many distractions or your having a hard time concentrating.  There are no judgements.  

Step 5

Reflect on the process.  Pay attention to your thoughts.  Are you judging yourself?  If so, gently remind yourself that this is about the process not the product. Also remember the purpose of this exercise is to give your mind a break from the constant borage of thoughts that tend to be past and future.  The best part about this approach is you can save the work, throw it away or stow it away. 

Helpful Supply list

For this project I used liquid watercolors.  I like them because they are vibrant and you can dilute them with water.  Its so simple to get various tones of color. I found this brand to be a good starter kit without spending too much money.

I mention above that any paper will do and this is true.  However, If you are looking for your paper not to buckle or you want to really experience watercolor at its best, try a nice watercolor paper.  My go-to for my students is always Canson.  I like the idea of having a wirebound book so I can have all my works of art in one place.  I can also close the book and pick it up at a later time.

A palette for the liquid watercolors was essential for me.  As you can see in the picture, I used all the wells and in each one I added different amounts of water.