I have never yet heard any artist tell me, “​I get all the time to paint that I need.” 

​Not one of us ever gets enough time to paint! 

We never feel like we’ve put in enough hours of practice and learning.

We feel guilty because we’re not as dedicated as we think we should be. 

And when we do paint, we feel guilty because we make mistakes, waste paper, or fail to be disciplined about our approach to painting.

Sometimes our feelings of guilt become so strong that we avoid painting as a result. 

Please don’t do that! Watercolor should be a no-guilt zone, a place of freedom and release. Here’s why:

  1. Every minute spent painting is a minute you are learning and growing your skills. Mistakes included.
  2. Acts of creativity are soul-feeding. Even when the product of that creativity ends up in the trash.
  3. It’s your art. You can do whatever you want. The reason there are works of art that are solid black canvases, single lines and dots, is to free the rest of us into realizing that there are no rules except those we impose on ourselves.
  4. Truthfully, I think reason #3 is enough of a reason to negate the need for a list. So read it again. Do whatever you want. IT’S YOURS.
  5. Art does not hold grudges. It will not shame you for returning after a time apart, or withhold itself from you. If you’ve been away, now is always the perfect time to come back.
  6. If you haven’t been holding a brush, that doesn’t mean you’re not painting. We need time to observe, evaluate, plan and ponder in between painting sessions. Time away from the studio might be just want you need to affirm your next step.
  7. Art is for you. You do not owe art anything; you get to come to a creative session and give to it whatever you have, whether you have much to offer or little, art will not judge you.
  8. No one is judging you. If only that were true! In art, as in life, there are people who will criticize. But criticism never glued any paintbrushes to the table. I have learned that when I paint to please myself, to create a process that is so satisfying and enriching that the result is secondary, negative opinions don’t matter nearly as much, and the people who understand my creative joy and support it become like family.
  9. Paint for the love of it, and you will get better at painting as a side effect. I usually call this “trust the process,” but whatever you call it, it works.

What are the guilty thoughts that hold you back from creating? Name them and shame in them in the comments below!

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