Watercolor Lessons And Self-Care https://reclaiminghope.blog

Watercolor Lessons And Self-Care

Watercolor Lessons and Self-Care https://reclaiminghope.blog

“My painting lesson didn’t go very well” I said to my husband. Not too long ago, while browsing in our local bookstore, I came upon a book called Everyday Watercolor. As I thumbed through it, I felt a surge of hope and excitement. It builds lesson by lesson, starting with the basics, for 30 days, and at the end, you should have a couple of completed pieces.

You see, I want to be artistic so badly I can hardly stand it. The trouble is that I have absolutely zero artistic talent. The thing that stirred my excitement was this statement by the author, Jenna Rainey:

“If you think you’re not creative or a painter, crumple up that lie and throw it in the trash, because we are all made to be creators.”

Maybe, just maybe, I could do this! I purchased the book and ordered a basic set of watercolors from Amazon, and I’ve been going through my lessons. On this particular day, my lesson was learning to paint leaves.

Jenna Rainey Quote https://reclaiminghope.blog

My husband took a look at my little page of leaves and said, “What’s wrong with them? They look okay to me.” “They don’t look like hers. Take a look in the book and see what they’re supposed to look like” was my reply.

Now, they definitely were not great leaves – after all, this was only lesson number six, but if you didn’t look at hers first, they could at least pass for what they were supposed to be….maybe.

As I was thinking about the problems I was having later, I realized that sometimes our self-care plans can be the same way those leaves were. They might not look exactly like someone else’s (and in fact, they shouldn’t), but they work for us.

As I talked about in Self-Care Plans, Our Roadmap, having an overarching self-care plan in place can help us be aware of what we need to do to feel the best we can, and although we may not always be able to stick to our plan, it will help give us direction and serve as motivation to keep moving forward when we just don’t feel like it.

Our plans don’t have to be elaborate or follow some template; they just need to include those things that we know will help us move toward feeling better.

The most important thing is just that they include what works for us. Each person is unique, with individual preferences, needs, and abilities. What works for one person might not work for another.

For instance, in one of the groups I belong to, someone asked if we still believe in schedules since we became ill. Of course, the answers were varied – some of us (like yours truly here) feel we absolutely need a schedule, even if we can’t always follow it, and others don’t want to put that kind of pressure on themselves. Each answer was the correct answer; it was what worked best for each person.

When we’re first faced with a diagnosis of fibromyalgia and we start looking for answers, we’re often bombarded with all kinds of advice: avoid this food, eat this particular diet, do this type of exercise, etc. It can get confusing, and when we try some of these things and they don’t work for us, we become discouraged. We may even start to feel hopeless if we’re not starting to feel any better.

If that’s where you are, I’d like to encourage you to keep going; keep trying new things. Find those things that work for you. Make a plan that fits your personality and style. It doesn’t need to look exactly like someone else’s to be effective; it just needs to fit your needs.

You know your body better than anyone else, and you are the one who knows what works for you and what doesn’t. 

Learning to thrive in spite of your illness really does take a lot of trial and error, but it is so worth the work you put in. We may never be healed, but we can still have a full, enjoyable life filled with purpose.

Do you have a self-care plan? Have you ever fallen into the “comparison trap” with your plan? Please share!







  1. I’m so excited that you are painting, Terri! You are not meant to replicate another but to find your vision! I like how you apply this lesson to living with illness. I feel apologetic when I’m not up and about early, or can’t stay up and visit at night. The quotation says it all – crumple up those ideas and toss ’em away. Keep going.

    1. Thanks so much for your encouragement V.J.! It’s funny you said that about that quote…. As I was typing it, I had the same thought about other things I needed to crumple up and throw away…. I’m afraid finding my vision with the painting is going to be difficult; I’m absolutely serious when I say I don’t have the ability to visualize anything. It’s rather frustrating – I see beauty in everything but can’t seem to translate that into artwork. Right now, I’m trying to just focus on learning technique and adding to it each lesson. I’m still figuring out how much water to use, how the paints work (I’m using the tubes), etc.

      1. I’m going to take your advice and jump in with both feet soon! If it doesn’t turn out well, I’ll just throw it away, and no-one will be the wiser.😂

    1. Hey, maybe I need to do some of that too – it might help me get over feeling my lessons have to be perfect. 😊 Thanks so much for the encouragement and advice. Hope you have a fabulous weekend! Hugs!

  2. I often won’t try something because I’ll never be as good as the person “in the book” “on Pinterest” “down the street” but when I do try I feel better and I realize the practice that goes into it. We can learn anything! And as for creating something, I want to be able to look at it and see a little bit of Terri in it! Keep painting! xo~k.

    1. Thanks so much for the encouragement Kim! That whole “comparison trap” really stinks, doesn’t it? I know if I keep at it, I’ll get better. My problem, as I told my husband the other day, is that I don’t really like doing things I’m not good at. Of course, you can’t get good at something if you don’t practice, so there’s my dilemma….😊 I hope you have a wonderful weekend! Hugs!

  3. That is so exciting that you are painting! I think it would be extremely difficult, but I also believe in you! Just because you can’t duplicate another person visions of a painting doesn’t mean you not artistic, because you ARE! Look at what you write, it is artistic in it’s own way. The painting you did with the leaves was done with your artistic vision and therefore it is an one of a kind work of amazing art! Keep up the great work and you will see what I am telling you is true!

    1. Thank you so much for your encouragement Alyssa! I really appreciate your kind words. Hope you have a wonderful weekend!

  4. You’ve written just what I feel – that burning desire to be creative, yet feeling like I have zero talent. Although at the moment I’m at a total standstill, not helped with the current flare, if that’s what it is, of pain and bone aching exhaustion, which is not conducive to being arty or even contemplating picking up a paintbrush or crayon. Anyway, off point with that.

    The author’s quote is excellent and I think very true; we just need to open the view of what creativeness is and how it looks. You have segued incredibly smoothly as you do with posts like this, moving from art to self-care. I love it!  ♥ It can be easy to fall into the comparison trap, but it’s so important that we pave our own way and try other avenues if what we’re doing isn’t working for us. And you’ve made an excellent point – they don’t need to follow a template, they don’t have to look like everyone else’s, they don’t have to fit a preconceived idea of what self-care is or involves, they just need to work for us as an individual.
    Caz xx

    1. Thank you so much Caz! I’m really sorry to hear you have the same issue with creativity that I do. I really do think there’s creative talent within all of us; we just have to find our “thing.” You know what I mean? I’m still working on mine…😊
      I agree with you, that we need to “pave our own way.” I think it’s easy sometimes to think that we need to do what someone else is doing in order to feel better, but as you know from experience, what works for one person might not work for another. There are so many voices saying, “do it my way and you’ll be cured” and I worry that people can become discouraged when that way doesn’t work and just give up on even trying to do anything to make them feel better….
      I really hope this flare lifts for you soon, sweet friend. I hate to see you suffering so much. Sending love and gentle hugs your way.

    1. Thank you so much Beverley! I love that you brought up that we need to be patient — that’s so critical when we’re dealing with fibromyalgia, isn’t it? Really any chronic illness…. We don’t have any control over our illness or what it’s going to do, so we have to be patient with ourselves as we learn to do what we can to help ourselves feel better and work around our illness. Blessings to you sweet friend!

  5. Great post and I like your leaves and desire to try the watercolor book. Your post was a wonderful reminder to me about listening to my body and knowing what works for me and my family- instead of comparing to what others do.

    1. Thank you so much Sarah! I really appreciate your kind words. It’s so easy to fall into that comparison trap, as we’ve talked about before, but finding what works for us is the important thing. Sending love and hugs your way!

  6. I was just discussing this same thing! We are in the middle of moving to a different state (my husband and I with our 4 kids and a dog) 😳 we were in the military previously so we are very accustomed to relocating… the big difference this time is that I have fibromyalgia now and I didn’t then. Major Difference. It’s so hard not to compare to “before”, but everyday is new so I just try to take it day by day. Today I’m resting, reading in bed, working on my blog and listening to the rain. Self-care is a huge, but necessary, block in the road for us Fibro-Warriors! Since we seem to be mostly type A kind of folks, the lack of stopping for that block is probably a contributing factor to how we got here in the first place (me 🙋‍♀️) Also keep up the painting! Every piece gets to a place that you think you ruined it… push just past there and that’s the sweet spot 😉

    1. Thank you so much for stopping by, and for your comment! I just tried to pop by your blog, but WP said you had deleted it…. That happens sometimes – I’ll try again tomorrow. Wishing you all the best as you move. My hubby and I are both retired military, and it was actually after our retirement move that I was diagnosed with Fibro. I know what you mean about the tendency to compare to “before” but I’d encourage you, if you can, to just do what you feel like doing when you feel up to doing it. I just tried to keep the attitude that “if I don’t get it done today, the boxes will still be there tomorrow – they’re not going anywhere.” I’m glad to know you’re taking the time to rest for now. Slowing down, taking time to rest, and pacing ourselves is a hard, but necessary lesson to learn. Thanks for the encouragement with the painting too. I had a little better lesson today.😊 I’ll try visiting your blog again tomorrow. I look forward to getting to know you!

      1. Here’s the link. I’m not sure what that was about 🤔 good ole technology, I guess. Thank you for your quick reply. I’m taking some time to look through yours as well. I’m very pleased to meet a fellow fighter!

  7. No schedule here. If I put things into a schedule, then couldn’t manage because of pain, I might feel worse about myself. You know, the “I’m a failure” type thing. So I do what I can, when I can. It works for me. But we are all different.

    Your leaves are gorgeous. Art isn’t meant to be compared other people’s. This is yours, and it’s gorgeous.

    I paint (hmmm..been so long that I might have forgotten how). Years ago, I went to a art exhibition by a local cart group. I kept saying, “I wish I could paint.” The art teacher heard me and told me everyone can. I said I couldn’t. He said I could. Anyway, he wanted to prove me wrong and enrolled me in his class. And yes I could. I’m not a natural artist, but yes, we can learn.

    Don’t give up and don’t put the paint brushes down. (Advice from someone who hasn’t lifted a paintbrush for a year probably!)

    1. Thanks so much for your comment Elizabeth! I completely get the “no schedule” thing. I think lots of people feel that way, because with chronic illness, it’s almost guaranteed that there are days we won’t be able to keep it.

      Thank you for your kind words about my leaves. I’m hoping the more I practice the more comfortable I’ll feel. I think I’m finally starting to get the hang of how to use my paints at least.😊 I’ve worked with acrylic paint with painting ceramics and bird houses, but watercolor is a completely different experience.

      I think you’re right, that we can all learn, whether we’re a natural or not. Thanks for the advice – I hope you’ll pick your paintbrush back up one day too.

      Blessings to you!

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