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The Zen of Tranquil Painting

Updated on April 12, 2014

These days, even in the world of art, the desire to knock off a canvas quickly or pour out a painting can be irresistible. However, ideally, painting should be a peaceful, rested process, a time to relax and enjoy yourself. If you are looking to spend your time in perfect harmony with your brushes and palette then there are a number of actions you can take to “Keep Calm! and Paint”.

Subject matter

Choosing peaceful subjects is a good starting point, languid rivers, rolling hills or balanced still life compositions. Something less frenetic, a scene that gently unfolds before your eyes. A great exercise is simply sketching clouds as they drift past your window or capturing the ripples in a bubbling stream.

Tranquility can also come from the medium you choose. Watching watercolour washes bleed together or oil paint fresh off the palette knife as it is blended together. The actual act of painting itself should be a relaxing, cathartic experience. This is particularly true of abstract painting, where being in touch with the paint is often more important than the subject matter.

Tranquil palette

Colours are a great catalyst for the Zen painter. Utilising calming, pastel shades, tubes of white paint and lots of water to mute your palette. Working with a limited range of colours can be a good way of challenging your eye and powers of interpretation. Subtle blues, luscious greens, earthy tones that have a sense of nature to them can also bring an air of peace and serenity to your painting.

nother area for attention when practising zen meditative painting is the layout of your studio. Clutter, grime and chaos can harm the artists frame of mind, distracting junk and poor lighting are a barrier than can stem creativity. Therefore a clean, ordered room, filled with bright light and soothing, peaceful music works well.


Zen sounds

Although music while you work isn’t everyones cup of tea, if you do like listening to music while you work rather than a full bore, rock CD chose some chillout sounds. Cool colours on the walls, plants and large windows all add to making your studio a haven of creativity.


Finally, give your painting a suitably tranquil title to convey the inner calm achieved while completing the master piece. The title says a lot about the painters connection to the painting and often people consider the title, as much as the subject.

Finding the path

Using art and painting as a way of achieving inner peace and well being is as much about the subject matter and the things with which you surround yourself as it is about deep breathing exercises and assuming good posture. Painting is meant to be a relaxing process and anything that reduces stress and gives pleasure has to be good for the body, mind and soul. Happy painting :D

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