Review — ‘Painting Happiness: Creativity With Watercolors’

Books Entertainment Reviews

Painting Happiness: Creativity With Watercolors by Terry Runyan

I met Terry Runyan during the pandemic thanks to her Instagram account. This woman, who spent thirty years as an in-house illustrator for Hallmark, decided in 2016 to lead her own business, by creating art and YouTube videos, before leaping to Skillshare, where I highly recommend all of her classes.

She loves to help others explore their creativity. Her main focus is cats and big hair and sometimes a combination of the two, but her ideas about watercolor are worth gold. She champions imperfectly perfect watercolor.

The confidence she displays when using wet blobs and then turning them into works of art is both encouraging and liberating, and this particular book is the brightest and most joyful thing I’ve encountered in a while. It would make a great gift for artsy moms, for instance, and it can be used by beginners who want to start with watercolors or people familiar with the medium that want to explore and tackle different possibilities.

The book is entirely hand-drawn and illustrated. There is not a single photograph, and that makes it beautiful as well.

A big part of the creative daily practice Terry encourages has to do with mindfulness and accepting the inner critic’s thoughts as just fleeting. We stop creating in our adult lives because that inner critic voice becomes too fierce and we get upset by the lack of perfectionism in our art. However, when you free yourself from that expectation, creating can become joyful again. That is why the book is called Painting Happiness: you are looking for a state of mind, not endless masterpieces.

When we create, we open ourselves up to the freedom of expression that is our natural state. In the moment of the now, we are free of our past and free to ignore any seemingly familiar chatter that floats through experience. We are not held in place by anything but our memoires.

This moment is new.

What an amazing discovery!

Terry Runyan

Painting Happiness: Creativity With Watercolors is available on April 5th, 2022.

Publisher: Leaping Hare Press
Pages: Paperback + Flaps 160 Pages
ISBN: 9780711270565

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