Painting with Words

This morning, I found myself on a wonderful adventure involving a paint brush, paint and my imagination. What has painting and watercolour got to do with writing, you may well ask? Read on and find out…

I have always admired painters for their ability to capture the world around them. It is a skill I believed I lacked; where others would paint spectacular landscapes, mine always appeared as blobs of jumbled mud on the page. No matter how hard I tried to capture the shape and colour of things, they alluded me.

But this morning, thanks to amazing artist, Susanna Bailey*, I’m beginning to discover the secret of painting with watercolour, and that has given me an insight into writing a first draft.

I am learning that the art of watercolour is the art of allowing the paint to go where it needs to. Although you might have an idea of what you want to paint, be prepared for it to find its own path too.

Discovery number two when working with watercolour is the need for trust, total relaxation and the ability to release control. No need for getting it right the first time and rigidly sticking to your idea of what you think it should look like – that just won’t work at all. You’ll find yourself fighting with the paint every step of the way and, inevitably, you’ll lose.

It is about working in partnership with the paint, the brush, the paper, the very air that you breathe. It changes and shifts in each moment: from wet, to drying, to dry. As the colours merge into each other, and the sediment settles into the very fibres of the paper they sit on, there is an alchemy that occurs – a magical transformation that gives form to the formless and creates something entirely different from what you started with.

And writing that first draft is the same. It takes courage, trust and total relaxation to allow the words to fall where they will: to merge into a sentence, then a paragraph, then a chapter, settling and seeping into the pores of the very pages they are written on. Just like painting with watercolours, writing is a living, breathing creation that will probably flow out in unexpected ways that you haven’t planned for. All you have to do is be there and allow the magic to happen.

Wishing you a happy writing journey,


* Find out more about Artist, Susanna Bailey by going to her website:

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