7 Simple Steps to Improve Painting for Stress Relief
Written by  Daisie Team
Published on 6 min read


  1. Choose your painting tools
  2. Select your painting space
  3. Set the scene for relaxation
  4. Prepare your painting surface
  5. Experiment with colors and techniques
  6. Paint what feels right
  7. Reflect on the painting process

Are you looking to explore the calming effects of art while improving your painting skills? You're in the right place. Discover how to improve painting for stress relief with our simple, step-by-step guide. These seven tips are easy to use, practical, and will help you create beautiful artwork while melting away the stress of the day. Let's get started!

Choose your painting tools

First things first: selecting the right tools can make a big difference in your painting experience. It's not about getting the most expensive brushes or the fanciest paint set, but about finding tools that feel right in your hands and inspire you to create.

Paint: There's a wide range of options, from watercolors to acrylics, oils, and pastels. Each has its unique feel and effect, so try a few and see which one you connect with the most. Watercolors, for example, are great for beginners and have a soft, soothing effect—perfect for painting for stress relief.

Brushes: Like paints, brushes come in various types and sizes. A good set of brushes should include a range of sizes for different details. A flat brush is useful for filling large areas, while a round brush is excellent for line work and detailing.

Paper or Canvas: Your choice of surface can also affect your painting experience. If you're using watercolors, a thick, textured watercolor paper can help the paint flow and blend beautifully. For acrylic or oil paints, a canvas might be your best bet.

Remember, there's no one-size-fits-all when it comes to painting tools. Experiment, have fun, and find what works best for you. This is your first step on how to improve painting for stress relief.

Select your painting space

Now that you've got your tools, it's time to choose your creative haven. The space where you paint plays a crucial role in your stress relief journey. It's not just about having a table and a chair—it's about creating an environment that inspires you and helps you relax.

Lighting: Good lighting is essential for painting. Natural light is the best, so if you have a window that lets in plenty of sunlight, make that your painting spot. If that's not an option, a desk lamp with a daylight bulb can also do the trick.

Comfort: You don't want to be squirming in your seat while trying to paint that perfect sunset. A comfortable chair and a table at the right height can make your painting sessions much more enjoyable.

Organization: Keep your painting tools within easy reach. A clean, organized space can help reduce distractions and make your painting experience more stress-free.

Personal Touch: Add a bit of yourself to the space. Maybe it's a plant, your favorite mug for paint water, or a motivational quote on the wall—whatever makes the space feel uniquely yours.

Remember, the goal is to create a space that makes you feel calm and inspired, a sanctuary where you can escape from the daily grind and focus on your art. This is the second step on how to improve painting for stress relief.

Set the scene for relaxation

Creating the perfect atmosphere for your painting sessions is a game-changer. Here are some simple ways to set the scene for relaxation and significantly improve your painting experience for stress relief:

Music: Soft, soothing music can help create a relaxing ambiance. Whether it's classical, jazz, or nature sounds, choose something that helps you unwind.

Aromatherapy: Scents can have a profound impact on your mood. Consider lighting a lavender or chamomile candle, or using an essential oil diffuser to fill your space with calming aromas.

Temperature: Ensure that your painting space is at a comfortable temperature. If you're too hot or cold, it could distract from your painting and add stress rather than relieving it.

Disconnect: To truly immerse yourself in the painting process, consider turning off your phone or at least putting it on silent. The less distracted you are, the more therapeutic your painting session will be.

Remember, setting the scene for relaxation doesn't have to be complicated or expensive. It's about finding what works best for you. This is a vital step on your journey to understanding how to improve painting for stress relief.

Prepare your painting surface

Once you've set up a relaxing environment, it's time to prepare your canvas. This is an often overlooked but important aspect of painting for stress relief. Here's how you can best prepare your painting surface:

Canvas Choice: You can use a traditional canvas, a piece of wood, or even a wall. The choice is yours! Just make sure it's a surface that you're comfortable with and one that suits your painting style.

Priming: If you're using a traditional canvas, it's a good idea to apply a layer of gesso. This white paint mixture helps create a smoother and more stable surface for your painting.

Sketching: Before you start painting, consider sketching your ideas on the canvas. This isn't mandatory, but it can help guide your painting process.

Remember, the preparation phase isn't about perfection. It's about setting yourself up for a stress-free painting session. By taking the time to prepare your painting surface, you're one step closer to mastering how to improve painting for stress relief.

Experiment with Colors and Techniques

At this point, you're all set with a well-prepared canvas and calm surroundings. Now comes the exciting part—deciding what to paint and how to do it. Never be afraid to experiment with different colors and techniques. Remember, the main goal here is to relieve stress, not to make a perfect masterpiece.

Color Palette: You might have a favorite color, but don't let that limit you! Try introducing new colors into your palette. Bright colors like yellow can lift your mood, while blues and greens can help you feel more relaxed. How you mix and match these colors can significantly influence your stress levels.

Techniques: There's no right or wrong way to paint. Some people find relief in the precision of detailed work, while others prefer the freedom of abstract painting. You could try different brush strokes, use a palette knife, or even try finger painting. The key is to find what feels right for you.

Through experimenting, you'll not only learn more about your personal style and preferences, but you'll also learn how to improve painting for stress relief. So, the next time you pick up your brush, remember: it's an opportunity to learn and grow. Who knows? You might surprise yourself.

Paint What Feels Right

Now that you've experimented with colors and techniques, it's time for the real magic to happen. The canvas is your playground, and the paintbrush is your magic wand. But remember, there's no pressure to create the next Mona Lisa. The goal here is stress relief, so just paint what feels right.

Think about what brings you peace. Is it a particular place, a memory, or perhaps an emotion? Paint that. You could recreate the serene view from your last vacation, the warmth of your grandmother's kitchen, or even the feeling of a gentle summer breeze. The beauty of art is that it's open to interpretation, so feel free to express yourself.

Don't worry about how it will look. Besides, some of the most famous art pieces in the world were born out of the artist’s need to express their feelings.

Remember, your painting doesn't have to be perfect, it just needs to be 'you'. Embrace your unique style and let your feelings guide your brush. By painting what feels right, you'll not only create a piece of art that's uniquely yours, but you'll also discover how to improve painting for stress relief.

Reflect on the Painting Process

Having finished your painting, it's time to reflect on the journey. Reflection is a powerful tool that can significantly enhance your painting skills and further promote stress relief. So how do we go about it?

First, step back and look at your painting. Not just the final product, but the story it tells. Remind yourself of every stroke, every color choice, and every emotion that went into creating it. What parts were the most enjoyable? Where did you face challenges?

Next, consider the feelings you experienced during the painting process. Did you feel calm, excited, or perhaps a bit of both? This is a direct indication of how painting contributes to your stress relief. Remember, this process isn't about critiquing your work; it's about understanding your emotions and how they interact with your creativity.

Finally, think about what you've learned. Did you discover a new technique you love? Or perhaps a color that resonates with your mood? These insights are valuable for your journey on how to improve painting for stress relief.

By taking the time to reflect, you're not just improving your painting skills, but also deepening your understanding of your personal stress relief journey. So, grab a cup of your favorite beverage, sit back, and take a moment to appreciate the beautiful journey you just embarked on.

If you're looking for ways to improve your painting skills while also relieving stress, be sure to check out the workshop 'Improve Your Acrylic Painting Skills' by Rachel Christopoulos. This workshop will not only help you enhance your acrylic painting techniques, but also guide you in using painting as an effective stress-relief tool.