Hey there! My name is Jaime Reynolds and I’m a Hudson Valley based artist and watercolor teacher interested in sharing how my watercolor practice helps support my everyday life. I experienced how powerful it can be to slow down and carve out some time to be with myself, especially as a mom of two. I am constantly moving from task to task and planning for the future. Painting and design gives me a safe space to gain perspective around my experiences, and reminds me to create and collaborate in pursuit of timeless Joy!
Even though I graduated from art school (shout out to Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, New York!) I took a long time off from making anything after my last class. Studying at Pratt was such an intense experience. I loved the mental game of defining a concept and then using that framework to create an immersive experience, but I also felt very much in my head. I lost touch with my body, with movement and health. After graduating, instead of pursuing Interior Design (like my degree suggested) I dedicated my life to adventure and holistic health. For years, I traveled and worked at yoga studios and retreat centers all around North America.
Eventually I landed in Austin, Texas, where I met my now husband. We lived together in a 20’ vintage airstream for 7 years! The close quarters didn’t give me much room for busting out the art supplies, but thankfully I was given a lil’ travel-sized watercolor kit. You know the kind, where the mini paintbrush is so small it has about four hairs on it! I stashed that kit in the junk drawer for longer than I’d like to admit before opening it up one day to see if I could still paint.
There was something in watercolors that captured my curiosity and has kept it ever since. It’s so fluid and unexpected at times. I find myself exploring all of these major life themes while I paint – things like perfectionism, control of outcome, self-doubt and negative self talk. All the stuff that’s a little sticky, sometimes sad, sometimes happy, sometimes both!
The themes that come up while I paint remind me of a lot of the things I learned and taught in yoga. Because of this, I started seeing the time spent painting more as a practice – much like my yoga asana practice. Watercolor painting has become a safe place to get to know myself more deeply. The act of painting watercolor gives me time to notice what is going on in my life, internally and externally. I get time to assess what’s coming up for me at that moment.
This is SO valuable to me as a mother of two. When I had my first, our baby girl, my world changed overnight. My brain was filled with nap schedules and counting dirty diapers and stressing about my milk supply. Although I now had this title of Mother, I was left with a sense of loss of my prior identity. I couldn’t tap into my “old” self, it was almost like she was completely obliterated. There was no ease, there was no fluidity – and because of that I craved my watercolor practice and clung to it every naptime.
I think this is why I love painting without a pencil sketch layer. It’s this question for me: “How comfortable can I be with the fluidity of watercolor, the lack of control over this medium?” We all know, it’s pretty tough to go with the flow sometimes. You want it to look good! But can you define good for me? I’m not interested in making my watercolor as “real” or photographic as possible… I’m more interested in making my watercolor look like it was made by me! I want to see myself in everything I paint. Now THAT’S a concept I can get behind!
I love to think about painting watercolor like this… I’m standing on a dock overlooking a beautiful big lake. I have in my hand a long rope tied to a boat. The boat is “control of outcome”. This is a great theme to explore because it shows up so frequently in life on a micro and macro scale. We can’t control traffic, we can’t control other people’s choices, we can’t really even control how long we’re going to be here on this earth (even though we try very hard). All we can control is ourselves… our heart, our hand, and our reactions.
Now apply that to watercolor. As an artist I can control my intention when I sit down to paint, I can control my paintbrush and my reactions to what I’m creating. But I can’t fully control the paint… in fact, it looks better when I DON’T. So the boat is able to float along wherever the water is. And I’m constantly experimenting with how far away I can let the boat float, how loose I can go with my creative medium, while still painting something recognizable, beautiful and balanced.
Now apply that to motherhood. As a mother I can control my intention when I step up to an escalating meltdown with my daughter. I can control my body, my breath and my reactions to what she’s saying. But I can’t control her – in fact, I want her to learn she has autonomy over her will and her body, so it’s important I don’t! She’s the boat, not quite ready to set sail without my tether, but able to bob around in the water. What is the best distance from shore to support independence, safety and health… I’ve found it to be constantly changing. I wonder if you have a relationship in your life you could apply this to? I wonder what it would be like to think about that the next time you sit down to paint?
Looking at my work you’ll see that I often use inks – my favorite are Dr. Ph. Martin’s Radiant Concentrated Watercolors that comes in a set or individual bottles. I also really like using L’Ecole Des Beaux Arts Watercolor set which you can make your own or buy an existing color palette. Daniel Smith and Winsor & Newton are also top notch. For brushes, I like round watercolor brushes, specifically Round brush 12 because it’s so big it forces me to loosen up. It also gives me a lot of options in terms of thick and thin lines which is perfect for leaves and foliage. This Sable Watercolor Brush Series 752 Oval Wash 1/2″ is perfect for loose floral petals. See how I use it to paint dahlias in this video! Don’t forget the supporting act which helps me share my artwork – my Epson V850 scanner and my CANVAS Lamp! Both have been game changers for me and help me to post my process on Instagram and TikTok!
I now call myself a working artist and have a library of patterns and wall art to license out to some badass brands and ethical companies. My work is mostly watercolor with a healthy splash of digital drawing and my most recent endeavor, digital collage. I teach watercolor classes with an emphasis on self-care and self-discovery. But first and foremost, learning watercolor is a place to get quiet and meet myself.Recommended3 recommendationsPublished in