Watercolour is an amazing way to express creativity. Creativity is the expression of joy, movement and flow. Each time I create a painting there is a new unseen mystery unfolding. When we create, we open ourselves up to the freedom of expression that is our natural state. In the moment of now, we are free of our past and free to ignore any seemingly familiar chatter that floats through our experience. We are not held in place by anything from our old familiar thoughts and beliefs. This moment is new! This knowledge makes me very happy!

Terry Runyan

Terry Runyan

When I was approached to create a watercolour book on the theme of mindfulness I was immediately excited, but that excitement was laced with apprehension. Fortunately, I could see the irony of this so I did not let it stop me! Painting Happiness is written directly from the experiences that life has given me and most of these experiences (including that of writing this book) involve riding a wave from the flow of the paintbrush through the inner-critic voices and back again. All the while, I have had to develop my awareness of my innate wellbeing and creativity in order to learn how to ride and be that wave...

The sight of blank paper used to terrify me, and I worked long and hard to hone my skills to make sure I had some sense of control. I can’t tell you how often I’ve started a work with no sense of inspiration - only to have it join me as I continued to put brush to paper. It truly feels like a conversation between me and the art. As I paint, I take time to focus in on the colours, the brush swirling in the water, mixing the paint, the feel of the paper, the touch of the brush, and the stroke of each colour. Each moment is a gift, a new experience, and all there truly is.

When we paint we can explore the joy of what is being revealed as it is happening. Ideas from the past or fears about the future will certainly bubble up, and we can mindfully see them for what they are, habits or conditioning, as we continue paying attention to what is new and present now. I have found that showing up daily to create, even for five minutes, has not only increased my productivity but also made me more aware of my creativity as it unfolds. When I’m feeling inspired I notice more, but even when I’m not I notice that creativity happens anyway. This has been an amazing discovery: you don’t have to be inspired to create art!

For me the act of starting is full of possibilities and ripe for creative flow, and daily practice puts me in touch with this flow. If we engage in this creative “conversation” frequently enough, we can see that it is always present, always available, strengthening our ability to “tap in” to it. The unknown is an invitation. It gives me a sense of wonder. When seen with an open mind, the unknown is exciting! Everything and anything is possible!

Remember: our value is inherent, it is not earned. We are made of wellbeing and creativity no matter how our creativity expresses itself. Painting Happiness is my way of saying have fun, play, and express your unique you!