July 6, 2021

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picasso, the million dollar napkin and live painting
I create timeless heirloom paintings for couples looking for an original and intentional way to capture their wedding day, and I do it live.

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We’re KNEE DEEP in projects this summer.

Kitchen  ✔️

Dining room studio (FINALLY ✔️) and can’t WAIT to share some pictures once everythings hung up and truly completed… 

And now the rest of the house…

And while the White Dove by Benjamin Moore paint color IS helping me feel peaceful, I paused for a second the other day and realized OMG — I haven’t ~actually~ painted in over two weeks *because my dining room studio has been under construction + tools have been locked away safely*.

BUT — that made me think HOLY COW, watercolor is my SELF-CARE.  It’s how I spend time meditating.  I use it for prayer.  If I haven’t done it, what the heck have I been doing?! 

The answer is A LOT — BUT it doesn’t change the fact that I feel the absence of painting DEEP IN MY SOUL.

Which made me think — watercolor as self-care is wonderful, but if you’re going to start it up, there’s a few BRUTAL TRUTHS you need to know.

15 brutal truths about watercolor as self-care by artist and live wedding painter Courtney Kibby Designs in Tulsa Oklahoma

In this blog, I’m sharing 15 brutal truths about making watercolor practice self-care.

One — it’s the restful skill you never knew you needed

First off, if you’ve never painted before, you have no idea the release that is “the painting session.”

It’s so good for your soul—feeling the brush in your hand, the tinkling sound of the water glass, and watching the paint mix with the water? It’s soothing in a way I really never knew I needed before 2020 happened. 

There I was just minding my own business and BAM — COVID + 2020 + lockdown + claustrophobia + already pretty skyrocketing anxiety levels = I HIT A DANG WALL.

I couldn’t be productive. I couldn’t do ANYTHING.  Painting the same old way didn’t bring me joy, it just became a chore. 

BUT THEN — my husband gave me a watercolor palette. 

“I found I could say things with color and shapes that I couldn’t say any other way—things I had no words for.”

— Georgia O’Keeffe

Tulsa, Oklahoma Live Wedding Painter and artist Courtney Kibby Designs holding watercolor palette

Two — painting is emotional, not scary

Opening your heart and soul to your creativity isn’t something I’d suggest lightly.  It’s a deep dive into old feelings, insecurities, anxiety, and all that junk I’d rather close the door on. ~tell me I’m not the only one!~

BUT — really the best art comes from emotion. 

It’s the emotion that hits home when we look at artwork by the famous painters like Monet and Van Gogh or Picasso. 

They had serious FEELING in their art — without it, it might’ve been pretty but wouldn’t have been worth hanging on the fridge with tape.

“A work of art which did not begin in emotion is not art.”

— Paul Cézanne

Three — Painting is meditative

Ever been to a yoga class? Ballet class? A run? Repetition repetition repetition.  Breathe in and out. Point and flex, point and flex, plie, releve, plie, releve. One foot in front of the other.  The seeming mindlessness of these activities is what makes it meditative.  

ART isn’t perfection.  Sometimes watercolor as self-care simply means quiet time moving paint with a brush.  Adding drops of color to water.  Swirling paint in a palette.

The meditation brings beauty in your soul, and sometimes even in your work, without even realizing it. 

“The emotions are sometimes so strong that I work without knowing it. The strokes come like speech.”

— Vincent van Gogh

Four — painting helps you enjoy nature + creation

Remember watching Ferris Bueller as a kid? I do.

Something he said has stuck with me. “Life moves pretty fast.  If you don’t stop and look around for a while, you could miss it.”

So, we could keep going the way we normally do and just ignore the beauty around us like it’s absent,

(Bueller… Bueller…)

OR we could pause, and take a moment to NOTICE and SEE and ENJOY and BE INSPIRED BY the beauty all around us.

God created the earth to be loved and cherished by people.  If we don’t take a second to look at it, how can we enjoy it?! Painting helps you not only SEE the beauty, but pay homage to it in a totally lovely way.

“…when we move out of faith into the act ofJ creation, the universe is able to advance.” 

― Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Five — you see beauty in simple things you hadn’t before

See above… because YUP.

“Survival lies in sanity, and sanity lies in paying attention…the capacity for delight is the gift of paying attention.” 

― Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Six — you start seeing the world through water-colored goggles…

*laughs out loud*

This is actually not a joke.  You know how many times I think OMG — THE SKY IS THE PERFECT SHADE OF CERULEAN.  That flower is Cadmium RED! That lemon is the perfect Illuminating Yellow! You LITERALLY see things in color, and the more acquainted you get with watercolor, the better you become at recognizing the colors and painting them beautifully.

We always do the best we can by the light we have to see by.” 

― Julia Cameron, The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity

Seven — If you miss a day, you feel it in your soul.

At this exact moment I’m writing this blog, I painted for the *first time* in two weeks.  Our dining room studio has been under construction and I couldn’t WAIT to pick up my brush.


Not only did I feel like I’ve been missing something, but painting is how I talk with God.  I do my quiet time when I have somewhat peaceful mornings, but painting is ~really~ how I feel God’s presence.  Since I haven’t painted, i felt distant from God and from my own creativity.


*If you haven’t read my post on why art matters, the bottom line is we were created by a super amazingly creative artist — God — the original creator, and our creativity comes from HIM.  Art matters because HE made us to be creative. Check it out part I and part II..

“Art washes away from the soul the dust of everyday life.”

— Pablo Picasso

Eight — you’ll find you’re more creative than you imagined.  

The more you paint, the better you get.  The less you paint… well, it’s a little like riding a bike.  If you haven’t ridden in 10 years, you’re going to have some trouble getting started… or if you’re me, a LOT of trouble getting started…

But the more you do it, the more you embrace your own creativity. Creativity GROWS AND EXPANDS.

“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.”

—Anais Nin

Nine — you’ll grow more and more confident as the days go on

Again… see above. The more you paint, the more you’ll be confident in yourself, your ability, and your creativity. You just have to start and keep going.

“Creativity takes courage.”

— Henri Matisse

Ten — inspiration doesn’t “strike” it’s made.

OMG if I had a penny for however many times I’ve been asked “what inspires you!?” I’d have…

Well I’d have a lot of pennies!

Inspiration doesn’t just “strike” when artist is your dayjob.  If I just sat around and waited for inspiration to strike, after this little painting drought I’ve been in, I wouldn’t even start.  

Watiitng for inspiration is like waiting for rain — but if you believe that your work is worth something ~even if it’s just to help you calm down and find peace of mind in crazy world~, you can truly be inspired by anything.


“Art should be something that liberates your soul.”

– Keith Haring

Eleven — JUST DO IT. When you JUST START, you see you can actually DO IT.

“Ready is a lie.”

—Angie Lee


You’ll never be ready.  This shizz is SCARY.  It’s hard to start something new. IT’s TERRIFYING. But waiting until you’re “ready” until “the time is right” until “life calms down” — it’s never going to happen.

Don’t wait.  Ready is a LIE.

“To live a creative life, we must lose our fear of being wrong.”

—Joseph Chilton Pearce


Perfection is entirely overrated. 

“If I could say it in words there would be no reason to paint.”

— Edward Hopper

Thirteen — Watercolor helps you find rest in a hustle-bustle world.

Painting is restful — and helps you create space in other areas of your life because you can release stress in a constructive way…

I’d say it’s better than screaming into your pillow, am I right?! Just me?! 

“Work from a place of rest, not hustle.”

—Ashlyn Carter

Everything is about hustle in our world.  Wouldn’t it be nice to have a moment ~even 5 minutes a day~ where you can pause and be still, or pause and still your mind while doing something with your hands?!

Have I mentioned art affects our brains the same way as solving a mathematical proof?! It’s good yall. It’s good. Rest + growth are in the house!

“I never paint dreams or nightmares. I paint my own reality.”

— Frida Kahlo

Fourteen – You will feel the rest deep in your soul.  When you don’t do it, unfortunately you’ll feel that too…

It’s hard to remember, but a consistent practice keeps your creativity sharp, your confidence up, and your anxiety at bay.

“Painting is the grandchild of nature. It is related to God.”

— Rembrandt van Rijn


THIS. It doesn’t have to be a full blown 238734583 hours in a real life studio with multiple paintings painted and lots of paint and lots of mess. (I mean, first off, sounds lovely, but is that real life?! Not for me!)

Self care needs to be something MORE than just your shower.  If you have time to shower, you have time to paint for 5 minutes or less. Breathing in and out and painting does WONDERS for your soul.

Interested? >> make a promise to yourself to paint 3 times in a week. Then 4. Then 5. Then 6, then 7.  Start with 1-3 minutes. Then add some time.

It’s like journaling or reading — it takes practice and discipline, but the restful result is worth it.

“You get whatever accomplishment you are willing to declare.”

– Georgia O’Keeffe

So — seriously? Watercolor has changed how I do self-care.  It’s no longer that shower I waited *impatiently* for everyday when my husband got home

~so I could get just a LITTLE alone time?!~

but it’s something I can use to talk to God, love on my kids with, and encourage them in their own creativity WHILE taking time for myself. Win-win-win.

The most brutal truth? Once you start, you won’t want to stop.

Ready to start YOUR peaceful watercolor self care? Click HERE to grab your ULTIMATE WATERCOLOR SUPPLY LIST.

Or if you’re not quite ~there!~ yet, grab this step by step guide to paint a beautiful watercolor bouquet in five minutes or less.

Remember — what you create MATTERS.  IT matters. Keep going and keep trying.  You’ll never be ready, but if you don’t start, you’re missing out on an amazing opportunity for self care and a deeply soul-nourishing practice.

Bringing your wedding day to life, thrilling your guests with a show-stopping live wedding painting experience, and creating a timeless keepsake that honors your sacred bond and will warm your heart every time you look at it – it’s what I do best.

Hey, I'm Courtney.

From behind the easel, I serve timeless brides who still embrace the unexpected by creating heirloom painting experiences that are immersive, one-of-a-kind, and thrilling to watch.

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With a slightly abstract Impressionist live painting experience that captures the love and joy of your story, shows off the beauty of your wedding day, and helps everyone who enters your future home to feel your wedding day, you’ll finally have THE THING that makes your wedding day unforgettable.

And your guests? They'll talk about your wedding forever because of the experience you gave them.


Simply put? This is way more than just a wedding painting.