Inspiration New Beginnings: Manage Your Stress Levels by Starting a Daily Painting Habit Today


Why is a daily painting habit good for your health? Also in this article are 3 reminders to successfully begin and stick to a creative pursuit plus 3 artful ideas to kick-start your art habit.

A daily painting habit is good for your health and there’s just something wonderful and feel-good about consuming and creating art. Some say it’s because art is an admired skill that basically powerfully boosts confidence, or that it’s a distraction that gives our brain a break from our usual thoughts. These are all likely true, that’s why it’s about time we ask you when was the last time you painted anything?

Why is a daily painting habit good for your health?
3 Things to Remember When Starting a Painting Habit
Remember, there’s an artist in you.
Remember, painting is a healthy habit just like exercise.
Remember, let go of expectations and keep creating.
3 Painting Ideas You Can Start Doing Today
Idea #1: Daily Color-Mixing and Abstract Art
Idea #2: Daily Small Paintings
Idea #3: Daily or Weekly Art Theme

Because Spring symbolizes new beginnings, this article is the first of two “new beginnings” to help you start healthy artful habits that will improve your overall well-being and creativity. First stop, let’s explore why creating art is good for your health, then, we’ll go through three reminders to successfully start and maintain a daily art habit, lastly, we’ll explore painting ideas that you can begin doing today.

Some daily art from artist @dreamsinjanuary on a ZenART B6 Sketchbook.

Why is a daily painting habit good for your health?

Artistic expression and creating art, in general, feels good, and apparently, it reduces stress hormones. That said, a study—done by art therapy experts Girija Kaimal, Kendra Ray, and Juan Muniz—measuring cortisol levels and personal responses of participants after an art-making activity concludes that creating visual art follows a statistically significant lowering of cortisol levels

If you’re someone who is conscious about making sure your stress levels are manageable, you’d already be familiar with cortisol. In case you haven’t encountered the term, cortisol is our body’s primary stress hormone. Being the primary stress hormone, cortisol is responsible for our body’s temporary increase in energy production at the expense of other body processes or otherwise known as the “fight or flight” response. Unfortunately with our fast-paced demanding lives,  it is expected that our bodies are likely to pump out cortisol more often than normal, and too much cortisol can wreak havoc on our health.

ZenART Supplies Aspiring Artist collection, Sereno Watercolor Palette. To be released in our shop soon.

It is worth noting that the said participants in this experiment are all adults. The participant’s written responses also mentioned that they found the visual art creating session to be “relaxing, enjoyable, helpful for learning about new aspects of self, freeing from constraints, an evolving process of initial struggle to later resolution, and about flow and losing themselves in the work.” 

3 Things to Remember When Starting a Daily Painting Habit

Now, if you’ve decided that creating art on a regular basis is really something you’re going for, then let’s explore these 3 reminders to successfully stick to your newfound daily habit.

Remember, there’s an artist in you.

You can be an artist. Here at ZenART, we believe that there is an artist in everyone. We have to stop thinking that creating art is only reserved for the genius, the talented, and the people who studied Fine Arts. Like all other exercises and sports, creating art is part inspiration, part technique, and part muscle memory. We only get better as we keep creating.

Art is for everyone. And yes, there’s an artist in everyone, especially in little children when every child draws and paints without judging and being judged. In the photo, Ardak’s daughters Left: Tamara with her Miss Monkey. Right: Laura’s princess painting, painted with her mum, using ZenART Black Tulip brushes

Girija Kaimal, Kendra Ray, and Juan Muniz’s study also proved that regardless of whether you’re a beginner or a more experienced artist, there were no changes or differences in the stress level reducing effects of making art. This means that regardless of how good you are, creating art will still feel good.

Remember, treat painting daily as any healthy habit like proper eating and exercise.

When we look at painting as something intrinsic to our overall well-being and survival, we elevate the habit as something necessary and we start to feel like we’re doing ourselves a disservice if we skip a day. Starting a daily painting habit or any habit for that matter can be difficult.

That is why we have to include it in our lifestyle. Just like buying the healthiest food for optimum nutrition, buying the most comfortable shoes for running or getting the best mattress for the best sleep, find an art supplies brand that will take the pain out of your painting by providing you not only with quality art supplies but also with guides, toolkits, and a supportive online community to help you get started.

Remember to let go of expectations and just keep creating.

When you believe that there’s an artist in you and that painting daily is necessary for your overall well-being, then the next step is to let go of expectations and just start creating. You know the saying “we are our own worst critic?” Well, healthy self-criticism allows us to learn from our mistakes and work on becoming better.

However, toxic self-criticism is different, it can be self-destructing and often will stop you from taking action. Remember that all successful artists were once beginners. Focus on starting, and feeling good, just keep moving forward.

Our creative director and co-founder, Ardak Kassenova painting.

Also, do not forget to eliminate all possible barriers that would hinder you from painting daily—like storing your art materials where you don’t see them, or not allotting a dedicated schedule. Ensure a good start by organizing your time, space, and art supplies. If you want to learn more about organizing your creative space, you can look at some artist studio hacks here

Now that we’ve explored all the reminders and possible hindrances, let’s get painting!

“Creating something beautiful makes me feel wonderful about myself. It makes me feel useful and capable. So I think art-making definitely lifts up my spirits, especially when I am pleased with the outcome of my painting.“ 

—Theodora Augusta Lionti, Painter and ZenARTist of April 2021

3 Daily Painting Habits You Can Start Doing Today

Whichever medium you use, may it be oil paints, watercolor, acrylics, or gouache, there will always be a handful of self-help books and art tutorials online. Try out other mediums, different styles, and a variety of subjects until you find what works best for you.

Idea #1: Daily Color-Mixing and Abstract Art

Have you tried mixing paints? Blending beautiful colors and swatching them are probably two of the most satisfying and not to mention, relaxing things you can do with your paints. There’s an infinite number of colors you can create from a few primary colors. Interested in mixing oil paints? Then you’ll like our Color Mixing Tips for Oils toolkit article. If you want to play with water-based paints, then best to watch this video of our Creative Director, Ardak Kassenova mixing watercolor from our Aspiring Artists collection.

Here’s a color feast, posted by a ZenART Luminary, artist Priscilla George @priscillageorgeart. Brushes used: ZenART Black Tulip and Fine Line Miniature

Pastel dreams. Color swatches by @spark_of_jasmine.

Then what do you do with the beautiful colors you created? Make art! Paint a free-flowing abstract piece every day on your sketchbook. If you choose oil as your medium, paint slowly making sure to leave definitive markings and brush strokes. You can even layer up a bit to create rich impasto textures—for this, we suggest using a separate sheet of thick paper or canvas.

Idea #2: Daily Small Paintings

Do you only have 15, 30 minutes per day? Start small. Paint a smaller postcard-size piece each day and see your collection grow. Paint whatever comes to mind. A popular choice this spring is Flowers. Flowers brighten up any room. Ardak even maintains a vase of fresh flower arrangements every day in her studio.

Why not brighten up your day by painting one daily? It can be any flower and in any style you like. Impressionist flowers painted using oil, color block flowers in gouache, or delicate loose watercolor flowers. You can paint mini flowers, like what watercolorist, Michelle Gonzalez did on her tiny sketchbook. You can also try painting a flower wreath like the one in this article.

Mini watercolor painting of sunflowers by watercolorist Michelle Gonzales @brushstrokesbymichelle created through ZenART Fine Line Mini paint brushes.
Play around with your paint brushes, try out different strokes and you’d be surprised with what you can create.  Our creative director and co-founder Ardak Kassenova did and ended up creating beautiful floral patterns using ZenART’s Fine Line Mini brushes.

Idea #3: Daily or Weekly Art Theme

You can definitely create whatever you want! There’s inspiration everywhere and endless options for a subject. However, keeping to a weekly, monthly, or even yearly theme will help you easily pick a subject to paint. You can also join online art challenges. If you want to start an art habit with a community of awesome ZenARTists, then join us in Painting Inspiration Daily | Ideas, Tutorials, and Guidance to Motivate You Facebook Group where we do fun weekly art challenges that everyone can participate in.

Join our fun weekly art challenges in Painting Inspiration Daily | Ideas, Tutorials, and Guidance to Motivate You Facebook Group.

For more daily painting ideas, check out the 5 Daily Attitude of Gratitude Painting Ideas to Start Today where we also listed meditative—attitude of gratitude—daily creative practices that you can easily try anytime. 

Which of these are you trying today? Do you already have a daily painting habit you want to share? Leave your comments below and let’s share ideas! Happy painting!


Fabrianne is the Ambassador of Art Buzz at ZenART, resident eccentric pocket-sized art curator, editor, and art world liaison. She builds and develops relationships with the arts community and makes sure that ZenART’s inspirational articles get to you “hot off the press.” She co-founded an online contemporary art gallery, worked with over 100 artists on exhibitions and performances, wears only black clothes and when she’s not creating buzz or curating and saturating in art, still daydreams of becoming a quirky Wes Anderson film character.

Gharib, M. (2020) Making Art Is Good For Your Health, NPR.org, https://www.npr.org/2019/12/30/792439555/making-art-is-good-for-your-health-heres-how-to-start-a-habit
Kaimal, G., Ray, K., & Muniz, J., (2016), Reduction of Cortisol Levels and Participants’ Responses Following Art Making, Art Therapy Volume 33, Issue 2, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5004743/
Aronson, D., MS, RD (2009) Today’s Dietician, Vol. 11 No. 11 P. 38, https://www.todaysdietitian.com/newarchives/111609p38.shtml
Gharib, M. (2020) Feeling Artsy? Here’s How Art Helps Your Brain, NPR.org, https://www.npr.org/sections/health-shots/2020/01/11/795010044/feeling-artsy-heres-how-making-art-helps-your-brain