Becky Anderson, founder, Brush of Genius

Let’s face it: We live in a hectic world of text messaging, social media, TV, video games, and other distractions. Most of us feel like we are constantly pulled in every direction. Most parents want to give their kids meaningful gifts and experiences, but it can be exhausting to dig deep — especially around the holidays.

Luckily, there is a perfect gift out there for people of all ages: art! I’m not talking about giving a piece of art to someone; I’m talking about giving loved ones the tools to become artists themselves.

Art really does change lives. It not only develops right brain creativity and problem-solving skills (and teaches people how to create a vision then execute it), but it also brings people of all ages and circumstances together to engage in fun, meaningful adventures.

One easy way to bring art into people’s lives is through watercolor painting. Watercolors are fun, affordable, dynamic, and easily accessible. Additionally, watercolor paintings can be picked up and put down at ease, so they can be completed in one day or over a year, depending on your schedule.

With practice, anyone can become a meaningful artist, and with the right instruction and supplies, anyone can go from a blank piece of paper to a frame-worthy masterpiece (which, by the way, can also be used to print fantastic homemade holiday cards!).

The possibilities with watercolors are endless:

  • Babysitters: Even the best of babysitters might pass the night away by putting the kids in front of the TV. Consider offering the alternative of doing art. Simply leave them with art supplies and an instructional video so they can paint while you are away.
  • Painting with grandparents: It’s sometimes hard to find mutually fun things to do with grandparents. Art offers a wonderful adventure where physical limitations don’t matter and interest spans generations. Create your own painting class with grandparents and kids. If grandparents live in a senior home, have it there and invite other residents and their families, too.
  • Become a school art volunteer: Many parent volunteers often end up in the copy room; another possibility is becoming an art parent. Help students create masterpiece paintings that can be displayed at the end of the year in an art show.
  • Date night: Instead of the old dinner and movie routine, try painting together.
  • Outdoor adventure: Make your next outdoor adventure even more special by bringing along a small watercolor kit and painting something special that you see in nature.

Watercolor supplies are affordable and easy to purchase online or at your local art supply store. Here is a basic list:

  • Watercolor medium, round paintbrush, size 10
  • Watercolor, one-inch, round paintbrush (for larger paintings)
  • Watercolor small, liner brush
  • Watercolor paper (140 pounds)
  • Watercolor paints (small palette with eight or 12 pans of colors)
  • Instructional DVD or video

Most people are intimidated by art and think that they can “only draw stick figures,” but that is simply not true. Everyone is an artist — they just don’t know it yet!