Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 14: Yellow/Orange Floral + announcements

21 years ago I photographed this flower arrangement and eventually painted 3 paintings from the photo at the bottom of this post:–a watercolor, an acrylic on canvas and an oil painting. I still like the flower arrangement enough that I’m tempted to do another watercolor. And I’m offering it for you to use as a reference even though it lacks definition (digital cameras weren’t great back then). Just as well. I want you to squint when you look at it and paint an impression of it. Use whatever paints, pencils, pens, etc. you wish. Don’t forget to send me the results!

I am so excited to soon offer live painting classes on Zoom. I plan to teach weekly. At least some classes will be offered through the Watercolor Art Society-Houston.
I’ll soon send a link for you to register. Once I begin these affordable online classes I will discontinue my Coronavirus challenges. I’m hoping you will prefer to join me while I can actually demo techniques and take questions.

The nice thing about a live class is, we can enjoy the company of others. The interaction really helps me feel like I’m not just talking to a screen. These past 2 weeks I’ve taught online using the Zoom app and it was wonderful to see and talk to friends who tuned in.

In the meantime, next Wednesday April 29 at 11 a.m. Eastern, 10 Central, I will offer the last of 3 classes on Zoom: how to show and sell your artwork on Why not join us? If you’d like to register, please do so before Wednesday 4/22.

Happy Painting!

Mums, 11 x 14″ oil on canvas

Coronavirus Challenge Vol 13: Video! Intro to painting with plants

First attempt to teach online….More to come! Can’t wait! If this youtube video doesn’t play for you, copy/paste this URL into your browser:
PS. Turn up your volume…I’m still learning

This 8 minute video is a hint of classes I’ll be offering soon….stay tuned! Questions? Not many details here but my upcoming LIVE classes will spill all the secrets.

Not feeling it? Just don’t feel like painting these days? That’s ok! Just watch and enjoy.


Coronavirus Challenge Vol 12: The Moors

I learn something every time I watch someone paint a painting. Many videos on YouTube are well worth a view and yesterday I discovered one by master painter Charles Evans in the UK. This is a 35 minutes full of unique and interesting techniques. Pay no attention to the colors, brands, papers, etc. Just watch his techniques as he does a light drawing, washes in a sky, builds his painting. Notice how unimportant the colors are and how important the values are!

Here’s the link to Charles’ video. Remember, it is perfectly ok to copy someone and learn from their demo. Just don’t put your name on it and claim it as your own. Want to make it your own? I figure if the person who created the original painting doesn’t recognize mine as a copy of his because I changed mine so much, I can put my name on it and claim it as my own. Do you agree?

Coming up on Wednesdays in April: my online zoom classes:

  1. how to set up a store and sell artwork online.
  2. how to edit photos of your artwork with your mobile phone or ipad so they look like your paintings

    Even if you aren’t interested in doing a store right now, you’re welcome to watch as we stumble through our first live session (haha

and we’ll send you an email to click and join us.

Coronavirus Challenge Vol 11: Mini Paintings

Today I received this adorable image:

Which gave me a really fun idea! You could do any or all of these:

  1. Simply recreate some favorite paintings in miniature form (Hint: Pinterest is a great resource. So is Google Arts and Culture
  2. Print out some black and white photos of family or friends, cut out their faces and add them to some favorite paintings
  3. Print out images of your favorite pet(s) and add them to your favorite paintings

NOTE: Why are we doing these? True these challenges are not intended as painting masterpieces. However, it never hurts to have a little fun with our paintbrushes. Every time we paint we learn = win/win!

Coming up: LIVE Zoom classes! Woohoo!

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 10: I dare you!

  1. Take a photo of yourself in dramatic lighting (light & shadows). Mine, above, isn’t very dramatic. Try side lighting for a better effect.
  2. Edit the photo. Make it black and white. Turn it upside down. (both easy to do with a cellphone in edit mode)
  3. Create a black and white portrait in 20-30 minutes. You may draw it in pencil first. However, if you do so I suggest doing it once again without drawing. Just paint it loosely. Use whatever medium you like–watercolor, acrylic, markers, pencil, but stick to black & grays. Concentrate on the forms, designs, lines created by the shadows. Don’t turn it right side up until you finish the piece. 20-30 minutes. You might be surprised you don’t even need that long.
  4. Extra credit: paint it again, entirely in black and white. No gray.
  5. Another extra credit: try doing someone else’s portrait this same way.

It is always interesting to me how much easier it is to draw a portrait if you have no emotional attachment to it whatsoever. That’s what happens when you turn it upside down. MUCH easier.

HERE’S our gallery, both March and April

Don’t forget to send me your paintings! Lots of people love to see our results!

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 9: Abstracting Exercise

Today’s challenge is a really fun idea, courtesy my friend Cathy Nieman and I can’t wait to get started on this myself today. Remember, an abstraction takes a recognizable image and transforms it in an imaginary way to create something new. Here’s Cathy’s great idea:

Magazines or coloring book pages
Glue or glue stick
Plain paper
Pencil, markers or crayons

Find magazine image or coloring book page
Cut image in half or use part of an image or drawing
Glue a piece onto your drawing paper
Draw the other half. Unleash your imagination!
Paint if you wish or transfer the idea to a watercolor paper. Have fun! Add collage! Add lines, markers, get silly!
Hint: put the original source page away so you’re not tempted to just recreate the original design

Cathy’s idea to get us started. This is going to be fun!

Our March gallery has gotten so large, we’ve created a new gallery for April! Check both of them out HERE

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 8: Pointillism

Get ready to use another unusual tool to create a shimmery impressionistic effect called Pointillism. To begin we will borrow a beautiful image originally painted by André Derain who died in 1954.

This painting was painted during a summer when Derain was hanging out with fellow painters de Vlaminck and Henri Matisse on the Gulf of Lyon in a town named Collioure . This painting is called “Vue de Collioure”. All 3 of these painters are favorites of mine because I love color and love the way they made bold marks on their papers and canvas.

Here’s the challenge: Paint with a small tool, make small marks. I’m trying out qtips as my painting tool, just for fun. If that doesn’t work for you, I’d like to suggest a small brush. Here’s my start:

Upcoming challenges….
My future painting challenges will be approx. every 3rd day. I’m getting some great feedback and I hear some of these challenges take more than a day to complete. Some of you like to try a few paintings of each technique. Have more time? Go back and repaint previous challenges. This time, use some of your own photo references and try the same techniques with them!

Stay tuned for more fun! Invite your friends! We have kids from 3 to 95 painting with us. And don’t forget….email (don’t text) your paintings…

Coronavirus Painting Challenge Gallery

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 7: Cellophane Experiment

Welcome! Today’s challenge is a bit experimental and I have little doubt you will obtain more interesting results than I had time to do…I’ll get you started and you can go on from here.

First, I suggest either use watercolor paper in a block (that is, glued the whole way around the tablet) or tape a piece of watercolor paper onto a support (plexi, wood, foam core, even cardboard). I like to be able to pick it up and move it around so I generally don’t tape it down to the table. Because we will be doing a very wet wash, this will keep even thin watercolor paper from making wet valleys when it is extra wet.

Begin by wetting the entire paper. Pick a color (or 2 or 3), cover the paper with paint. I like to have rather light color and lots of water.

Once the paper is covered and very wet, take wadded up cellophane or thin plastic wrap and place it onto the paper. Weigh it down with a few objects and allow it to dry. (takes a while…

Once dry, lift off the plastic. You should have interesting marks. These can be used as guides to paint and/or paint around. I painted a few of the interesting shapes with color.

Because I hurried mine so I could get this challenge out to you, I didn’t finish it. I went one more step: I created a dark puddle of paint and dabbed some newsprint into the puddle, then printed it over my dried colors. I’m on my way to building up an interesting and complex painting. I may paint into it, create some lines with markers or pens. Will I take it too far and make a mess? Perhaps. However, the worst thing that can possibly happen is: I waste a piece of paper!

See our Coronovirus Challenge Gallery HERE

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 6: painting your collage

Are you painting yet? Feel free to scroll down on my website and paint my previous challenges. Challenge Vol 6 is a followup to Vol. 4, the collage on index cards challenge. I’m hoping you’ve given this one a try because it is a lot of fun, but it takes time. Have you done a few of these yet? If not, get busy! Here’s that challenge.

Here is one beautiful collage by Laurie H and I’m wondering if it will turn into a painting? If not, it is a beautiful piece just the same!

And here is my step-by-step process using one of my index card collages as a reference, painted in acrylics. It is a painting I never would have thought of had I not done these clipping collages.

Here are some great results from previous challenges. So many people appreciate being able to see these so keep them coming–just email them to me and I’ll post them as I am able.

Thank you for the comments–I love that you’re enjoying some painting time. We have more than 200 folks painting along! Feel free to invite your friends. More challenges are on their way so stay tuned….

Now, get busy, get off the internet, start painting!