Release, 30 x 24″ watermedia collage on gallery-wrapped canvas
Painted today because my brushes were desperate to get busy after being shut in. What a great feeling!
Available HERE

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!

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 5: Masks!

Not watercolor this time. There is a growing need for face masks. This is a challenge for those with a sewing machine and a stash of cloth, heavy tee shirts to recycle and some ribbon or elastic. You can help your household prepare and even make a difference in your community! There is a shortage of masks and an urgent need. Unlike most commercial masks, these are reuse-able once sanitized! Must be handled with care once used; sanitization is crucial. You might be surprised about their efficacy. Details below include CDC and Forbes’ articles…

FORBES magazine’s article: Calling All People Who Sew And Make: You Can Help Make Masks For 2020 Healthcare Worker PPE Shortage

CDC‘s details how to make homemade masks when commercially available masks are not available. Take note how to sanitize heavy tee shirt material.

Research details about best fabrics HERE. Turns out tee shirt and pillowcase material are the most breathable, effective fabrics. Better yet, if you have HEPA vacuum cleaner bags they’d be even better.

Specific sewing instructions for masks HERE. Scroll thru this entire page for helpful info, photos and downloadable instructions

If you look around you’ll even find some mask instructions with no sewing. The CDC says even a bandana is better in a crisis than no face mask at all.

I have received several notes saying your shared paintings are helpful and enjoyable for others to see.  Please share your artwork! Here is the GALLERY

Coming up: more art challenges. Know folks who might want to participate? Just send me an email:

Stay safe & well!

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 4: Small Magazine Abstract Composition

Look at the images of your work so far in our GALLERY
Paint previous challenges. Scroll down for previous posts.
Be notified of future challenges. Sign up on the right –>>

Today you’ll need
1) old fashioned index cards or pieces of paper 3 x 5″ or 4 x 6″
2) magazines, old print material (calendars, cards, mail, etc.), bits of wrapping paper or even bits of fabric
3) scissors
4) glue

**Warning: This exercise, at least for me, can turn in to hours of designing interesting compositions. It could, in fact, become a bit of an obsession, creating interesting small collages. (I’m thinking of you, Claudia, Lyn and Suzan). It can also lead to saving many pieces of mailers, junk mail and print material from now on that you otherwise would have thrown away. I must not be held responsible for your future obsessions or collections (hehe

When you have a challenge finished, feel free to snap a cellphone pic so I can post to our GALLERY. Just EMAIL them to me.

Challenge Vol. 4 Instructions:
A. Find some interesting patterns and beautiful colors in magazines and cut out a pile of favorite bits. Try to cut out pieces that are unrecognizable away from their original context. (Don’t cut out recognizable elements like flowers, symbols, etc. We want just shapes, patterns, color. Let’s make this an abstract.) Once you have a nice pile of pieces, begin to arrange them onto an index card. Once you have placed a pleasing arrangements of shapes and colors, glue them down.

B. Create a painting using your index card design as your thumbnail sketch. Feel free to alter your painting to suit your taste. Add lines, texture, change elements a bit to suit your taste. You can make it any size using any media.

Because this is a 2 step process and because you may want to create several small compositions before beginning to paint, I will consider this a multiple day challenge. I will be back with Challenge Vol. 5 on the weekend. Stay tuned….and don’t forget to share this with anyone who might enjoy it! Let’s keep painting…

Here we go!

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 3: Channel Monet

Monet painted such beautiful large paintings of his pond in Giverny and you can create a beautiful, scribbly and loose painting if you just allow yourself to get a little messy. In fact, you might create an underpainting in some areas to create larger forms, allow that to dry, then go back and put small marks on top.

Remember Challenge Volume 2? This time we will keep our small brushes going so we can continue to create impressionism along with another master, Claude Monet. Don’t feel like you must copy his painting exactly. If you want impressionistic marks just hold your small brush out at the end of the handle, dance it while you paint rather than choking it down at the ferrule.

Use any media–watercolor, acrylics, on paper or canvas–whatever you have. Any size you want. Let’s just get started!!

It seems a good idea to first create a very pale sketch with pale blue paint where you’ll place the shapes on the picture plane. Then jump in and paint!

A shout out to my sweetie Bruce who married me 24 years ago today. We are still having a blast together. Here, we visited the l’Orangerie in fall 2018. What a wonderful trip.

Want to see some paintings from the previous challenges? Click HERE! Want to share your artwork? Please do! Just email them to me HERE

Bonus! My friend Deb Eck from western NY has posted a great how-to video, how to make a Zine! A great project for any age! Click on her image, below.

Coronavirus Challenge Vol. 2: Vincent’s Marks

Today we are going to borrow from Vincent Van Gogh. Mostly Van Gogh used oil paints but if you look closely you’ll see very animated, small marks that we, too, can try with our water media (acrylics, watercolors, gouache, your choice).

The trick today is to use mostly small brushes, the opposite from the way I usually teach! Also, hold your brush at the end of the handle, not like a pen. It allows your marks to be much looser and free. You’ll see with these paintings from my classes how small marks make this impressionistic style almost shimmer with color.

Below is a Van Gogh painting for you to use as reference. I urge you to set a timer and take no more than 20 minutes! You’ll see why once you’ve done it. 20 minutes is a LONG time for this style painting, trust me. Ready….set….PAINT!

The Plain at Auvers 1890, VanGogh

Bonus! Challenge #2: try this style with one of your own photo references but remember 1) use small brushes, 2) hold them at the end of the handle and 3) set a 20 minute timer.

Coming up: Soon you’ll need brightly colored magazine, mailer, calendar or printed material to cut up. I wanted to give you time to find something in print that has colors you love.