Welcome to our painting challenge, organized to help keep us focused and a bit less stressed. Let’s get our brushes wet and have some fun! Know someone who would want to join in? Feel free to invite them to join and I’ll add them to my email list.

BTW, I never dreamed I’d have nearly 100 people sign up the first day of this challenge so these first few exercises will be fairly simple while I organize my contact list and computer programs…

Vol. 1, a really simple exercise: Name Abstraction

First make a sketch. On printer paper, your sketchbook or on scrap paper, print the letters of your first name. Each letter should touch 2 or 3 sides of the paper and nearly fill the page. Write one letter, turn the paper, then write the next letter over the first, etc. Use a pencil or blue watercolor pencil. (Light blue watercolor pencil lines nearly disappear as you paint.) When finished, you should have quite a unique design.

Pick a triad of primary colors (any medium)–your favorite red, yellow & blue or maybe ones you seldom use that you’d like to know better. Fill in the shapes with 3 primaries and their mixes. Try various values (darks, lights). Develop the painting into an abstract design as you wish.

Here, I’ve begun painting mine with watercolors: cobalt blue, lemon yellow and quinacridone rose. Once you’ve painted these shapes you could continue and add lines, patterns, play with opaques (gouache, acrylics), just get the paint flowing. You’ve undoubtedly mixed some beautiful mixes with those 3 colors. You might want to jot the names on the back for future reference.


Next up: you’ll need brightly colored magazine, mailer, calendar or printed material to cut up. Stay tuned in a day or 2…