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New classes: the backstory!

New classes: the backstory!

And you wonder why I’ve been a little absent on social media? *pant pant*

I’ve been wanting to do a class on birds for a lonnnnnng time. Lots of requests for our feathered friends, and I had to decide which medium got to go first…it’s like picking between kids! Gah! But…I’ve been wanting to play with “loose” watercolor pencil to create some art, so that won out!

I’m calling it a “Level 4” class, which is not quite a “Level 5”; the 5 would require solid drawing skills, but birds are relatively easy – they’re a circle for a head, an oval for a body, just add wings and a tail. LOL. And I know LOTS of my students are totally ready for this much drawing – so they’ll be just fine with it!

Watch the preview or click to see it on YouTube.


But I know lots would *like* to get to the point they’d feel comfortable drawing a bird, and even though I tell them birds are comparatively easy, I started thinking this week that I need to find a solution to help folks get over that hump.

I’ve recommended Drawing 101 to folks wanting to learn to draw – it covers perspective, shading, and so much more….and lots have loved that class. There’s also Whimsical Sketching, a class drawn in pen, and that’s nice and loose, but doesn’t teach much drawing, it’s more doodling. So I needed to offer something, maybe….in between them?

That’s when I came up with an idea for a class that I think could really help bridge the gap: 30 Days to More Confident Sketching! 30 days, 30 small videos, with FUN things to draw, but more realistic than the doodle classes, and less technical than Drawing 101. It’s even awesome for the Urban Sketching community, too – and artists in any discipline. The goals are to help students become confident that they can:

  • create a quick sketch from real life or a photo
  • make confident pencil strokes quickly and boldly
  • get proportions somewhat close without having to trace or measure
  • take one of Sandy’s crazy advanced classes and not freak out over having to draw something fancy

I’ve set this one at Level 2, which doesn’t mean you need Drawing 101 first – just that it’s going to be some work – 30 days straight ain’t for slackers, right? LOL! It’s also what’s called a “drip” class, explained in the video below – content becomes available slowly over the 30 days at the same hour of the day you made the original purchase. Hopefully that’s a good time for you to be online to access material, but you can always watch anytime after that hour.

Watch the sketching of the class logo in the video below and hear more about the class – and answer the question at the end of this post if you plan to take this class!

My question

Even though I launched the 30 Days class, I haven’t actually finished it. Okay, TBH I have three days done. LOL. But since lessons get revealed day by day I have some time to get them done!

I have a list of lessons for a bunch of the days, but I’m taking requests for what you might want to learn! No guarantees it’ll all be included, and complex topics will be simplified – for instance portraiture will NOT be covered – but there will be a lesson on sketching little people in street scenes. Remember the level of the class, we’re not going deep. 🙂

So given that, are there specific things you’d like to see covered for sketches?

Revisiting a prior lesson: painting loosely

Revisiting a prior lesson: painting loosely

We’re near the start of a new year – so I’m going to try revisiting a prior lesson I had posted on YouTube that included painting loosely. Of which I had no idea at the time I made it! ha! But first….

At the end of last year I was scrolling through my old social media posts and found some that were related to things I had made this past year. It was so encouraging to see my own progress! Apparently it was to many of the commenters too.

For today’s video I went back to what I think is my first watercolor on YouTube (not including marker techniques). It’s not a terrible project of course, but how would I paint poppies now?

Watch the video to see how I’d approach talking about getting looser effects – and see them in real-time action!

View on YouTube.

While this kind of project isn’t “easy” – it takes years of practice to get loose – it’s doable! Just remember, I paint every day; if you only let yourself have painting time once a week or once a month, your progress will be slower. Get out there and paint as much as you can!

One last thing….the glow of the sun…just YUM.


Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Little heads up(s)

Little heads up(s)

Heya friends! I posted a little preview on YT as promised to point over to my MFT first post— here’s the video to be sure you don’t miss it…I think it’s my last snowy card for the 2019-2020 season!

Daily art x2

In case you didn’t know, I’ve been posting daily art in 2020 in a couple places! I know, I know, it’s crazy keeping up with me. But the good thing—you don’t need an Instagram account to see these.

I’ve been painting every day for The100DayProject … while they have a website, I’m just doing my own thing! My friend Lisa told me about it; she did it last year and I thought it would ba a good discipline to get 2020 underway. See my entries HERE.

My church asked me to turn some black and white sketches I have done into color, and while I can’t share the videos with you, I’ve been posting the art for each day right HERE.

My snow workshop

Yesterday, my two day workshop at Daniel Smith got started, and I have to say, I just get a little nervous for these sometimes. I still feel unqualified to teach fine art some days! I choose the workshop subjects based on something I want to learn. And since I wanted to learn to paint snow… I practiced my little heart out to learn techniques that I could teach!

This was the demo painting yesterday, and most of the students tried this one after the demonstration. (A few were brave enough to try harder photos!) I was so impressed with all of the student work… We did a critique at the end of the day, and though some people get scared about that, it really makes a difference when you step back from your art and hear everyone say “ooooh look!” I’ll post the demo painting today on insta and Facebook—today we’re doing snowy landscapes.

I’m working on dates with the store about classes—they’re mostly booked already for the year, so I may only have 1 more class in 2020. Stay tuned. 👍🏻

Coming soon?

I probably should put an! rather than a? At the end of that headline… But given that we have some snow in the forecast, I want to leave myself a little wiggle room if I need it! This past week I started working on a new class… It’ll be advanced watercolor pencil…birds! (Got any suggestions for a catchy name?) I hope to complete it to launch next weekend. ❤️

One more thing

I posted this little tool the other day on Instagram, and I’ve been getting a lot of questions about it. I don’t know how helpful it is if you’re not making concentric circles, or trying to make a lot of circles, but it looked like a cool thing so I bought one. There seems to be several knock offs over on Amazon, the one I got is right here. (It’s on sale too.)

I hope you enjoy the rest of your weekend!!!

Pantone Classic Blue 2020: Expanding a mixing palette

Pantone Classic Blue 2020: Expanding a mixing palette

When purchasing a new tube of watercolor paint, I’ve fallen prey to making a quick swoosh of it, maybe painting a time or two with it—then it just sits in a storage palette. Doing nothing. I lean on my primary palette, and the new colors just haven’t had a chance to really woo me! This year that’s going to change.

I own So. Many. Colors. And it’s time to use them! I’ll be playing with new colors regularly, and will be making an effort to find what the color’s “BFF” is….I’ve had people ask how I found out about certain colors just loving each other, and those were stumbled on, or heard about. I want to be intentional in the search! More on lots of that as the year goes on.

Today: Prussian Blue. It’s Pantone’s color of the year, so why not begin there, since I’ve already talked about it a bit, earlier this week! Let’s get this show on the road!

View on YouTube.

In the past I’ve tested my colors with the 6 Essentials set – a cool and warm Red Yellow and Blue. And sometimes with the colors in my main palette. But today’s video will go past this pretty X and give me lots more to try.

But now that I organized all my crazy palettes…..(PS DO NOT GET THIS MANY COLORS! Honestly. It’s so much I can barely function, lol!) But at least now I’m organized, and can use these to do some interesting tests. Before if I had tried testing a bunch of yellows, I’d have had to get out four palettes to have them all together. Now? Much better!

Tips for swatching a lot of colors at once:

  • Create a large area with lots of pigment and water – not soupy, but good and wet.
  • Try out colors around the large pool of color, and rinse the brush between each color added.
  • Record yourself on your phone – either dictation or audio – so you can write notes down about what colors were used and what you may have noticed.

What should I call this?

These look like giant beetles. Bugs. Centipedes? I feel like I should name this so when I do them in the future I can find ’em again, so leave me a comment with your suggestion!


Two in one day!! I have a companion post to this one over on Ellen’s blog

And you can also pop over to the MFT blog for one last bit of snow!


Color Rich Purple Peonies

Color Rich Purple Peonies

There’s lots going on in this short video – coloring rich flowers in erfume Bouquet, with Copic marker colors I rarely use; combining two very different stamp sets (Mini Love Cards for tags); and making a 5×7 card, rare for me!

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.

View on YouTube.


I had accidentally grabbed and cut down a sheet of 110lb cardstock – I generally prefer 80lb as it blends better, but went forward with it anyway. It really does make a nice crisp card front!

When coloring Perfume Bouquet, I recommend coloring each full flower together; you could approach it petal by petal, but that’s ok being a little mushy compared to defining the place where the two big flowers do meet with some extra of the darkest color. Follow the shading lines in the stamps on this one, they’re really accurate.

I pulled out purpley-pink markers I normally don’t use – and now I’m wondering why! With these, you do have to be careful since the RV6’s start going desaturated — but a pop of RV66 brightens things up.

When it came to the little tags, I picked the cacti….so sweet! I didn’t leave myself space for a sentiment (whoops!) so added a ‘just for you’ in my own handwriting. The rest of the tags will be for a Valentines project for my Toastmasters club – they’re getting used to me making little treats for holidays!


The Perfume Bouquet stamp is HYOOOOGE. To place it on a regular A2 card it would basically be touching the top and bottom of a full card front; I nearly decided to cut it in half and get two cards out of it, like I did with THIS card….but chose instead to make a BIG card for once, 5×7. The colored panel is cut down by 3/4″ vertically and horizontally so I have a nice wide border on a clean white card base.

I plan to make something for my Toastmasters club – might need to be careful with some of the sentiments (ha!) but the images in this Mini Love Cards set are adorable, aren’t they? They’d be great for school valentines!


Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

Pantone Color of the Year: Palette Explorations / Colorways

Pantone Color of the Year: Palette Explorations / Colorways

It’s that time of the year: when Pantone releases their Color of the Year and Palette Explorations (colorways we can be inspired by!) I’ll be doing a series on the color, I’m not sure how long it’ll run but I have a lot to say. Ha!

The color for this year is Classic Blue…Instilling calm, confidence, and connection, this enduring blue hue highlights our desire for a dependable and stable foundation on which to build as we cross the threshold into a new era

Supplies for this project are linked at the end of this post. Compensated affiliate links may be used at no cost to you.


View on YouTube.


Colorways are groups of colors used on an art piece, or in decorating. Think about a living room with walls of one color, a sofa of another, and accent throw pillows in another. Play around with the percentage of a space or art piece that a color takes up, you can change up how that color combination looks in infinite ways!

  • You don’t need to use ALL colors in any suggested grouping. Often just focusing on 3 or 4 is more than enough; they usually provide many more than you need.
  • Choose a main color that will dominate your art. Then a secondary and an accent. You might have two accents, but that’s about all I’d recommend! It’s easy to go overboard.
  • Accent colors POP. They can often be complements to the main color – opposites on the color wheel.


Watercolor Pencil, left, and watercolor, right. (Just love the FIRE on that one!)

Polychromos pencils on the left, Copic markers on the right. (Video for that is linked at the end of this post.)


Coloring full charts is not really recommended; these are for IDEAS of colors to try together, not for detailed color comparisons. But for those who insist (lol I know you’re out there), here’s a blank chart to fill in yourself. You can use my colors for reference below – or go invent your own colorways to try!

Each of my pages is below, or you can download a pdf to print them all.

Note that I’m not putting these in the shop since they’re a once-a-year thing; it’ll just be on the blog.


Go see the other half of this video opening series on the Ellen Hutson Youtube Channel HERE. There’ll be a chart over on her blog for the chart lovers out there!


Which of the colorways do you want me to play with? What will YOU play with? Let me know in the comments!


Compensated affiliate links may be used  – that means if you make a purchase using my links, I receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you for your support of my work on this blog!  Read more.

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Watercolor Snow Workshop at Daniel Smith, SeattleJanuary 10, 2020

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