Discovering Who They Are And Letting Them Be

Sometimes you start out painting with expectations, but a paint puddle or brush over a bump can cause transitions.

I choose to love the process, enjoy surprise discoveries, and keep painting.

Based on this photo by David Hofmann at

A Season of Healing

My father is still in the hospital. His recovery from heart surgery has been slow, although I still expect him to return the strongest of us all. Is that just the daughter in me, expecting all strength from her father?

Meanwhile, I have had a round with the doctors and nurses, with a hospital stay. It remains unseen whether that’s the end of that.

Art has been a comfort at times, elusive at others.

I will continue posting sporadically as the situation allows.

Paint lessons from The Organic Artist

I wandered brookside on inspiration from Nick Neddo in The Organic Artist. He has written a version of this book for kids and their guardians, and another book for adult artists interested in making art from natural materials.

Heads up for my Art History students — collect soft pigmented stones in your egg carton this summer. 🎨 🔨 Extra credit to Nick’s neice, who mentioned Uncle Nick’s book in class last year. 🌟 ❤

Three Cheetahs

References from Kathy Barbro at and from Heinrick Hansen at

Today in Artclub we used the natural blurring of dots on damp paper to make interesting color blends in the fur on the cheetah.

My star student, Patty, shares her painting too.

The cheetah is her favorite animal.

You might also like this picture poem by Christine Chandy from

Do We Dare Ask for More?

Usually I post a painting or sketch, but today I send out a prayer request.

Last night my dad’s 13 year old dog woke me up at a quarter to two, retching. My poor ‘baby sister’ is having a hard time with my dad being gone for the first time in her doggy life. She’s better today, but obviously looking everywhere for him.

Dad is away at a VA hospital because they are not sure what is suddenly wrong with him, but it is not coronavirus – as they first suspected, or his heart – their second possibility. He is not in ICU, and he is at death’s door, but something has definitely gone amiss.

Many times my dad has survived near-death conditions, giving us miraculous stories of God’s amazing deliverance. He’s been rescued from war, cancer, alcoholism, heart attack, stroke, and more. All with God’s signature flair. God even restored Dad from a car accident that left him paralized from the chest down. The doctors told him he’d never walk again if he lived, but the doctors had been wrong on both counts 55 years ago.

Praise the name of Jesus! Like the song says, “God has done miracles for me, the greatest was making me whole.”

Do we dare ask for the speedy recovery of my 82 year old dad?

For the sake of his little dog named Bedbug, and all of us, we boldly dare approach, and I hope you please pray too.

A baby Maple Tree

I saw this tiny sapling on my morning walk.

I enjoyed the small painting exercise, although the leaf litter seemed next to impossible. I may try again and pay more attention to color-matching and the cast shadows across the leaves from the grass… But I am actually very happy with it.

I kind of love this tiny baby tree.

Practicing Elements of Art

The leaves were pretty today. I presseed a leaf 2D flat in my sketchbook. I practiced painting the leaf, step-by-step.

Line – I had never noticed short thin lines at the points of oak leaves before I traced this leaf. Do they fall off in the summer?

Shape – The outline shows the leaf’s organic shape.

Color – I painted the shape a similar green color, and drew some brown veins.

Value – The second layer of paint changed some areas to a darker value, leaving the original lighter value on the rest.

Form – Using gradients of values, adding darker green on som edges, the leaf painting seems to gain some of its curled 3D form.

Space – Adding a shadow below the leaf suggests space I saw under the actual leaf where it curled up.

Texture – The faint drawings of smaller veins covering the leaf remind us of the slight texture we feel on leaves.

Study of the elements of art helps artists notice details, which might be copied to add realism to an artwork.

Some artists choose to share their impressions by emphasizing certain elements, and others abstract the object into an unrecognizable composition or imaginatively use elements to represent non-objective concepts.

This was a decent practice study. I learned a lot about the leaf, my new paper, the brushes, and the paint.

Next time a picture is missing something, I might look carefully at each of these elements. However, straying from direct observation is not wrong. I think the colors of the leaves were more vibrant with the sunlight on them and through them, so I chose colors inspired by my original ideas on the nature walk this morning. Each project can be meaningful to the artist in ways that might seem wrong to someone with different art goals (aesthetics).

I hope awareness of the elements inspires you to make art that is meaningful to you.

This is where I found the leaf.

At the Edge of the Forest

I am always telling student artists that it isn’t what you paint that makes you an artist, it’s what you see, hear, smell, and remember. I sometimes share little bits of those memories with you, but I hope to encourage artistic souls to fill themselves up with this beautiful life, and let art catch the beauty overflowing. It is often too complex to take it all in, but the process is worth doing.

Have a great summer day!

Reaching Upward

I have been thinking about an image to express a touching story by my friend Crystal C.

Watercolor painting by Lucy J Hanson of a hand reaching up toward the light based on a story Crystal C shared about her young child explaining a funeral to his preschool age sister.

During today’s hour-long session we studied this hand from photographer Elia Pellegrini at

Summer Breeze

Unity, Maine near Mammie’s Country Kitchen in Unity, Maine.

This is my ‘exercise’ after a great birthday breakfast for my dad (82 this weekend) and his friend (82 the day before).

Life is good. Head outside and enjoy it.

Brown Eyes

As a fun end of year lesson, my art class did marker portraits blended with water, but it was mostly an eye study.

At under Projects>People>Goals there is a lesson for a simple face from behind a sheet of paper. I adapted thier idea so our kids could draw simple faces with masks. Another portrait step-by-step is with sunglasses (to practice other parts of the face).

Blending the marker drawings with a damp brush is a good transition for students who have learned to draw, but are a bit intimidated by painting. The brush only needs to be as moist as a magic marker.

Our principal sent teachers document cameras at school. I made a practice video* for this lesson. We can learn together. Thank you, Mr. Wallace and Mrs. Long!

Faces-Simple to Shaded= blending watercolor markers for shading.

*I teach art part-time for a public school grades 7-12. I use the rest of my time teaching adults, illustrating storybooks, socializing and thanking God for Dave Ramsey’s lessons for Financial Peace in my life.

If you try one of these portrait methods, let me know how it came out — and if you had fun.

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