Painting – WetCanvas November Painting Challenges

It’s been awhile since I’ve included a painting challenge in a blog post. These two challenges are posted on the WetCanvas Website. If you love art of any type, take a look at the many forums on this site.


The first challenge I might attempt is in the Watercolor Studio. The reference photograph, posted by Yorky, is of Baddesly Clinton Manor, in Warwickshire, UK. This challenge is limited to the medium of watercolor. If you have a set of watercolors gathering dust, break them out and attempt this challenge. Follow along, or comment in the forum. The Wetcanvas website is free. Register to post art or comment in the threads. When you finish your painting, post it in the forum for others to see. There is not a set date for posting or a deadline for this challenge.

Lily by Stalksthedawn
Lily by Stalksthedawn

The second challenge is offered through the Floral/Botanicals forum on Wetcanvas. This month’s WetCanvas Plant Parade/November 2015 Challenge is the beautiful Lily. There are many reference photographs included, or you can use a reference of your own. All art mediums are permitted. This challenge has a posting/reveal date of November 25th.

Hopefully, I will get my brushes busy and be able to show a step-by-step example of how I attempt these challenges.

Phascination & Painting – Praying Mantis Pods


My husband and I spent the good part of an hour this past winter in search of a praying mantis pod. Praying Mantis are a terrific predatory bug for keeping garden pests in check. Unfortunately, they cannot discriminate between a bad bug/good bug, and will eat caterpillars, butterflies and ladybugs too. There have even been instances, captured on video, of praying mantis devouring toads, frogs, small snakes, juvenile rodents and other small creatures.

We never found a pod this year, and I thought…’Well, maybe it is meant to be…the butterflies will be safer this year.’ Imagine my surprise to find a pod, as in the past, quite close, hidden in my holly bush.


I have mixed feelings about the praying mantis. I want a mantis in my vegetable garden to keep cabbage moths and other destructive bugs at bay, but I don’t want to lose any beneficial or beautiful creatures to their powerful forelegs and mandibles. Praying mantis in the garden are definitely a mixed blessing.

This month’s Floral Plant Parade Challenge at WetCanvas is a combination work of art with the subject matter of any flower with a butterfly included. Plant Parade Challenge – May 2015

Welcome to the Plant Parade for May, 2015, or a ‘Symphony of Colors’!!

With Spring showing off the different flowers, a remarkable sight begins grabbing our attention!! We notice that the flowers are not the only attraction, but small insects that have brilliant and colorful wings start ‘strutting’ their stuff!! They put on a grand show of flitting and swirling around the flowers and amaze us with their beauty!! How can there be so many unique shapes of the Butterflies? But, watch, when they land on a flower, we have stereo colors. . .both are competing for our attention! But, wait, competing or becoming one? A flower alone is sometimes breathtaking, but with a Butterfly so brilliant with its own remarkable markings, wow, what a kaleidoscope of colors!!

This month we are going to paint brilliant flowers with equally brilliant Butterflies attached to them. We will call it a “Symphony of Colors”!!

Floral Plant Parade reference photograph courtesy of WetCanvas Library and DominicM

Plant & Painting – Dahlias/Update & WetCanvas April Plant Parade


My Dahlia Experiment is succeeding at an astonishing rate. One of the tubers has grown into an eighteen inch plant with many of the others following close behind.


All six tubers have sprouted. It’s time to repot one more time into individual containers. I will grow the dahlias on in these containers until there is no danger of frost. At that point I will transfer them into my garden beds.


As I stated in an earlier post, my reason for starting the tubers indoors is the dahlia in the photograph below. I purchased this plant from a nursery several years ago. I’ve never had a better blooming dahlia, and I’m hoping for the same success with the tubers I started early.


The WetCanvas plant parade flower for April is the Dahlia. Here is a link to the thread and the information.

WetCanvas Plant Parade – April 2015/Dahlias



“Please don’t post your paintings until 25th April, which is “reveal day”. It’s much more fun if we all post our paintings on more or less the same day. So when the 25th rolls around wherever you are…post your painting/drawing of Dahlias then.

You can draw, paint, sketch etc, use any medium you wish and change the photos as much as you like. You can zoom in add 2 photos together etc but make sure your flower is this months’ subject THE DAHLIA

You can ask any questions, discuss anything to do with this Plant Parade and generally enjoy talking to other members about it BUT please don’t post your artwork until 25th April.”

Here are two of the reference dahlias for the April Plant Parade courtesy of Vivian Maloney.

Dahlia - Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney
Dahlia – Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney
Dahlia - Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney
Dahlia – Courtesy of WetCanvas and Vivian Maloney

Painting – Floral Parade Challenge – Magnolias

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas Library and Duhvinci
Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas Library and Duhvinci

The WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge for March 2015 is the Magnolia.

Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas and Macdragon
Photo Courtesy of WetCanvas and Macdragon

These are a few of the reference photographs available for the challenge. You are also free to use one of your own. Any media can be used for the challenge. Please visit WetCanvas and the Floral and Botanical forum for the rules and more information. WetCanvas Plant Parade March 2015

Photo courtesy of WetCanvas and Lady Carol
Photo courtesy of WetCanvas and Lady Carol

Painting – Aquabord and November Plant Parade


I recently took part in the WetCanvas Plant Parade for November. The category was rainbows and I chose the rosebud reference photograph to watercolor.

large rosebud

I used a piece of 5×7 Aquabord for this painting.  I love Aquabord’s sturdy, non-warping background. I also am impressed by Aquabord’s easy release of watercolor. I “lift” paint quite a bit when I watercolor, and the Aquabord lets the paint loosen and lift like a dream. Unfortunately, this same asset can quickly become a nightmare. I never use Aquabord without a struggle to get my washes smooth. Often when I lift the paint, more is removed than necessary.

I enjoyed creating the background for this watercolor. The Aquabord stayed very wet and allowed the watercolors to blend beautifully. The same wet into wet blending also caused a bit of a problem…the paint ran over the outer edges of the rosebud.


No worries about losing edges when painting with Aquabord. A stiff brush, a little water, and I wiped and dabbed the watercolor off the rosebuds petals and stem.


One day, I hope to use Aquabord for a large watercolor, but right now I’m content to learn on smaller versions of this interesting watercolor board.


The best news of all about Aquabord is that it does not need to framed under glass. A light spray of clear matte acrylic and your painting can be hung without the glare of glass to distort its shape and colors.

Painting – November Challenges at WetCanvas


I love November’s Challenges at WetCanvas. The November Plant Parade is hosted by Bluemoonstar who says:

“November… here in the Northern Hemisphere, we are finishing up with a lovely fall and both leaves & flowers will soon fade into memories until Spring returns. I was thinking that it would be lovely to see a whole rainbow of color this month . I looked back thru my garden photos and the reference library to find a perfect rainbow of blooms.

The challenge this month is to include a touch of rainbow into your artwork. Use your imagination for its placement- could be in a petal, could be in the background, or somewhere else!

Feel free to substitue one of your own, as long as it fits into the category of “Rainbow hues”. (Hard to miss that target when it comes to flowers, lol).

Remember “Roy G. Biv “? Here we go!

I hope you join our trip over the rainbow this month in search of the rainbow hues that surround us.”

The Chinese Gardens at Montreal Botanic Gardens


The Watercolor Studio November Challenge is of the Chinese Garden in the Montreal Botanic Gardens. Yorky says,

“This month’s challenge give scope for painting reflections and shadows. This is the Chinese garden in the Montreal Botanic garden taken on our tour of Ontario after the Meet this year. I suggest you darken some of the conifers for variation.”

Your artwork in this challenge must be done in watercolors and can be posted to the forum at any time.

Painting & Phavorites – October Wet Canvas Plant Parade Challenge & Color Palette Generators

big huge lab

The Summer of 2014 was not very hot, but that fact was an advantage for my wildflower garden; the closely packed flowers thrived without the wilting heat. I spied a sweet bumblebee visiting a bachelor button and managed to snap a photograph at just the right moment. I have chosen this as my reference photo for this month’s WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge.

WetCanvas is free for anyone to join – Welcome New Visitors Page
WetCanvas Create New Account Page

Joanne N is the host for the WetCanvas Plant Parade October.

The October 2014 Plant Parade

“Welcome to October!

Fall is just beginning in the Northern Hemisphere, while Spring has just arrived in the Southern Hemisphere.

But I’m not ready to let Summer or my garden go quite yet (even though we had a huge dump of snow in early September). So if you’ll bear with me, I’d like to share some photos from my garden with you to use as reference photos this month. Feel free to paint your own garden reference if you wish.
Use any media you like, we love them all! If you have time, do more than one!

Keep the banter going, share your adventures and misadventures while you’re creating.
All we ask is that you do not post your work until October 25th!.”

Joanne N posted an amazing array of reference photographs to use. I’ve chosen three of my favorites for this post.

PicMonkey Collagejpgwc

After I chose one of my own photographs as my reference for the October Plant Parade I broke down some of the colors in my Paint application.

Bachelor Button Chart

When I create a color chart I have an easy time choosing watercolors to use.

I also enjoy using color lab palette generator sites for viewing the color charts they create. I’ve included three for you to take a look at:
Color Palette FX
Color Palette Generator
Big Huge Labs

Painting – “An Iris with Words” / July’s WetCanvas Plant Parade Challenge

Iris / Plant Parade Challenge July

I am delighted when I find the time to take part in the WetCanvas Challenges. In July I painted an Iris in watercolor in the Plant Parade Challenge. I went outside my comfort zone and added a bit of word collage to the watercolor. The purist within screamed, “NO! The brave soul in me won and shouted, “Onward!”

The painting, 5 x 7, Winsor & Newton watercolors,  is not my best floral, nor is it my worst. It is a watercolor floral I will remember always though…why…because I DID step out of my comfort zone. Hallelujah!

Iris with Words

You can follow the whole thread here:
July WetCanvas Plant Parade July 2014 Thread

The August Plant Parade Challenge/Daisies/Hosted by Just Jean
You  can find the link here:
August Plant Parade Challenge




Painting – July Challenges

I’m posting three art challenges on my blog this month. Two are through WetCanvas, and one is through a site called Paint My Photo. To take part in the challenges you will need to sign up with the sites, but they are free, and it is very easy to begin and take part. Give them a try.

Watercolor Studio Challenge – Clematis


Photo courtesy of WetCanvas/Yorky (Doug)

Here is what Yorky (Doug) says about the challenge for July 2014:

“I am posting a photograph of my Clematis for you to try. You can paint the whole thing or make it a macro where traditionally petals touch three sides of the painting.”

You can find more information on July’s Watercolor Challenge here: Watercolor Studio Challenge/Clematis


Photo courtesy of WetCanvas/Karrie

The Plant Parade Challenge this month will be Iris. The photograph above is one of the reference photos provided. You can use a photograph from the challenge or an Iris photograph of your own.

Viven says: “The Topic for July is;

“The Iris”

The Iris – is only second to the Rose as the world’s most popular flower. Irises are a favourite subject for artists to paint, because of their stately form and beautiful, frilled petals.

There are a few rules……….

Crop, enlarge, distort, play, manipulate a reference in any way you wish. You can paint/draw in any size and any medium. “Reveal Day” is the 25thJuly,so please do not post your painting before that day. It is much more fun, and more interesting, if we all post more or less about the same time.”

The link for this challenge can be found here: July 2014 Plant Parade Challenge

I am including the “Paint My Photo monthly challenge. Take a look at this amazing artist resource and take the time to join in. You can find the information here: Paint My Photo July Challenge

Suzanne says of the challenge:

“This challenge is all about the creatures that live in the seas of the world…whether they are fish, sea-turtles, whales, seahorses, or coral …..anything that is supposed to live, swim, or exist in the watery world below the surface of the ocean.”

I’m not sure if I will be able to take part in all the challenges, but I am certainly going to try my best to do one and all!

Before I sign off here is a photo collage posted to WetCanvas of many of June 2014’s paintings of Peonies. Enjoy!


Painting – WetCanvas Challenges

This months Plant Parade challenge at WetCanvas Florals and Botanicals is the magnificent peony. Oh my! What gorgeous reference photographs Marionh has included with this month’s challenge. I have included two of the photographs here, courtesy of Mariohh and Maltman. There are many more reference photos to choose from and you are also able to use your own. The challenge is open to anyone, but if you wish to include your artwork in the challenge posts you must join WetCanvas. Joining Wetcanvas is free…give it a try. Here is the link to this months challenge: WetCanvas Plant Parade – June 2014



In the WetCanvas Watercolor Studio Yorky (Doug) has chosen Clumber Church, in Clumber Park, Nottinghamshire, England, once part of Sherwood Forest, as June’s Challenge. You can see more posts and Yorky’s watercolor of this church at this link: Watercolor Studio Challenge – June 2014


Painting – Here’s Mud In Your Teeth/Longwood Anemones


About twenty years ago, my then teenaged son purchased a moped. The first time he took it out to ride was after a rainy day. When he walked in the house after the ride he was covered in mud, and when he smiled his teeth were covered in mud splatters too. What joy he must have felt as he rode. I still imagine him in my mind riding through those puddles while the mud flew in an arc of earthly joy all around him. The photograph is a favorite of mine, as is the memory.


I had the best time painting these anemones. Although there are quite a few flaws, the painting is full of life and I think captures a bit of the enthusiasm I felt while I painted it. You see…I love to paint. I have decided it does not need to be perfect, my joy will not be diminished by what others may think, or if I deem it perfect or flawed. What matters to me is the GRAND time I had painting it. I hope I smiled as big as my son as I splashed the paint onto the paper.

I wonder if that is why historians think Vincent Van Gogh ingested his paint. I have read more than once that many attribute some of his health problems, physical and mental, to paint being internalized. Perhaps he did not nibble his paint, but loved painting so much he smiled with joy when he painted, and the paint somehow got into his system. Oil paints at that point in time contained many dangerous chemicals and metals. Since I love Van Gogh’s paintings and his words in the numerous letters he wrote to family and friends, I hope this is the case. His joy in creating overrode his caution. By no means is this in any way a fact, just a theory I like to daydream about.

I wish I could paint like Van Gogh, but I will always be me in everything I do, and a Van Gogh I am not. But I do love to create and I do love to paint. If you are interested here is a short step by step video of the creation of my Longwood Anemones. I wish I could have videoed the wild background as I painted. It is wet into wet and was SO much fun to paint.

Longwood Anemones: 12 x 14, Winsor & Newton Watercolors, Arches Hot Press 140 lb Paper

You can find the thread to the April Plant Parade here: April 2014 Plant Parade

Take a look at the gorgeous paintings the other artists have created.

Painting – WetCanvas April Challenges


I am hoping to take part in two WetCanvas Challenges this month.  Sharron, in the Floral and Botanical Forum has chosen Anemones (Windflowers) as the subject this month. There are several lovely reference photographs to choose from in the forum along with many others in the WetCanvas Reference Library.

Any artist may participate, any medium, any approach…….2D, 3D, mixed and collaged if you wish.

I’m hoping to paint at least one anemone, maybe even two this time. I think it would be fun to try a technique completely new to me that would stretch my creativity a bit.

You can find the thread and several reference photographs here: April 2014 Plant Parade


Yorky (Doug) has chosen a floral border from his own garden as the subject for this month’s Watercolor Studio Challenge.

You can find the thread here: Watercolor Studio April Challenge – Floral Border

I definitely see a cat appearing somewhere in my painting. I am hoping to have the time to take part in both of these challenges. Give either or both a try if the thought of capturing the essence of the photos in artwork wraps your brain in a state of creative euphoria. Happy Creating!

Painting – WetCanvas March 2014 Plant Parade


Primroses are a favorite of mine at this time of the year. When the Wetcanvas Floral and Botanical forum chose primroses as their Plant Parade subject for March, it was an easy decision to dig out an old reference photograph and join in the creating of some floral art.

You can see the many interpretations of primroses here: WetCanvas March 2014 Plant Parade

The Plant Parade allows any type of art medium in the creation of the month’s flower. So all you artists at heart, whether you draw daily or haven’t picked up a sketchbook for decades, break out your pencils, paints, collage fabrics, etc. Whatever your medium, April is a perfect month to create a few flowers.

WetCanvas is a terrific site for every type of art under the sun. Take a few moments and browse their many subject areas.

*I always include an inchworm in my floral paintings…can you find it?

Phlowers & Painting – Primrose Part II

must create yellow primula

Yellow Primula by MustCreate

For those who like to paint/draw/craft all types of Flowerart, check out the WetCanvas March 2014 Plant Parade Challenge: March 2014 The Plant Parade – Primrose/Primula. The reference photograph for the beautiful primrose above, courtesy of the WetCanvas Reference Library and MustCreate, along with many others can be found on the WetCanvas site and used copyright-free for artwork. Happy creating!

Painting – Wetcanvas The Floral/Botanical February 2014 Project


This gorgeous, copyright free, macro photograph, shared by al22 in the WetCanvas Reference Library, is February’s Floral/Botanical challenge. The beauty of this flower is almost indescribable. It’s easier to just say, “Ahhh…” than try to put what you feel into words. Take a look at the link I’m including to this challenge. Better yet, peruse the whole WetCanvas website. This is one of the best sites on the web for artists of all kinds.

WetCanvas The Floral/Botanical February 2014 Project

The floral/botanical challenge will have postings of the artist’s paintings on the 25th of the month.

If still life is more to your liking, take a look at the Watercolor Studio challenge for this month. This photograph is also copyright free and uploaded to the library by JEFrantz.


You can find this challenge here: Watercolor Studio February 2014 Challenge

Bookmark the Wetcanvas Studio challenge, check back over the course of the month and see the different renderings of the artists who take part. Better yet, join WetCanvas and give it a try yourself.

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Painting – Rocks on Tioga Road/WetCanvas Challenge

I finally finished my attempt at the WetCanvas Watercolor Studio Challenge for April. You can find the finished work of all the participants in the challenge at: WetCanvas April Challenge

Rocks on Tioga Road near Tenaya Lake in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, California.

Winsor and Newton Watercolors: Prussian Blue, Burnt Sienna, New Gamboge, Winsor Yellow, Quinacridone Gold & Neutral Tint/Arches Cold Press Watercolor Block 140 lb  Size: 12 x 16

painting 009

Paintings – WetCanvas March Group Challenge


tulips 001

Tulips – 8×8

I love taking part in the WetCanvas Watercolor Studio Group Challenges. Each month a new reference photo is chosen, and then it is so interesting to see everyone’s interpretation. I am sometimes disappointed by my paintings, because…well…they look like mine! Other painters would know exactly what I mean by that. The longer I paint it seems the more firmly ingrained my style.  No matter if I try new techniques…the watercolors shout out who painted them. I guess this can be considered a good thing, but I sure wish I could learn how to be looser and have a less heavy hand.

Check out all the beautiful paintings of the tulips at this link: WetCanvas March Challenge

The challenge does not close at the end of the month…try your hand at the tulips too.

The April challenge is proving harder for me…a landscape with beautiful rock formations in the foreground. You can see the reference photo here: WetCanvas April Challenge
Please pick up your watercolors and brushes and take part. It’s so much fun!

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Painting – Hibiscus/WetCanvas February Challenge

hibiscus wet canvas february 2013

I had a great time taking part in the WetCanvas February Watercolor Challenge. I love watercolor flowers and enjoyed painting my rendition of the reference photograph. Thanks to Yorky for the photograph and the opportunity. Take a look here at the challenge: WetCanvas February Challenge. There is still plenty of time to break out the watercolors and take part. A link to the WetCanvas website is at the top right hand corner of this blog. Happy Painting!

WetCanvas February Challenge – Hibiscus

8 x 10

Winsor and Newton Watercolors

Arches 300 lb Cold Press Paper

Painting – Amish Man and Son

valentines and amish painting 029

In January I took part in the WetCanvas Watercolor Challenge January 2013. I live only an hour and a half away from Lancaster, and have often visited this lovely area. I was really pleased with the way this small painting turned out.

5 x7

Winsor & Newton Paints (Winsor Blue, Quinacridone Magenta, Permanent Rose, Hooker’s Green, Cobalt Blue, Burnt Sienna and Naples Yellow)

Arches 300 lb Cold Press Paper

You can see the work of the other participants here: Wet Canvas January 2013 Watercolor Challenge.

My work was posted on page nine of the thread.

Why not try the February challenge? The WetCanvas Forums are free. Find the link to WetCanvas in the top right hand corner of this page. You can also go directly to the Challenge through this link: Wet Canvas February 2013 Watercolor Challenge. It’s as easy as signing up and beginning to paint.

You can find my step-by-step progress below.

amish man

Original reference photograph posted by Yorky

valentines and amish painting 019

valentines and amish painting 021

valentines and amish painting 023

valentines and amish painting 026

valentines and amish painting 027

valentines and amish painting 028

valentines and amish painting 028

Watercolor Tip: Black out of the tube is usually flat and lifeless. Mix up your own blacks and deep tones by combining contrasting colors.

valentines and amish painting 030

I mixed Hooker’s Green, Quinacridone Magenta, and Winsor Blue, and even a bit of yellow. You can pick out the different hues of colors blending together in the thinner areas of paint, notice the deep tone they create when mixed together.