When You Are Struggling With Art

Hi friends!  I wanted to post a couple of comments I have shared with the Life Book group when folks have felt down about their art – either unhappy with the results, or just feeling intimidated when seeing other artists whose work they admire.  It is important to remember that everyone goes through moments of being unimpressed with what we create.  Please remember that the main thing that is done by the artists we love is they KEEP PUSHING FORWARD.  They didn’t allow themselves to be defeated or discouraged when what they see on their page doesn’t match what is in their head.  Don’t give up.  Every time we create, we learn, and we move closer to where we want to be.

Posted to Life Book Facebook Group January 15, 2016:

Art Comparison

Hi all – I’ve been seeing some frustration from folks that are unhappy with how their art journey is going, and I wanted to share this. Bear in mind I am still a newbie myself, so I may not be qualified to give the best art advice, but I was JUST on that side of frustration and I feel like I’m pushing through to the light on the other side and I wanted to maybe help pull others through too!

I started watching Tam’s videos a couple months ago. I was never interested in drawing people, but Tam is very inspiring! After watching a bunch of youtube vids, I drew the one on the right and started painting it. I started off pleased I could draw a face at all, but overall I was very unhappy and frustrated that I couldn’t do it well. I had no concept or idea, I just started painting, and I didn’t do it while following Tam’s steps in real time.

On the left is my Happy Traveler from last week- this is only my 4th or 5th face and only about 2 months after I started, and while it’s still no masterpiece, what a difference from the first!

So my message here is: please, don’t give up. Don’t think that you’re “never going to be able to do it.” Don’t think you’re not good enough. And definitely DON’T BE AFRAID TO START AT ALL! <3 As has been said before – you wouldn’t expect to pick up a guitar and start playing well, or start on a new language and be fluent immediately! 🙂 Practice. If you are having trouble and are new to art, supplement Life Book with other learning: Read art books (the library has lots!) and soak in youtube videos about painting, drawing, color theory, and how to use your materials.

And something I learned: Pay attention to the lesson’s steps, do it along with the lesson in real time (pause when needed)- and pay attention to the details, and take it slow! In the beginning, I watched some vids, then sat down like “Ok I got this” and just started flailing around the pencil and paints and expected to recreate the teacher’s work. That didn’t work. smile emoticon In the beginning, do it step by step with the instructor. Pay attention to the shapes and proportions, and don’t skimp on those lovely little details that can make all the difference (highlights, doodles, etc) Don’t give up on those “middle stages” – these things can look unpretty before the details come in!

But, if you are trying and its just NOT working out on a piece, know that its OKAY if you just need to start on a fresh piece of paper, too! Treasure all of your art making – even the frustrating ones, because they can be the best lessons. You now know you enjoy doing x but noy y, or that one material doesn’t play well with that one. You didn’t know that before..but now you do! How cool is that?

While working on a piece, do what you can, and keep it fun – don’t stress out if it’s not exactly how you imagined. You know the great thing? There is always a “next time,” so don’t be afraid! The world won’t end if that one piece isn’t perfect! Every single “next time” you will go in better “armed”, with more knowledge about drawing, composition, painting, how your materials work, and you will INEVITABLY improve! If you keep at it, its impossible to NOT improve. The length of this journey can vary by person, but we are ALL moving forward. The only thing you need to do is show up and start.

Enjoy the feeling of learning, let that wash over you, revel in how you are spending time on something that you love, that you are learning a new skill that will bring you joy, and know that every brush and pencil stroke brings you one step further along on your journey. Remember: RELAX! (my word of 2016!) It’s okay to be where you are. Be proud of where you are! Art is a fascinating thing… You just created something out of nothing… That is AMAZING regardless of where we are on our path. Smile at that! Just keep playing, keep creating, and that flow will take you forward.


Posted to Life Book Facebook Group – Comment To Another Artist – April 18, 2016

As Roxanne says above, challenge is a good thing, and it is okay if you don’t feel you’ve shined in your first attempt at a challenge. That happens to everyone! It is important to push past what we are comfortable with. It is the only way we can grow in anything we set out to do.

That being said, I also think it is OKAY if you don’t find yourself enjoying every single type of art or process! Trying something new and discovering that it may not be for us also carries us further on our path towards where we actually want to be. Give new things a full chance and a try and push, several times to completion, and if you still feel like it is just not for you – move on to another form of creation that makes you happy. You can always revisit the style and technique at a later time if you desire.  🙂 Remember that you CAN do it! It may take some practice to get where you want to be, but we all CAN do it. If you don’t “prefer” to do it, though, that is okay too! 🙂

I want to say that I really like where the page is going. It has a dark and moody feel at the moment (which may actually reflect what you’ve been feeling, and it is cool that you are able to capture your mood!) I think it has great potential…and even if you are not thrilled, if you’d like you can continue to work on it from that perspective. I didn’t watch the full lesson yet, but im guessing a darker tone doesn’t quite fit the theme of the lesson, but I’ve found that most Life Book lessons just ignite a spark and then I let them take me wherever they need to take me, not worrying about sticking to the lesson strictly. And exploring the darker side of our emotions can produce some powerful art. So don’t give up – and don’t worry about “wasting paper” or materials – they are there to be used, they want to be used, and they will always make more. Every time you use them, you learn, so keep going!


I am in the middle of some art pieces which I am not thrilled with myself (hence this “inspirational” post instead of an artwork posting!) but I will forge on ahead!   And probably sign up for a few more classes.  Donna Downey has been having some workshop specials, you know…

Video: Watercolor & Acrylic Painting – Purple Winged Girl (With Modeling Paste)

Watercolor Acrylic Mixed Media Painting - Purple Girl

Greetings friends!  Today I have a new mixed media art process video as promised.  A new girl has come to life with the help of oodles of different paints, pencils and markers.  She proved to be a lesson in perseverance and patience (I supposed most art is, at least when you are still new!)   Some techniques worked as expected, and others, like the butterfly in her hair, did not even after several attempts.  I learned that this just forces you to look at the art and your problem from a different angle, opening your eyes to new ideas.

Of course, there is always the old fallback:  if you don’t like it or it is not working… cover it up! 🙂  Don’t be afraid to push a little out of your comfort zone to try new materials, techniques, colors, or subject matter.   The process will teach you lessons you can take to your next piece of art, and the only way to get there is to keep experimenting!

Process Video:

More Details:

This was my first play with Spectrum AquaBlend watercolor pencils!  I don’t have much luck with fully dissolving watercolor pencil lines, so I took a wet brush to the tips of several skin tones to shade in her face.  As usual, Kuretake Zig Clean Color Real Brush Pens (what a mouthful!) were used for her hair and eyes, and Prismacolor colored pencils and Posca pens filled in details.

Watercolor Acrylic Mixed Media Painting - Purple Girl

Modeling/texture paste by Liquitex added some interest to the background with the help of a stencil.  Daniel Smith watercolors and Golden fluid acrylics were painted in vibrant purples and blues.  Doodles are a fun way to add more detail to backgrounds.

Watercolor Acrylic Mixed Media Painting - Purple Girl

I tried repeatedly to paint the butterfly in her hair, but, ack!  No luck!  So I dug into my papercrafting stash and found some die-cuts of flowers and butterflies.  These saved the day!  I added more paint and markers to make them my own, and the piece was complete.  Yay!

Watercolor Acrylic Mixed Media Painting - Purple Girl

Supplies used:

Watercolor Acrylic Mixed Media Painting - Purple Girl

Whew!  I told you everything went into this art piece! 🙂   I hope this post and video have inspired you.  Special thank you to Tamara Laporte at willowing.org for her teachings and inspiration.  Please remember to subscribe here and over at my YouTube channel to check out future art and process videos.

Thank you everyone!  I’ll catch you soon!

Disclaimer: Affiliate links used when possible. Thank you for your support!

Quick Watercolor Flowers

Quick Watercolor Floral Paintings

Hi friends!  It’s FRIDAY!  Yippeee!  I hope you had a great week and are pumped up for an exciting and crafty weekend!

Work on organizing the studio continues and I am polishing up a new girl portrait and process video, but not quite done with either yet – so I will post up the finished painting from a quick Life Book 2016 lesson from a few weeks ago, taught by artist Martha Lever.

Quick Watercolor Floral Paintings

These are small 2-3 inch potted flowers in loose watercolor on a 5 x 7 cold press watercolor card.  I used Daniel Smith watercolors – some standard colors mixed with their Primatek line, which are gorgeous mineral colors- many with a strong granulation that (more…)

Watercolor & Colored Pencil Quirky Bird

Quirky Bird Kuretake Zig Mixed Media

Hello hello everyone and happy mid-week to you!  I wanted to share a smaller 5 x7 solo mixed media birdie I did in Kuretake Zig watercolor pens and Prismacolor colored pencils… this is an extension of the Life Book 2016 “Quirky Bird” lesson from a couple of weeks ago.  This little pink gal is a self-portrait of sorts (I am a little kooky…) and was made as a gift for someone special that has been super awesomely supportive of my new art adventure.  The theme recently has been gratitude and appreciation, so making an art gift was a fun way to express those feelings! 🙂

Quirky Bird Kuretake Zig Mixed Media

This artwork started off as a quick sketch and was filled in with the Kuretake Real Brush pens and activated with water for a watercolor effect.  Colored pencils added some shading, and Posca paint pends completed the details.  The Kuretake markers come in such bright, cheerful colors, don’t they?

Quirky Bird Kuretake Zig Mixed Media

Supplies used:

Quirky Bird Kuretake Zig Mixed Media

I hope this has inspired you!  It is a simple drawing, but oh so enjoyable and quick to make.  You don’t have to worry about things like symmetry, or realism… just go nuts and have fun!

Thank you for visiting – I’ll catch you Friday! 🙂

DISCLAIMER: Affiliate links used where possible. Thank you for your support!

Quirky Bird Mixed Media Watercolor Painting

Watercolor Quirky Birds Mixed Media Art

Happy Friday lovely people!  I have more mixed media art for you, of course!  Are you ready for the weekend?  These birdies certainly look like they are set to have some fun! 🙂

It’s been a long week with work craziness, physical hurts and a series of events that led to a cracked Macbook that was worthy of a scene in “Final Destination.”  Eeep!  Still, this is a year of slowing down, calming (word of the year: relax!) and being grateful, so let’s stay on that path and take this moment to celebrate all of the big and little things that bring us joy.

Watercolor Quirky Birds Mixed Media Art

These quirky birds were one of Tamara Laporte’s Life Book 2016 art lessons.  How cute!   A fun course in honoring what and whom we are grateful for and embodying those characteristics in the birds.  I don’t even think people that know me well can decipher this one, but these cuties are a mix of family, friends, our zoo of pets, and myself.  🙂  I am blessed with people in my life that are loving, supportive, and all-around fun to know, and the process of this painting allowed me time to focus on appreciating having them in my world.

Watercolor Quirky Birds Mixed Media Art

Truly a mixed media painting, this is chock full of everything!  Sketched out onto 11 x 14 hot press watercolor paper, and then colored in with a mix of watercolors, Neocolor II crayons, and colored pencils.  Posca paint pens added details and highlights.  I’m pretty sure I threw some gesso and pastels in there, too…

Watercolor Quirky Birds Mixed Media Art

Supplies used for this piece:

Watercolor Quirky Birds Mixed Media Art

Stay tuned, another fun and quirky bird will be popping up here soon!   Have a wonderful and creative weekend, and let’s remember to take a moment to be thankful for that which is good in our lives.  🙂

DISCLAIMER: Affiliate links are used where possible. Thank you for your support!