Painting Challenge >Inhale Fresh Air

painting challenge

The colors are within you!

We think that artists have to be inspired by the world out there. Actually, successful artists know the secret is that the colors are INSIDE them!

So how to know which ones they are?

Sennielier watercolors set of 48
modified by removing black, white, and other dark muddy colors

So the challenge this week is to get outside and breathe!

Breathe in some fresh air. Step away from what you’re doing, even for 5 minutes.

Feel how you feel.

I realize that may sound ridiculous. Just stop one minute and feel. Feel how it feels to be in your skin, just this one minute. However it feels to be you, even if you feel annoyed by my conversation, just hang out there a few.


What color pops to mind?

Get it and splash it all over your paper.

That’s what I did on the beach.

I’d been working on programming all week for this website. I was exhausted. My brain so frazzled, I couldn’t think straight. I could barely stay awake to think about dinner.

I went for a walk to stretch, though there wasn’t much left of me to stretch!

On the way out the door, I grabbed my palette of watercolors and a couple sheets of handmade paper.

handmade watercolor paper with 4 deckle edges, 9″ x 12″

I had a sketchbook of watercolor from Spain some years ago ~ handmade sheets with deckle edges. Everything I painted on it looked fabulous!!!

I searched and searched and finally found loose sheets, 9″ x 12″ with 4 deckle edges. They are heavy weight, approx 250 lb+/-. So I don’t need to stretch them, or carry a watercolor block.

I grabbed two and the paintbox and ran out the door.

I headed for Bethel Beach Sanctuary, a long stretch of beach on the Chesapeake Bay 20 minutes from home. Still too tired to walk all the way down the beach, as I’d hoped I would ~ I settled instead in a sheltered spot atop the dunes.

It was windy and I wanted to get out of the chill. Down low, the sun felt warm and I settled in.

The smell of salt in the air made me feel like a girl again. Some of the aches dissipated.

There wasn’t really much color. I felt disappointed that the marsh was still wintery gray. And the sky, so pale with wisps of white ~ not much to write home about.

But I knew once I picked up the brush I would feel better.

It didn’t matter WHICH color I picked. The FIRST color in the flow was a pale wishy yellow.

I let it wishy washy lightly across the sky. SqueeZed out the brush and picked up the excess water.

The second brush load of color was equally unmemorable. Slightly more pink, I did the same with it.

I was still annoyed at not having the strength to work on the big painting at home. A 3 by 4 foot canvas called ‘Enchanted.’ I was nearly finished, but. I didn’t FEEL enchanted and couldn’t risk letting the painting absorb MY lackluster colors.

I swatted at a few gnats and tried to make the blue bluer. Several times painting over, letting the blues bleed together, I thanked myself for bringing the handmade paper. Its deep textures held the brush strokes and kept them from totally running together.

Sparkles of white paper hung in between the colors, thank you!

Colors along the distant treeline were equally boring. And I was too lazy to stand up and look around for another subject.

I mixed up some deep cool greens with purples. Some radiant purple, and a bit of deep cool purple. Just enough to take the edge off the green and mute it back into the atmosphere. With this, I began stroking in along a low horizon. I could barely see it actually, but I knew it was there.

My horizon felt low too. I felt so discouraged, you heard me I know.

No matter what I paint, it seems the Creator attracts my eye to that which mirrors me. At that moment in time, the mirror in place, grand sky over low horizon.

Shall we call it High Hopes? Perhaps I would call it Prayer for Peace.

High Hopes, Prayer for Peace

I don’t know if you can see them in this photograph? I added a couple birds. May have to drop them back in with a pencil.

Join me in the salon and post your challenge paintings. Ask questions. Make suggestions. See what everyone else is painting. Enter your painting in Oh My, Colors!

Joy's Garden

Joy's Garden

Joy's Garden