Painting with the Least of these…A glimpse of heaven

It was Monet she most reminded me of…the colors…the brush strokes.

I was standing in front of a field of flowers.

Every color and hue came from the 4 colors of paint I placed on her canvas.

It was remarkable!

Every month I have the privilege of painting with some of earth’s most special residents. Once again, they become like children…yet they carry the wisdom and wounds of life.

I think when Jesus talks about children in the Bible…the elderly are also included…

“He put a child in the middle of the room.

Then Cradling the little one in his arms,

he said,

“whoever embraces one of these children as I do embraces me,

and far more than me–God who sent me.””

~Jesus, Mark 9:36-37, The message

Sadly, so many spend these last years of their life alone and isolated. Just waiting…for that someone special to greet them again…the next meal or activity…to be put into bed…to stop feeling pain…or just a passing from this life.

For this brief time, I share my love of creating with them….and my love for them.

With a reference photo, blank canvas, some paint colors and a brush in hand…we begin to playfully add colors and lines and shapes.

Often I wonder what each of them are thinking…and seeing.

I love hearing the explanations of their paintings AFTER they decide what it is. Even a title might come for their painting… “Squirrel Admires Stacked Pumpkin at Dawn”.

This brings so much laughter and joy.

“Only when he no longer knows what he is doing does the painter do good things.”

–Edgar Degas

Others take a little more coaxing. I might mix together some colors for them…or put an outline on their canvas for a starting point.

Some do better with the paint directly on the canvas in puddles…like my sweet “Monet artist”. I quickly learned this when I would see them creating these beautiful masterpieces on the plates of paint rather than the canvas.

For others, I put my hand on theirs to show them how color appears on the stark white canvas in front of them.

And then there are the compliant ones…”just painting”.

Amazing what creations happen when this process starts!

One of my favorite memories was of a brand new resident where I was teaching. She was very convinced that she was NOT going to paint…she had NO interest in painting…and absolutely could NOT paint!

Attempting to keep her interest as I was setting up, finally she had brush in hand. Reluctantly a brush stroke was made…and then the switch happened…instantly! It was as if it was the first time she ever painted. I hope I never forget this moment…she had become truly childlike.

Ever color she added was followed by squeals and exclamations of “I didn’t know I could do that!” “I didn’t know I could make that color!” “No one ever told me that!” “I didn’t learn that when I was in school”.

The pure joy and childlike excitement was like

getting a glimpse into heaven itself!

So often in the busyness of our lives we can put off the simple things we have been called into this world to do. We are living in a world of constant news and noise coming through the palms of our hands. Our hands are losing their effectiveness and strength…purpose, if I might be so bold. Just think of the things we are trading when we allow a barrage of media incessantly consume us.

Join me in being intentional in laying our phones down. Visiting that loved one…or if possible, the lonely elderly person you haven’t met yet.

Include them in some painting…you never know how much this might bless them and you!

Listen to their stories…their songs…even if they are in Italian…those are the best! Let them talk to you about the loved one that they are waiting on to pick them up for dinner…even though you know they aren’t.

Hug them…touch their hand…pray for their healing…tell them Jesus loves them…and one day soon they will get to see him and do all the things they once loved to do again.

These are the ones Jesus tells us that when we receive, love, serve…

we are receiving Him!


Space, Time and Art Supplies

3 reasons you may not be painting…and how you can change that by keeping it simple

I get it! I let all 3 of these reasons keep me from painting for YEARS!

Being a mom of 8 kids has kept me running a plate spinning circus act for a long time…

You know the saying…

not my circus…not my monkeys…well it is my circus AND my monkeys

..so having time for myself was something I dreamed of!

There was a season in my life when for Mother’s Day, I just wanted to have a little break…and I chose to paint…alone. It was so needed for my heart…and it brought so much healing…but that’s another story.

It’s wasn’t until I actually started my painting/art business back in 2011 that I carved out time to paint on a consistent basis. Since then, all but one of our kids are are grown and no longer living at home.

reason number one…I don’t have the space

With so many kids around at any given time…and living in a rather small house, space was a BIG issue for me! I love quiet when I paint…with my kinda music, anyway.

So I get it, it can be so hard…but you’ll be more likely to show up if you know where to show up at.

Find a corner, a room, a table…something to call your own.

I asked some of my members in my heART Club…who paint regularly, to share pictures of their space. You can see that none of their areas are particularly large…but definitely set up to encourage creativity and consistency.

So find some space…a desk, a table, a corner. Get a basket, a tote, a cart, or even a box to keep your supplies in.

REASON NUMBER TWO…I don’t have time

Grab your calendar…pick a date and time…and write your name in there….bring your favorite beverage…put on some music…even if you have to get headphones…and simply show up.

Make a date with yourself

Do you know how many dates I have not shown up for?? Workout dates…painting dates…walks…rests…reading…writing…gardening…cooking…__________…you can fill in the blank, I’m sure!

Clear the Table

Pull your hair back

pour a glass of wine

listen to the music

and start painting

And then that brings us to

reason number three….

I have no idea what to buy…how much to buy…will I need that, oh how about this brush…and probably that one…and OH…I love that color…but I probably need that one and that one and that one….STOP!

You do not need all that stuff! Stop buying things you may never use.

You do not need all this

I can show you how 5 colors, 2 brushes

and a canvas can open a whole world of heART creativity

This is all you need!

If you have ever been to my studio and painted before or taken a look at all the paintings on my facebook page…all of them were painted with these 5 colors and 2 brushes.

So now all you need to do is go paint!

NEXT UP: To Blend or Not to Blend…But How?

Come back next week for some simple painting tip tutorials. We will play around with sunsets and sunrises.

Wondering where to get my brushes, paints and painting surfaces?

You can go here to shop for all my favorites!

I am an affiliate for Blick Art Supplies…and if you purchase through the link above…I will get a little bit of money to shop for more art supplies….but it does not cost you anything extra. And we both know art supplies make us happy!


It’s In the Name

It’s a tad daunting to be actually making a commitment to consistently write. But I love writing and hopefully you will enjoy reading it. 

Here is a piece of my story. Let’s start with the name…a name is important to me…what it means…how it sounds…and it’s uniqueness. I have always attempted to name my 7 children with this in mind. Although a few of them at the time I thought were unique…it wasn’t long before it seemed EVERYONE used that name. Ariana, Jordan , Jesse, Joanna, Isaac, Asher and Kaeden. I am sure you are quite familiar with a few of those.

With much thought I chose Pieces of My Art. I had hoped no one had thought of it yet, but I was not the first. Oh well…I would make it known above all others! As a creative…my head…my heart is full of ideas…thoughts…plans…desires…PIECES…that’s what it was…many pieces, like a puzzle. They would all fit together. Not knowing how…or when…I just knew God had a plan, even if I didn’t understand it. And then…MY ART…of course it sounds like my heart…so appropriately this was the name.  Art fills my heart. 

In August of 2011, Pieces of My Art became mine, a gift from my Heavenly Father. I have held his hand as he filled my heart with confidence and ideas.

This dream actually begin back in 2006 when I was recently divorced and had no career path…nor college. I was a wife, mom and worked with my ex-husband at his printing company. Now scrambling to support my 6 children and be home when they were, I took a job as a para-professional in our home town. There was one student that I took to the art room for classes. Growing up as an art lover…it’s a smell I will never for get. A mixture of tempera paints and crayons…maybe a little glue! I realized then, that I wanted to teach art…have my own classroom.  

Here’s a newsletter from my 3rd grade class. I guess I knew then, what I was destined to be!  

I enrolled in college at age 41, I was thrilled! One class was all that I could do at the time. I took English, definitely better than math! It was a creative writing class. I found out I was pretty good at writing and actually enjoyed it. The problem was, with working…which was NOT paying the bills, let alone my house payment, and having such a large family…college was not going to work for me. I felt it would have taken me 10 years to get through school…and I had no desire to start a teaching career at 50. So that was it for my BIG days at college!

Over the next few years, I married Kevin…he had one son and we had one together…so we became a family of eight. WOW! For those of you who have met my husband…he is a true gift! I am so thankful for his love and commitment to me and our kids! 

During this time I did some child care. Love kids…but watching someone else’s everyday was not something I grew up dreaming about. Through a series of events…a book…and some paintings in a restaurant, God began stirring in my heart to teach art to kids in my basement. I was scared would be an understatement! I thought I was cheating because I was not a real teacher. I thought I was cheating because I was following someone else’s teaching style. I felt like a fake…and was terrified of being found out!

If it wasn’t for God in my life, and the way he had already been teaching me to trust him. I would have never stepped out and started. I had learned life is risky…but the BEST things in life take courage…love, hope, trust…need I go on? I knew without a doubt God loved me and put the desires in my heart…so I did it!

With no money to really start…I made flyers, dropped them off at the checkout line at the grocery store. I was soon teaching art classes to kids ages 4 years and up. I had a couple classes a week and I was bringing in a little extra money. I was able to pay for my supplies as people signed up and paid a monthly tuition. Each week I would come up with lessons…always trying to be completely unique to any thing my kids would do at school. Thank the Lord for Pinterest….already evidence of God’s good timing! 

I had a wonderful 2 years of teaching kids art in my basement. I even had a group of about 25 homeschooled kids I would go and teach…just like a real teacher. I would have two art shows a year to display the kids artwork. Along with some summer art camps, my little art business began to grow.  As different people came into my life…new paths were discovered and the fall of 2013, I had my very first wine and paint class!

Since then, I have taught in coffee shops, bars, restaurants, homes, garages, schools, churches, hair salons, green houses, farms, vineyards, assisted living and memory care facilities, stores….and as of June 2019…I have this beautiful space at my home. My very own studio, that my husband, Kevin built for me!

I hope you get hope from following this journey. God does care about your heart…your desires…your ideas…He put them there. As each day unfolds, know it’s safe to hold His hand. He longs to take you on a grand adventure…because he loves YOU! 

With much love and paint,

My Guatemalan seed

In early May I was pulling out my pots to plant flowers and seeds. I had stored a couple of them in a closed antique trunk on the porch of my studio over the winter. When I opened the lid I found to my surprise a 12 inch tall walnut tree growing inside of the trunk. No light…no water since maybe November. The seed died there in the winter in darkness…yet still came to life in the spring!

Where can I go from Your Spirit? Or where can I flee from Your presence? If I ascend to heaven, You are there; If I make my bed in Sheol, behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the dawn, If I dwell in the remotest part of the sea, Even there Your hand will lead me, And Your right hand will lay hold of me. If I say, “Surely the darkness will overwhelm me, And the light around me will be night,” Even the darkness is not dark to You, And the night is as bright as the day. Darkness and light are alike to You.

Psalms 139:7-12

In June, my son and I went to Guatemala on our first mission trip…it will not be our last! I had the honor of bringing the seed of the Gospel of Jesus’ love to share with children who had no idea who I was and most had never heard of Jesus.

We worked in a village called Tierra Negra…black earth. About 75 families lived in this village which had no electricity and the water was brought in about once every 3 weeks. It was located on a plantation of palm trees. The residents harvested the palm oil as their means of life.

This remote village consisted of crude homes, an empty church, two small one room schools, and a very small, empty “medical clinic”. Basically a wooden shack. In spite of their lack of many things we take for granted…they were the happiest people I have ever met.

*Kaeden is picture walking out of the “medical clinic” on the right.

We came to provide the finances for and assistance in digging footings, forming and pour the concrete footings for a new clinic.

We also came to share Jesus love through songs, stories, art projects and games. Being the first North Americans to ever be in this location was hard for me to comprehend. Coming from a world of instant everything, media and travel at my fingertips was a humbling experience for us all.

When the children at the school first saw us, they watched with curiosity as we approached…ducking into the doorway as we came closer. We were still met with smiles and giggles. It didn’t take long for them to warm up to us…especially the youth in our group.

They soon knew me as KoKo (my grandma name and often referred to as “Crazy KoKo” by my husband and kids).

But for them I was Señora Coco, the coconut.

We started the first of our three days there with a story about the farmer who sowed seeds. Some of the seeds grew in good nutrient rich soil (Matthew 13). The second day, I taught them that some of the seeds became mighty trees with roots that went deep to the living water and whose branches had green leaves that never withered in drought and produced baskets and baskets of fruit. (Jeremiah 17:8) Our third and final day we talked about the fruit that is produced from the seeds…which becomes evident in our lives by the Holy Spirit. (Galatians 5:22-23)

Each day, as I shared a very simple message I was met with more and more people from the village. The children sat around my feet looking at this crazy coconut lady with golden hair going everywhere.

The women lined around the back walls some with age etched around their eyes some not any older then the girls who came with us. Their babies nursing or sleeping in small portable hammocks…which they carried on their heads!

It was amazing how a simple box of crayons given to each child was a gift beyond measure to them. Seemingly unpractical for a place of such lack…wouldn’t something else be a more sensible gift? The “older” girls who were no longer in school joined right in, helping the littles with the art projects. (Sixth grade is the last year of school) I had a moment of overwhelming joy mixed with a few tears as I was facing the wall, drawing on a paper held up. I was showing them to draw a simple line across the paper, add circles along the line for seeds and then draw squiggly lines down for roots, finishing it off with flowers blooming. As I turned around in the midst of teaching each step, I was met with all these beautiful brown eyes and brown faces watching me and following along…just like you when I teach you to paint! But oh so far away from my familiar and comfortable place. It was incredible that I had this honor…it still makes me cry as I type this! Something so simple…but so impactful!

Each day we were there more people from the village were there. Even the young men gathered in the doorways and look through the glassless window panes as we shared. By the final day, all the men who were constructing the clinic came to see and listen.

My words were translated first into Spanish and then into Q’eqchi, it was easy to lose my place as I looked into the faces of the people who were just as fascinated with me as I was with them. A few times I was overwhelmed nearly to tears with the enormity of what was happening.

What a privilege I had just sharing a simple story..a seed planted. A simple art project with a new box of crayons, some glue and tissue paper. And a few songs and games. We had an amazing interpreter who taught songs with all the actions and everyone had so much fun with the games…not just the kids!

I have no doubt, just like the seed in my pot that this seed will one day emerge into a mighty tree…with roots that grow deep…and branches that bear fruit without fail.

Darkness is not dark to God…nothing limits His purpose. He will faithfully do the rest!

No matter how unfit, uncalled, unpolished and imperfect we think we are…we all carry seeds and we plant them everywhere we go, whether we know it or not. The kind of seeds we are planting matters. We are called to plant the seeds we carry…no matter where we are.

Every Color of the Rainbow

Creating endless colors with just a few…red, blue, yellow, black and white!

When you start with a simple palette of only primary colors…your rainbow of colors are endless.

Can we count them? Probably not…say all 10 million of them? Try naming them!

So many times as I am teaching and mixing colors…my words fail me for a name that describes the color…I end up with avocado…seriously…like that’s the best I can do?!

Where my words fall short…my painting lends its voice.

Where my words fall short…my painting Lends its voice

~Laurie Rothwell

Every color, every shade, every tint is a mixture of pigment, binder, solvent and additives…which creates your acrylic paints.

Pigment is what gives paint its color. Made from many different substances, some are natural and some man-made. Color mixing is definitely affected by the quality of pigments used. Cheap paints do not create vibrant colors.

Paint is created by a mixture of dry and wet ingredients bound together . As opposed to oils; acrylics are made with water as a solvent…which as evaporation happens the paint dries quickly. Temperature and humidity play a part into the speed of dry time.

Are you still with me??

Keep reading…or scrolling…because there are some videos for you below!

Let’s skip all this chemistry stuff…a class I never took…and go right to painting…to mixing…to taking our pre-created paints and playing. I never was one that enjoy the prep work…the instruction…the studying. For me it’s most often “hands on”! And yes I make lots of mistakes…have to do things over…probably took the much longer route…

This is where I feel most comfortable. Painting is learning…let’s learn together.

Are you ready try your hand at mixing beautiful colors?

I have 3 short videos for you; where I have only used 2 of the primary colors in each…showing you how amazing colors emerge from this simple palette.

By adding black and white, you will create even many more colors!

***If you would like to order the same paints I use to teach with,

you will NOT be disappointed with the color mixing!

Here is the exact paints I use in the colors I am demonstrating…

Titanium White Mars Black Phthalo Blue Chrome Yellow Bright Red

Clear your mind of expectation…then fill it with expectancy…grab your paints…one brush will do…a larger one is best (The brush I use is a Liquitex Basic #8 Bright seen HERE) and a canvas or heavy paper to paint on.

We will begin with mixing just 2 colors…Red and blue
In this video we will be mixing Yellow and Blue
And the Last color combination of Yellow and Red

My hands create the work…my eyes delight in the beauty of what happens; where creator and creation become unified. It’s a joy filled experience!

It’s becomes a taste of the delight your Heavenly Father had when He created you!

I will give thanks to you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; wonderful are your works, and my soul knows it very well.

How precious are your thoughts to me, o god! How vast the sum of them!

For the Lord your God is living among you. He is a mighty savior. He will take delight in you with gladness. With his love, he will calm all your fears. He will rejoice over you with joyful songs.

Psalms 139:14 & 17 NASB, Zephaniah 3:17 NLT

Santa came to Pieces of my art studio

It was just one of the hundreds of ideas I’ve had for Pieces of My Art…finally this happened!

Last Sunday, Pieces of My Art turned into a workshop full of busy little elves…

What fun it is to open up a space for all ages to create…give a few ideas…

some supplies…and the magic just happens!

Our creativity is worth more than the products it produced.

Creativity Links us with our one-of-a-kindness

Patrea Hansen-Adamis

This is when pictures can say so much more than words…We will all treasure these memories that were made!

Creating has no age limit…in fact the older we get the more intentional we must be about creating.

Look at the faces of these children…

they came into the studio…to do what they were made to do…to create.

Without inhibitions…not a single doubt that what

they created would be a masterpiece.

Often the season of Christmas calls us to be more like children. But being much more grown up now…we know the disappointments that come with unbridled expectations.

In a simple, less painful way this is revealed in the way we create. We tend to hold ourselves back…afraid of mistakes…lack of perfection…comparison of others.

Become childlike this season…

find some kids to help you…and then find an elderly person…

create something together…add the love of Jesus to this

and you will have the most joyous, hope filled,

full of wonder season of Christmas ever!

You can read more about Christmas and becoming like a child from a previous post here

Join us next year for another day to create with the elves!

Painting Like a Master

Taking a photo and creating a Van Gogh style painting

I have always loved working puzzles…like the really big ones…for days. That was in the BC days…the before children days. I could sure see better then too. I would lay all the pieces out and study the lid and start creating the picture…one little piece at a time. Often I would be up until my eyes glazed over.

Taking a painting from “the Masters”…the paintings you see in art books and museums…is a lot like working a puzzle. You study the details, matching colors and brush strokes…adding layer upon layer like the pieces to a puzzle.

This has been a favorite way I have learned to paint…by copying…yes…copying. You can do that! As long as you are not selling it or claiming it as your own original painting, it’s ok.

As a self taught artist, its been a wonderful way for me to learn.

You will learn so much about color. I could go on and on about mixing colors! That in itself becomes a therapy…heART therapy. You will notice colors in clouds, sunsets and landscapes that you never seemed to notice before.

You begin to train your eye to see how to “put together” a painting…to arrange your painting. This is the composition of your painting.

You will develop an awareness of the role of light and shadows. Putting more focus on objects and areas to create depth.

You will see texture and understand how it will give your painting a “feel”. You can create something soft…harsh…moving. As if you are putting actual life into your painting…one you could walk into.

I love being a creator…a mini me to my Father in Heaven. We are created in His image…so we all carry a gift of creating. I want to help draw your gifting out. It may be stronger in some areas of life than others.

Maybe cooking…gardening…organizing…I’ve even been told even math is creative, lol…maybe to come up with some of those answers I tried to help my son with…insert eye roll here. I am so thankful for math people…it’s just not me!

I’ll just paint, thank you!

Now it’s time to find a painting that you would like to try.

Here are a couple of examples of ones I have done. You will see they are far from identical…but still so satisfying. These two are both from Vincent van Gogh’s collection. His paintings are really fun!

Just in case you can’t tell…mine are the ones on the right ; )

“Good artists copy, great artists steal.”

―Pablo Picasso

Being a little vulnerable here…it has taken me quite a few years to get comfortable enough to start creating my own paintings. I still become intimidated. Especially when it comes time to schedule it as a class.

I can easily become overwhelmed with the thoughts of “what if no one wants to paint this”. Yet I continue to paint and stop worrying about the “what ifs”. I paint for the joy it brings me…and you…and my Father…the best creator of all.

Below is a video I want to share with you that I recently did.

You can paint along with me.

I took a favorite photo I had taken from a sunflower farm in our area and wanted to try out a starry night version of it. It was so fun to create…you will see I had a hard time wanting to stop.

An hour turned into an hour and a half…and I still wanted to keep going. I had 3 kids waiting for me to take them to the pool.

I love summer! And sunflowers!


“The sunflower is mine, in a way.”

― Vincent van Gogh

We Love Drama! Why Black and White?

Do you feel like your paintings just fall flat? Our mind tells us the trees are green, the sky is blue, the clouds are white. So that is how we paint. Often leaving out value, dimension, light and shadows.

It’s not what you look at that matters, it’s what you see.

Henry David Thoreau

Think about how boring a book or movie would be if there wasn’t a development of characters, a description of settings, the drama of a villain and the hope of happily ever after.

Painting should be no different. Just like a good author…writing (painting for us) is what makes you better.

Value is the lightness or darkness of a painting. Black adds shades and white adds tints. A good painting…much like a good book or movie…needs value. Without it….it’s just “eh”

In this video, I demonstrate what adding black and white will do for your painting
Adding the value of black and white

I want you to start looking at the land around you, while your driving or walking…and notice the colors…endless colors.

How many shades of green can you see…I bet 50 at least.

How about the bark in the trees…do you see the purples…the greens?

What about clouds? Spring is a wonderful time to look at clouds.

Being a Kansas girl, I enjoy a good thunderstorm gathering across the plains.

How many colors do you see in the clouds…shades and tints…all because of black and white!

Next time you paint…give yourself permission to use ALL the colors…try them out…see what they do…if you don’t like it…cover it up and try it all over again!

I want you to learn to paint FEARLESSLY!

We are all artists, painting our lives upon the canvas of reality.

Mix the colors your own way and apply emotion liberally.

Don’t be afraid to let your brushstrokes show, and about all else, make sure your art has soul.

Cristen rodgers

NEXT UP: Let’s Paint Trees…Pines, Palms, and Plain Ol’ Trees

Come back again next week and I will show you how to paint a variety of trees. Simply.

Wondering where to get my brushes, paints and painting surfaces?

You can go here to shop for all my favorites!

I am an affiliate for Blick Art Supplies…and if you purchase through the link above…I will get a little bit of money to shop for more art supplies….but it does not cost you anything extra. And we both know art supplies make us happy!

To Blend or Not to Blend

Sunsets and Sunrises | Lesson in Acrylic Paint Mixing

Should you mix your colors flawlessly…gradually…perfectly?

Or is it to better to let them be more chunky…layered…placing pieces of color upon pieces of color?

Both are beautiful…both are right.

I want to encourage you that the way you decide to blend your colors or not blend your colors are both just as beautiful.

Let your style develop as you play with color…with brush strokes.

Just like your fingerprints are unique to you…so is the way you paint.

This world needs your uniqueness…not more copies.

Striving so often for perfection…we can lose the beauty of the process…of the experience

The more you “work” your painting…or the more you brush over your canvas with paint, the more it blends.

The color loses it’s place…it’s uniqueness and vibrancy.

Let’s say, I want this perfect color of orange for my sunset…I can see it in my mind…or I see it on my reference photo.

I start adding the red and the yellow.

It’s too dark…than I add white…mixing and mixing until I either have the perfect shade to only find out I didn’t make enough.

Or, I abandon the process all together because I now have a palette of yuck…either way can be frustrating and wasteful of your paint.

If you are lucky to come up with that one perfect shade of orange for your sunset…that is what you will get..the ONE perfect shade.

Yet you will miss out on all 49 other shades of orange that could show up in your painting if you started first, with just adding color from your brush directly onto your canvas.

There’s never a wrong color for a sunset…except green

…unless you want a tornado in your painting

So how do I get my colors to create more beautiful colors without looking like baby poop…am I right??? I hear you say that ALL THE TIME!

Think of a rainbow…and that order of color…red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple, red…and bend it into a complete circle.

Beautiful isn’t it!?

When you choose the colors next to one another they mix together beautifully!

But watch out…if you go to far….there it is! That dreaded muddy color!

Let’s think of the colors that make us feel warm…and the ones that make us feel cool. When you cross those two…you get mud…or browns.

For sure we need those colors too, but we aren’t talking about them this time.

In this video I demonstrate this color blending for you.

By far the absolute best way to learn blend…or not blending…mixing colors and what they make is to just do it!

Stop being so afraid of mistakes…stop being so critical of your progress…play with paint…and play with it some more.

Fall in love with the learning process.

Fall in love with the way you paint.

Fall in love with who you are and how you were created.

Because YOU, my friend,

are deeply loved by the ONE who made you!

NEXT UP: We Love Drama! Why Black and White?

Come back again next week and I will so you all the drama black and white can create. And it’s beautiful!

Wondering where to get my brushes, paints and painting surfaces?

You can go here to shop for all my favorites!

I am an affiliate for Blick Art Supplies…and if you purchase through the link above…I will get a little bit of money to shop for more art supplies….but it does not cost you anything extra. And we both know art supplies make us happy!

painting for fall | stack of pumpkins

Stack of Pumpkins…with just 5 paint colors

Do you want to paint a stack of pumpkins?

I will teach you this step by step.

The color mixing for this is incredible fun!

I will show you how you can take black, white, blue, yellow and red to make every color you can imagine! So grab some paints…a 12×24 canvas…a quiet place…your favorite beverage and music and let’s have some fun!

Here is my exact list of supplies and where to get it…

12×24 Canvas (Hobby Lobby or Michaels)



You can use other brands of paint as well in similar colors…

  • Artist Loft(Michaels),
  • Apple Barrel Acrylic Paint(Walmart, Michaels),
  • DecoArt Americana multi-surface Satin (Hobby Lobby, Michaels)

And the other stuff…

  • 1/2 in Flat Paint Brush

(I use Liquitex BASICS Bright Size 8)

  • Small Round Paint Brush

(I use Blick Scholastic Wonder White Size 4 Round)

  • paper towels
  • paper plate
  • cup of water
  • pencil
  • ballpoint pen
  • chalk pen

(I use Bistro Chalk Marker from Micheals, Hobby Lobby)

You can order the paints and brushes *here if you want to use what I am teaching with.

*I am an affiliate with Blick Art Supplies….which means I get commissions for purchases made through this link…at no extra cost to you!

Painting with kids

I completely get it…I was the mom that was all about art, creating with all the fun mediums and techniques…painting with your kids can be simple.

but oh the mess…and the place to do it…and the time it takes to set it up…have them spend all of 10 minutes or maybe days on end…and then the clean up…so you can have dinner.

Sadly, I think I missed way too many fun painting experiences because of the struggle to fit it in…thinking it always had to be a big ordeal. I so wish some days could be repeated again. Just not to be so uptight…and hug my kids a few more times when they were little bitty.

I want to encourage you to let your kids create…with things they can touch  and feel. I bet we would all agree that our schools do not offer near as many creative outlets as back in our day. And our kids may spend way too much time with a device in their hands. In fact, right now my son is probably in his room on his, but hopefully he is building with his legos…like I asked him to do.

Here are some ways to make it happen with less expense for you and more fun for your kids.

If you have one…set up a small table…remember the card tables grandma had? Make up an art basket that’s totable with a decent quality plastic table cloth. That way you can use your dining room table and cover it easily. You can cut your table cloth in smaller pieces if you only have one person doing art.

Have good lighting…natural light is the best! 

And pick some fun music...

I like to use Pandora and have a couple favorite play lists: 

For kids…Disney Radio or The Piano Guys

For the older crowd…Jack Johnson Radio, Guardians Of the Galaxy Station and my most favorite when I am alone…Bethel Music Radio.

Next up, supplies… 


Any type of fluid acrylics…craft paint or bottles of acrylic in the art section of a craft store. You do not need all the colors…black , white, red, yellow and blue make about any color you can imagine. But craft paints are cheap enough to grab all the favorite colors.
Tube paints are not necessary and can get quite expensive as they are heavier and you will go through them much faster. When you reach a point of intentional painting they are great though.

Also do not forget watercolors are so much fun as well. I have lots of simple watercolor tutorials on my facebook page


2 decent quality ones are all you really need at first. It is still all I use after 10 plus years of painting. I like a good flat brush about 1/2” wide and a small round brush. BUT if you do not take care of and clean your brushes after every time you use them you will ruin them. Trust me, I still think I can leave my brush in the water and come back later…which is usually much later than I plan..and it has left my brush in a not so great state.

Other things you can paint with:

fingers, old credit card, sponge pieces, old tooth brush, newspaper, paper towels…you get it!

Teach your kids early to take care of brushes like this…

Do not leave brushes in water when finished painting.
Use a mixture of dish soap and Murphy’s oil soap ( you find it in the cleaning section of most stores) 1:1 ratio is fine…you can have some pre-mixed in a squirt bottle for convenience. I rinse my brushes first, squirt a little soap right across the bristles in my hand, scrub with a soft swirly motion to loosen all the paint, and rinse until no color washes out. Repeat if necessary.
Re-shape bristles and lay flat to dry on a paper towel. 

Do not leave brushes in water when finished painting…I said that already didn’t I?

What can you…and should you paint on? 

For me? I paint on everything…walls…buildings…wood…paper…canvas…porches…

But for you, let’s start small…er! 

Of course there is a canvas to paint on, but that can get expensive and take up space if you use the deep profile ones. Value packs at an art supply/hobby store are great places to get them. Also canvas boards which are flat. The good thing about these are once they dry you can paint them again.

I paint them white…or black and re-use them often.

Other options are mixed-media paper, watercolor paper(these can be bought in pads), cardboard, boxes…do you get tons of boxes from amazon now?? Cut them up and paint a base coat of white and then use them. No shortage of those at our house! Also, the cardboard inside of picture frames, back covers of notebooks, book covers, cereal boxes…I think you realize now you may have plenty of free things to use. 

Other things to have on hand…

  • Wax coated paper plates
  • Paper towels 
  • A can of water or two
  • Old shirt or apron to wear
  • Pictures…lots of ideas! 

Now, what to paint?

Sometimes this is the hardest part…what to paint!???

Let your kids copy…copy…copy. Give yourself permission to do this too! It’s ok. I have all my life and still do often. It will be their best teacher. What a safe way to learn from our mistakes, right?! It really is safe! Trust me! 

Let them paint…

  • animals
  • famous painters artwork
  • landscapes
  • a still life
  • what they see
  • what they don’t see
  • what they hear…feel
  • abstract

Want some more ideas???

Print off this great resource for ideas…30 Days of Painting

Let them learn the colors.

What they do when you mix them, layer them…don’t wait for them to dry…wait for them to dry…dark colors, bright colors…new colors and even more colors…add layers and more layers and repeat again.

There is no right or wrong in this process…just playing with color and movement. They may hate it or love it. Let them paint over the ones they hate and keep the ones they love (you may not not feel the same as they do…that’s ok let them be)

Super, super important to not get too “bossy” with how your kids paint…wait it out so they don’t want to give up because they think it’s not right…so so important!

SO I hope this helps open the door to more creative freedom in your kids and you as well.

Happy painting!

I am going to make it even easier for you! I am giving you the link to purchase my favorite art supplies right here…Laurie’s Favorite Painting Supplies

I am an affiliate with this company which only means they just give me a few cents for sharing their awesome stuff with you…at NO extra cost to you!

Let’s Paint Tacos! | Simple Drawing + Watercolor for Kids

In this video I teach kids of all ages how to draw and watercolor a taco with all the fixings! This painting tutorial features easy-to-follow step-by-step instruction as we draw with a sharpie. We then add a colorful table and wallpaper. Finally we watercolor our drawing and I will show you some fun ways to use watercolor to get different textures.

Paint with me live online!

Follow me on Facebook so you can be notified next time I do a live painting tutorial!
A fun and easy step-by-step draw-and-watercolor painting project

My Favorite Art Supply Store

Since we have been spending so much time together playing with watercolor…I thought I would give you my connection for my favorite art store…plenty of watercolors to pick from!

Get your supplies HERE

For the Facebook Live daily tutorials I have been doing I use Crayola Educational Watercolor Pan Sets.

***Yes! I am an affiliate for them…which basically means they pay me a smidge to tell you about their goodness! And I can buy more art supplies!

A Hope That Will Not Disappoint

Last night, I sat in the living room looking at all the decorations, christmas lights, the beautiful Renaissance style manger figurines.

My heart filled with a mixture of sadness and joy, longing and disappointment.

For many this is a difficult season as another year draws to an end. Hopes dashed, again, if any glimmer of hope is present at all. It seems Christmas is really just a bitter reminder of all that hasn’t happened. Or of something lost, an innocence maybe.

The oldest of Christmas Carols seems full of waining hope of what once was. Will it ever be right again?

If we do have money to spend, even if it’s borrowed to feel like it’s afforded, we keep busy. Purchasing, planning, decorating, attentive to every detail…checking our list’s twice.

It seems easiest to keep busy, than to rest or reflect…allowing the deeper desires to surface…because even in our abundance, there is a longing for something more…something bigger, something that still cannot be purchased, or created, or arranged for. What is it?

We can’t put a finger on. Like waking from a dream that we can’t really remember the details of or watching a beautiful party through a dirty and frosted over window. As we stretch up on our toes we can hear bits of beautiful music and laughter…

but we…can’t…quite…see…through…the glass…

Knowing there’s something bigger going on, we want a clearer glimpse of it.

We have all had our share of disappointments. So now as adults, we take control of our desires by managing them a bit better. We walk away from the window, thinking we had better get along the best we can…being more content with the duty and obligations of working harder to make for a smaller Christmas.

We start with tossing away the many secular holiday practices, the childish fantasies. After all, Christmas is really only about Jesus being born in a stable…and no crying he makes…and shepherds, and kings with 3 gifts…oh, and yes his mother was a virgin…sinless, pretty much. (We really must try harder at being good!) No wonder we feel so hopeless inside!

Merry Christmas. That’s it.

Now make your New Year’s resolution…

How can this perspective sum up the season and just five lines? There is really SO much more to this story…in fact, a whole book has been written about it!

Here is a quote from it…. “I am telling you once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you’re not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in.” (Matthew 18:2, The Message)

What if I could recover the heart of a child? I look at Kaeden, he just turned eight the other day. Yes, we say he’s spoiled, but he knows how to ask his dad for things.

His hopes are endless and innocent. He still dreams of things without consideration of practicality or cost. He believes anything is possible. His perspective of the future is full of joyful anticipation! Yet, his life is being played out in the presentness of his surroundings.

Kaeden is untainted by cynicism or resignation that things will never get any better… “this is how life is, I will just get by and make the best of it” His young tender heart has not yet experienced much of life’s cruel disappointments. As his mother, I wish I could keep him from ever knowing disappointment…but not in this world.

As I celebrate this Christmas season, I want the heart of a child, the heart of my youngest son.

I will fill my house the decorations, lights, and evergreens. I will purchase and bestow as many gifts as my purse will allow. I will sing Jingle Bells, Rudolph and O’Come, O’ Come Emanuel. (My favorite!)

I will bake cookies and food. I will make gifts. I will shop and smile and tell everyone, “Merry Christmas!” I will watch movies, play games, and laugh…and maybe even cry.

I want to ask of my Father for the desires of my heart, fearlessly…”Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.” Matt. 7:7 And he answers me in return “I have come that you might have life, and have it to the full” John 10:10

So above all else, I will believe in the hope and promise, that Jesus will come again!

With joyful anticipation, I will be reminded by baby Jesus lying in the manger, the angels singing, and Santa bringing gifts, that one day the best Christmas ever is yet to come… when all broken hearts will be fixed, all that holds us captive will be released and all our deepest dreams and desires will come true!

May joy and hopeful expectancy fill your heart with childlike anticipation for better things to come!

Merry, Merry Christmas!

~Laurie 👩🏼‍🎨 (From my archives 12.17.15)

Best Christmas Gifts for your Artsy People

Nothing better than getting your favorite art supplies…or maybe that one thing you always thought would be fun to play around with. Here’s my favorite go to site for all my creative ideas!

BLICK Holiday Gift Ideas

Hope you have the most creative Christmas ever! Be sure and share what you are creating in the comments!

Laurie 👩🏼‍🎨🎨

Yes, I am an affiliate which just means I get a little back from your purchases…so I can get fun things to create with…but it’s no extra for you🤗

Where Do I Get My Supplies?

My favorites for teaching!

After YEARS of being asked this…after MUCH procrastination…after THINKING, “it’s just TOO hard!!”…

🎨🖌I FINALLY put together a QUICK list of my favorite painting supplies that I use in my classes! 🤗

***discloser…I do receive a small compensation on sales through Dick Blick Art Supplies…BUT there is NO extra cost to you!

🛍So let’s go shopping! 👉🏼 General Painting Tutorial Supply List

I FINALLY put together a QUICK list of my favorite painting supplies that I use in my classes!