Personal Art Blog

Sharing the lessons I teach at the Artist Guild and the personal discoveries in my art.

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Decorative Nest - workshop. Day 18

Decorative Nest
15x11" gouache on paper

Day 2
Susan Hanssen 

 Paint something in a way we would 
never paint it. Reach outside our 
comfort zone.
Susan's example was an abstracted chicken 
with a blue top-not instead of red! 

If you think of the very organic way I 
painted the nest and feather just a 
couple of days ago then you know
how much I pushed myself out 
of my comfort zone with this one.
Polka dotted eggs and bright colored 
branches/twigs - plus a border!!!

Step one was to mark up the paper 
in a random way with dark watercolor.
Those marks can be clearly seen behind the nest.
2. Draw the subject with watercolor crayon..
3. use transparent washes.
4. Finish with gouache. 
5.Touch up with watercolor crayons.

The border happened quite naturally
to stop the very bright nest from
appearing to float.

Decorative art can be fun and relaxing
and I quite enjoyed painting this. 

Here is a wonderful sheep Susan did.
The patterns are painted the same
 as from the collage study..
See more listed under sheep on her website

I was asked why I was taking a watercolor 
workshop from two artists who work
so differently to me. 
Simply this... when the opportunity comes 
along to have the opportunity to learn from two
artists of Nancy Frost Began
and Susan Hanssen's
incredible talent and teaching skills...
any artist should jump at the chance.
17 of us are very glad we did!
I am exhausted.


  1. This is great fun! I love the colorful nest and the border.

  2. Love it, Julie! Different but the nest is still there....
    You were brave to try a new of painting, congratulations;-)

  3. wow--what a great assignment. Ideas that "shake things up"--are fun and liberating. Beautiful and unusual!

  4. Dear Julie - your art always inspires me. Your willingness to stretch yourself in new ways shows that no matter how long one has been an artist there is always something new around the bend. Bless you for sharing this beautiful piece. I love it - so lovely friend.

  5. That is different for you, for sure!

    It sounds like a great class. There's nothing ever wrong with skill building and a little eye opening!

  6. Woo Hoo!! Hippy Nests! Great fun to do.

    I can't wait until I can paint properly to start experimenting!

  7. Wow, I love it! It looks like it is so much fun to do. The border is what really attracts me.

  8. I love this one! I am fascinated by the sort of bamboo motif of the two twigs sticking up across the front. So neat!

  9. super fantastic - and thanks for sharing the process!!!

  10. Hi Julie: Thanks for posting about this exciting workshop! I had not heard about these artists, but I checked them both out -Fabulous! I also love to take workshops that are outside of my wheelhouse, because they shake me up and help me to remember that I LOVE paintng -all kings and all methods. The only thing that I find difficult is then how to settle back in to what people expect from me!!

  11. Very wonderful and colourful nest !!!

  12. It is wonderful and I agree about grabbing the opportunity to work with artists outside our comfort zone - who knows where it will take our art?

  13. Love the incredible results and sounds like you are having a lot of fun!

  14. Anything that pushes our boundaries is well worth it. I love the bright colors......and it is still very "nesty". So glad you are having so much fun.

  15. You definitely pushed your boundaries and came away with a lovely painting. It is an interesting approach. Sounds like a great workshop!


I love that you are taking the time to comment and thank you for it. I am sure other readers will enjoy them too. If you cannot comment through this format then email me at