Why painting is good for you

Why painting is good for you

I’ve been thinking a lot about why I encourage people to paint. Why I think it’s good to connect to your creative self and exactly why I encourage people to draw and make their daily life richer. And this is what I came up with.


Reason 1


Artists are problem solvers. Some are linear and precise, but they need to know about and experiment with their art materials to achieve photo-realistic accuracy. Some are crazy, mad, unexpected and wild. They seem to approach painting with abandon and mixed media is their friend (and possibly their frenzy). Whether it’s a distinct message, a memory, a feeling or a wish they are expressing, there is research to be done and trial and error to be welcomed. Leonardo da Vinci found it worked for him! I think this problem solving approach is so useful in all areas of your life.

Reason 2

Kids are generally really impressed with a parent who’s an artist. It makes you a bit special. And it’s a great thing to make time to do with your kids. One of my students is a racing car driver (which impresses me A LOT) and since she’s been coming to art, her kids introduce her to their friends as an artist. And so they should. It’s a super cool thing to be.

Reason 3

I don’t know about you that when I see friends we’re usually eating. Sometimes it’s exercising. But usually, we’re eating. But making art with friends, whether in a Painting Party or at home at the dinner table, or on a weekend away together, really makes a memorable memory. And, of course, you can eat and drink at the same time if you wish, but the good thing is that you’ll have something to show for your time together.


Reason 4

When I draw and paint time just melts away. Sometimes I play music and try to move to the beat while I paint. Other times I listen to podcasts and my mind wanders as the picture appears. Sometimes the painting just doesn’t work and I’m frustrated. But, you know what? Life goes on and I come back and try again. It’s good to spend that time in an unpredictable, but very safe, environment. And sometimes the magic happens and I’m so glad it found me working. I recommend the surrender.

Reason 5

It’s good to challenge yourself, and with art you don’t even have to sweat to do it. Read a book or watch a video. Have a go at a subject or art supply you haven’t tried before. I highly recommend doing what you’re told in a project if you’re a beginner, and then letting loose once you’ve started learning the new skill. And Lord knows, what’s the worse that could happen? You tear out the page, or gesso over the painting and start again another day. Don’t keep doing the things you know you can do. Push yourself and learn. And I’m talking about repetition. Don’t paint one face, or tulip, or landscape and not like it and give up! Paint one, read a bit more about how to do it, then paint it again, and again, and again, taking and experimenting with advice from experts as you go, and you will get better. That’s why I encourage people to date their sketches and plans because you’ll SEE the improvement if you do the work.

Reason 6

Have you noticed? Meditation and mindfulness are all the rage right now. I went to a conference earlier this year and one of the speakers got us all to do a quiz to determine our level of mindfulness. Now, I don’t want to toot my own horn, but I’m going to do it anyway – my mindfulness was off the charts. I know I notice how things look and feel and smell and taste every day. My weight on the chair, the feel of the keyboard as I type this, the rustle of my hair as I move my head… I really do notice this stuff most of the time. And when I make time to paint and get ‘in the zone’, I’m a happier person. It really is meditation for me. And the lovely thing is, it’s productive as well. I recommend it.


So whether you’re a confident painter or a total newbie, please get your hands on a pencil, or a felt pen, or a brush and some paint and have a go. Draw your own hand. Draw your desk. Draw your bedroom. Draw your breakfast. Draw your jewellery. Draw your own face. Come along to a painting party or try one online. Paint with your kids. Or someone else’s kids.

Embrace the wonk and enjoy the journey.

It’s good for you.

Teacup Collages for Mother’s Day

Teacup Collages for Mother’s Day

We had an absolutely brilliant time making Teacup Collages in the studio last weekend.

I LOVE IT when adults make art with their little people, so I designed a project for all levels of confidence and attention spans.

And the feedback was just wonderful. Very special moments were had while very special art was made.

If you’d like to make this project at home (and I’ve had lots of photos sent to me of successful home sessions too!) here’s the link. It’s only $15!

Holiday art cows

Holiday art cows

We’re at the end of the first week of Easter Holidays here in Queensland and while they’ve enjoyed laying around recovering for a few days, it was time for an activity.

With a friend and cousin we took a vote and painted the Colourful Cow from my online class, Owl, Cat and Cow.

Now, with ages 7, 8 and two 9 year olds, I would recommend spreading this activity over two or three sessions. They did a fantastic job but it’s a long time to stay still (and it makes for a better result if they are still concentrating!). And see the elbow in the paint above? Yes, best to put the paint palette up next to the water bucket!

We stopped and started the video so all four could keep up (the youngest were the speediest) and I realised that it would be good to also have photos of each stage… so I’ve just added 9 step-by-step photos to the Cow video and will add them to the Owl and the Cat over the weekend.

These were the basic supplies we used. You can get Chromacryl paints from most newsagents in Australia I think. They’re ‘student quality’ acrylics and not too expensive. They did need a bit of water to help them flow though. Oh, and definitely use aprons as acrylics are hard/impossible to get out of clothes.

We also did a few extra lines to practice how to drag the brush along, and when you bend the bristles you get a thicker line… that’s also mentioned in the video.

All in all, they were all very proud to show their paintings to parents, friends and grandparents, and we had something great to show for the effort!

At just $35 for all three painting videos, and all three need only four paints, I hope it’s a fun thing for more parents to try with their kids these holidays, and I encourage you to paint alongside your child to make some real memories!

It’s ‘Inspire Your Heart with Art’ Day!

It’s ‘Inspire Your Heart with Art’ Day!

I know. I hadn’t heard of it either.

But the lovely Ruby Slippers contacted me and asked if I’d be happy to be interviewed on her radio show on 92.9 VOICE FM on 31 January, and mentioned that this national day coincided with the interview.

So I decided it was time to get back into the swing of videos and created a FREE video series painting a FLORAL HEART in watercolour.

So click through and sign up for instant access, and I’ll see you, and your inspired heart, in my online studio.

It’s great therapy. I promise!

Sweet Potato Wedges – Illustrated Recipe

Sweet Potato Wedges – Illustrated Recipe

It’s been a while between Illustrated Recipes… but that’s not the point.

You see I was watching Nigella before Christmas and she did some very special roast potatoes with this magical ingredient.

OK. Maybe hers wasn’t from Coles.

But I tried them, and oh, they’re good.

I even showed my ‘about to leave home’ son how to make them, in case he needs to make his new housemates like him more… perhaps because he’s spent too long in the shower… stuff like that.

And it’s so easy, but if you’re dealing with kitchen newbies, a picture does help.

So I give you ‘Delish Sweet Potato Wedges‘, and you know what, it works for normal potatoes too.

The steps in photos:


And would you believe it? The same magic ingredient works on normal potatoes too.

And here’s your downloadable to print out for the kids. You’re welcome 🙂

Happy New Year! I’m going to Fill a Book!

Happy New Year! I’m going to Fill a Book!

I hope you’ve had a lovely start to the new year!

I’ve felt a little discombobulated to tell you the truth… I think it’s from trying to take a break, but having a whole bunch of ideas for the new year in my head at the same time… and having the kids at home is wonderful.

One thing I do want to improve this year is my drawing and composition skills, so I have taken on a project that I HOPE will be a little less daunting than a 365 project, called ‘anna fills a book’. It even has its’ own instagram account, so it really is real.

I know this mightn’t come as a huge surprise to many, but I like doing a lot of things at once. Which isn’t really conducive to starting and finishing a sketch book.

And, even since starting this on the first of January, I’ve drawn and painted in 3 different books – I’m still adjusting to having an ‘offsite studio’ I think and things aren’t always where I think they are. So now I already have three books to fill!

The beauty of a book is that it gets to be closed. It doesn’t have to be perfect or hang on a wall. I can experiment with colours, mediums and techniques and I can work on concepts and ideas that might work in future paintings, Paint Alongs or workshops.

The insta account just keeps me accountable and encourages me to paint every day. And if I miss a day or two, that’s ok. I will do my best to catch up. But the goal is to simply fill the book.

If you’d like to join in, just use the hashtag #fillabookwithanna and I’ll see you on Insta.

Here’s cheers to 2017!