I’m often asked whether I prefer acrylics to watercolour and I honestly have to say I love them both!
ACRYLICS are great to get stuck into a painting on canvas and hang it straight on the wall. I usually work from darks to lights and can easily alter the painting as I go – just as long as the layer is dry! Acrylic is my first choice for original works to sell.
WATERCOLOURS are SO PORTABLE! I love taking them with me to add colour in my sketchbooks. I love how quickly I can use a brush to capture shapes in watercolour to then draw over in pencil to record a memory. I love that I don’t have to wear ‘painting clothes’ for watercolour! It took me years to embrace using plenty of water though… but now that I’m less worried about the end result, I’m more often delighted with the organic things that watercolour can do.
And you know what? Doing a study in watercolour for an acrylic painting is a quick way to test an idea before committing to a canvas.

Yesterday I painted this month’s acrylic Paint Along, ‘Caravan Dreaming‘ in watercolour for my Shiny Happy Art Club members. ***Often it’s the inspiration that’s the block when you want to learn to paint***, so we use one image to inspire another. It’s no longer acrylic OR watercolour, it is, in the MOST FRIENDLY way, AND.
So don’t limit yourself. If you want to paint, try both. Stay open to the seasons of your art life that you may prefer one or the other, but never close the door completely. There’s too much art joy to be had!
Hope you can paint a little (or a lot) this weekend. And if you need inspo, head over to my website, That’s what I’m here for!
See you in my virtual studio.
Come to my LIVE Webinar – Thursday 24 January

Come to my LIVE Webinar – Thursday 24 January

UPDATE – you can see the Webinar replay here –

Length: 47:33
Password: water

For years I’ve wondered how I could do a webinar, because painting demonstrations can be a pretty slow process, but just last week I figured out a way! 

I’ve made a list of the things I say most in a class, to answer questions or solve problems, and these are the first five. Odds are there’ll be a new learning or five for you, because I LOVE acrylics and am so happy to share the way I like to paint with them.

And if you haven’t attended a webinar before, that’s great… because it’s my first one too! I’ve attended them, but haven’t delivered one before – but I’ll be practicing my head off before we go live. Wish me luck!

The Webinar date is Thursday 24 January (that’s this week!).

You have three options so just click on the time that suits you best:

10am  |  4pm  |  9pm

Now, here in Toowoomba, Queensland, we are +10 GMT, so if you’re on the other side of the country (or the world) please check what time it’ll be for you. I use the clock app on my phone to do that easily. And there’s a link in the confirmation email to add it to your online calendar. Easy peasy.

There’ll be gifts for attendees, and as it’s the last day before the Paint Along of the Month Club‘s first paint along goes LIVE, it’ll be your last opportunity to nab the Pre-Release price on that.

I hope you can join me for this ‘first time’ – I’m really looking forward to being able to answer questions as we go, and you’ll finish inspired and ready to paint something!

There are limits to the number of people who can attend each session, so please pick a time and register asap. You’ll then get a personal link (and I’ll send you out a reminder beforehand too).

I’ll see you in my virtual studio to talk acrylics!


Wishing you a Shiny Happy 2016!

Wishing you a Shiny Happy 2016!

After quite a late NYE with over 18 (mainly teenagers) staying the night, Annie and I escaped to make a little collaborative painting to ring in the New Year.

And we really do wish you a shiny happy year!

My Shiny Happy Spring Project!

My Shiny Happy Spring Project!

So I’m doing a little bit of an experiment and it has to do with Instagram.

Shiny Happy SPRING 2015

Because while my heart is in facebook, I’m quite drawn to the pretty Insta pictures. And it’s pretty quick to scroll…scroll…scroll and see what people are up to, in pictures.

Each day, at least for September, I’m going to upload a new, A4 floral original, at just $55 each.

Anna with four of the Spring Floral series

This is the web link to my Insta page –, but it’s great to have the app on your phone and use it from there too.

I’m also filming some of the painting processes, so you’ll have an insight to how I create the layers of colour I love (the first one’s for tomorrow’s painting!).

So stay tuned. I’ll feed the info through Facebook each day – but we’ll see what Instagram can do too!

Thanks everyone and happy Spring!

Alternatives to Black

Alternatives to Black

Now, this tip applies to artists that use lines in their work (as I do with my illustrative style), as well as people looking to paint darks and shadows…

The background story – my mother, Diana Battle, is a very talented artist. She can paint beautifully in both oils and acrylics, and is also very confident in pastel and watercolour. The next two paintings (with their enlarged sections on the right) are by Mum.


She’s always told me there’s no need to use black straight out of the tube (in the actual painting, that is – it’s still ok to use it as an underpainting or base colour).


She’ll choose to use Paynes Grey (which is a very dark navy) or a dark mix of colours, but feels that black out of a tube, like Carbon or Mars Black, is too flat and uninteresting and unneccessary.

So the message is, that using a ‘black-substitute colour’ creates life in a painting, adding interest and movement.  Here are three black-substitutes that I use often, compared to black, on the bottom right.



Now this tip definitely applies to a realistic-style of painting like Mum’s, but it’s something I also remember when painting murals – like this one here…


At a glance the lines look black, but they’re actually painted in Dioxazine Purple (which is my black-substitute of choice). Take a closer look.


Here’s a pic of the bottle. I use A LOT of this colour.
In this next painting of proteas (done for a handbag, that’s why half is upside down!) the shadows are deep greens and a mix of green with a touch of red (that’s another tip – add the complementary colour (from directly opposite on the colour wheel) to darken a colour – ie. add a touch of red to your green and vice versa, add a little purple to your yellow, or blue to your orange… you’ll be amazed at how much better it works rather than using a totally different colour from another tube).
I hope that’s been interesting! I’d love to hear about your experiments, and if you’re an art-lover, you’ll have something more to look for when you see an artwork that you love.