Comparing Greens

Comparing Greens

There are stacks of premixed green acrylic paints on the market. Here I compare NINE of them (oh wow!) and you can decide which ones you like!

Here’s a link to my sample sheet so you can download it for yourself. Please remember that colours may differ screen to screen and printer to printer, so please use as a guide only. (For personal use.)

15 Flowers is underway!

15 Flowers is underway!

And it’s been a huge job! With five printables per flower and hours and hours of video, what seemed quite achievable (how hard can it be to teach 15 flowers after all) is actually a huge project that I’m immensely proud of.

And I’m delighted to say that the feedback in the private Facebook group, by those who have been able to get started (there’s no pressure to start yet because participants have two years access to the website), has been wonderful!

Read through some of the lovely comments:

I just feel so happy …. And hubby is happy that I’m at home and not out at shops spending money! But sshh! Don’t tell him about the art shop! I really am enjoying the two part process. I have always drawn – but never painted confidently at all. Watching you paint so beautifully is a great learning tool!

Loving these e-tutorials … Am learning new things with each one, improving with each one. So much fun … 

This is the best eCourse…we are being challenged and Anna and our peers. It is great…I am learning so much from our drawing and painting’s giving me experience like I’ve never had before..very satisfying.

On Wednesday this week I completed and filmed our finale painting, featuring all the flowers we’ve drawn, painted, and most importantly, learned to ‘see’ through the first part of the eCourse.It’ll be wonderful to see versions of this painting come to life in the homes of the 15 Flowers students, all over the world!

It’s not too late to join us if you’d like to get into the art groove and actually do some drawing and painting with a fun (virtual) group!

Downlands Collaborative Painting

Downlands Collaborative Painting

In my other life I’m the marketing manager at a wonderful high school here in Toowoomba, Downlands College.

A Missionaries of the Sacred Heart College, we are regularly offered retreat days, and just before Easter all staff (teachers, admin, cleaning, cooking, grounds and maintenance… everyone!) participated in a ‘mind, spirit, body’ themed day. I was asked to run a collaborative painting workshop throughout the day, so I was in my happy place.


I ran it in three sessions and each group grew in numbers as people saw what was happening and wanted to be a part of it.


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And look what we ended up with! This is a special mural canvas with eyelets in the corners, so will be hung in the staff dining room for everyone to enjoy.
If you would like to engage me for a collaborative group painting project, either on one large canvas or multiple canvases pushed together and painted as one, feel free to email and I’ll see what I can do!
With results like this, and the longevity of the project, it’s a great thing for morale!



Setting up your space

Setting up your space

Do you have a special space to paint and draw? Or are you a ‘portable person’ and you simply make space wherever you go?

While you’ll sometimes find me sketching in a notebook or scrapbook in front of the telly, I do prefer drawing at a table and painting on an easel these days.

While my kids were really little, I used whatever space I could. The memory of painting at night, with my book or canvas propped up on a Milo tin, with one ear open for a rustle of bedding (my first baby slept in the pram a lot, so I would wheel him up beside the table), is still vivid. Of course, there were usually other things on the table, so I’d make do with whatever setup I could manage in the time I had!

Now that I have been painting for years though, I have figured out the way I like to work best. Admittedly it gets out of control occasionally – usually when collage is involved – but I do try to set myself up the way I know works well for me.

Now, I’m right handed… if you’re a lefty you’re no doubt used to mirror imaging things. 😉

I have my reference materials above and to the left of me and my substrate in this photo is a canvas paper pad.

On my right I choose the brushes I’m planning to use (here I have #6 and #12 round brushes, a 1/2 inch flat and a #12 hogs bristle brush), and my tear-off paper palette. I know of many artists who will use a small canvas as a palette and then reuse that canvas for a new painting – I think this is a terrific idea, I just have trouble remembering to do it!

Then I have an old teatowel for wiping my brushes, and usually two ice-cream buckets, about 2/3 full, of water. I use one to do the first wash of the brush, and the second for a final rinse between colours.

To the right of that I have a selection of paint colours that I plan to use. The Golden colours shown are my absolute favourites.

Now if I was painting a canvas for a Paint Along (40 x 50cm), this is the set up I’d have:


I’ve simply replaced my paper pad with this table easel. I’ve tried a few table easels over the years, starting with a ‘three legged’ version, but found they were a bit wobbly for my tastes.

This is the type I’ve decided works best for me (and in my Paint Alongs):


They cost about about $20 AU.

If I’m painting a bigger canvas I’ll use my standing easel, with a small table beside me, set up just as I’ve shown you above.

I’d love to see where you manage to paint. Feel free to email me a photo of where you’re working your own art magic!

What paints are best?

What paints are best?

Over the years I’ve tried a lot of brands of acrylic paints.

The great thing is that you can mix and match paints, but it’s nice to learn what to look out for in a paint and figure out what your favourites are.

  • Check out the Series number as this will indicate price.
  • If there’s a swipe of paint on the label, this will show translucency/opacity.
  • Experiment with the flow of the paint. I prefer a fluid consistency for most of my work, but ‘heavy body’ is another option.
  • Realise that you’ll need to use more of the cheaper paint to achieve the coverage of the artist quality paint. And many cheaper paints contain ‘fillers’ that make the paint less vibrant.
  • Buy what you can afford so that you’re not skimping on paint. You need to feel like you can throw it on when you need to – without worrying about wastage too much.

Just remember – DO NOT waste your money on the SUPER cheap stuff! Don’t go cheaper than Jo Sonja’s please 🙂 !

There’s a LOT more that you can learn about acrylics, but in terms of colour, coverage and glide, here are a few brands I do recommend: