Starting 15 Flowers

Starting 15 Flowers

Joining in with the 15 Flowers eCourse is like doing some ‘art fitness’ (which, to be honest, I find a lot more fun than real fitness). And you don’t need all the glam fitness gear (unless you already have it – or have been looking for an excuse to get it) to start off.
The really good thing is that you don’t need to be a certain size to look good. It’s a well known fact that EVERYONE looks BRILLIANT in art supplies.
Essentially we’ll be:

  1. Drawing – so you’ll need paper, coloured pencils, an eraser and a sharpener, and
  2. Painting – some acrylic paints, a few brushes, some heavy paper (or ‘canvas paper’) and a stretched canvas (for our finale piece!), and of course some water and a palette (an ice cream bucket and lid will do the trick here)

To help you get an idea of how much these things cost, I have asked the lovely people at Murrays Art & Framing, here in Toowoomba, to be available to supply to Australian participants. They will happily chat to you on the phone while they walk around the store, helping you choose exactly what you need. They’ll then mail your order to you.

Please note: The prices I’ve quoted below, are correct as at Thursday 12 February 2015

Let’s talk about the Drawing bit.

Paper – I will be using an A4 Canson notebook (that came in a set of two, and which I’m now told was a Christmas special – sorry about that). But any type of visual diary or journal will be just fine.When I went down to Murrays,  we looked at three options (you only need one of these, or something like these):
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Coloured pencils – I use and recommend Prismacolor pencils (they’re lovely and soft) and you can buy them by the set or individually from art shops. If you can’t get your hands on Prismacolor, just don’t go cheaper than Crayola (which are super easy to find!).
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Sharpener – I don’t think I really need a picture here – I’d just recommend spending a dollar or two more and get a ‘good’ sharpener – Murrays has a Faber Castel ‘Grip’ one for $6.50.Eraser – once again, borrow one from the kids (Lord knows my kids seem to have stacks). Murrays has a ‘Dust Free’ (that sounds pretty cool) Faber Castel eraser for $1.95.

Now for the Painting bit.I use acrylic paints because they don’t smell (always a bonus) and they dry fast (I have four kids, end of story). I really like the ‘Fluid’ types of acrylics because they suit my style of painting, and need hardly any water on your brush to go a long way.Fluids generally come in bottles, not tubes – although the tubes are fine too, you’ll just need to mix a little water or ‘extender medium’ in with them to make them more … well, fluid!I LOVE LOVE LOVE Golden Fluid Acrylic Paints, and stock them in my studio. They are the TOP TOP TOP most wonderful, artist quality acrylics that I’ve ever used. They’re made in the USA, and if you can find/use/afford Golden (our Australian dollar isn’t helping at the moment, unfortunately), you should.

But if Golden is a bit of a stretch, and it often is for a beginner, and you live in Australia, please look at theAtelier Free Flow range.

And if Atelier doesn’t suit your budget, you could use Jo Sonja’s Artist Colours, or if you’re not in Australia, Liquitex Basics.

Whatever you do, DO NOT GO CHEAPER THAN JO SONJAS. Tubes of paint that cost $2.50 are not going to make you a great painter. In any way. Just don’t do it. That’s all we need to say about that.

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These colours, or colours similar to these (seriously, close enough is good enough here, we’re aiming for ‘similar but different’), are pretty much all that you’ll need (if any extras are added they’ll be listed on the website two weeks before we begin).Remember, you can mix and match different brands of acrylics! Click on the colours to see my notes about each.
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We’ll also use a little bit of Fluoro Magentaas well – I found this J Burrows brand of fluoro at Officeworks, and I’ve been more than happy with it. In general, fluorescent paints are very likely to fade (referred to on the label as ‘poor lightfastness’) so I only use a little, but the zing it adds is fantastic!
Brushes – I’ll be demonstrating the use of four different brushes during 15 Flowers.
To give you an idea of prices, these are very similar brushes available from Murrays, here in Toowoomba:

  • #12 flat bristle brush – AU $1.45
  • #12 Round Taklon (Neef brand) – AU $6.70
  • #6 Round Taklon (Neef brand) – AU $12.20
  • 1/2 inch Flat Taklon (Neef brand) – AU $7.85
Canvas – Over the first two weeks I’ll be painting my 15 individual flowers onto Canvas Paper. This is simply textured paper that is ideal for practice paintings, and if you paint a masterpiece, can be framed. I’ll also be using a ‘tear off paper palette’, but if you can’t get your hands on them, an ice cream bucket lid will work just fine.
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For our final week (Week 3), you’ll see me put together all the flowers that we’ve looked at in the first two weeks and paint a large canvas from beginning to end.Now, the size of your large canvas really depends on the space you have. Anything from 45cm square (18 inches) to 90cm  square (36 inches) will be fine. In terms of brands, Mont Marte, CreateArt or Liquitex will do the job. The prices on these will vary wildly, and you can find canvases in so many places – cheap shops, office supplies stores, and of course, art shops. I do prefer the thick edged ones (3.5cm deep) with folded corners (not cut).

Now, I think that’s everything!It looks like lots when I list out all the options you have, but generally you just need basic drawing supplies, and basic painting supplies. If you’ve got those, you can get started.And just in case you haven’t booked your place yet…


The eCourse begins on Easter Monday, 6 April.

Next week I’ll be answering all the questions I’ve been asked about the eCourse so far, so just email me if there is something you’d like to know. Thanks!
15 Flowers – the eCourse

15 Flowers – the eCourse

Come and flex your art muscles (especially if it’s been a while since you stretched!)
and paint 15 flowers with me.

Registration opens on 
Monday 9 February 2015 (my birthday!)

Earlybird price of AU $90 until 17 March 2015 (regular price $120)

Class starts 6 April 2015 (Easter Monday!)


We’ll draw and then paint
Lilies and Daisies and
Roses and Daffodils and
Poppies and Cosmos and
Sunflowers and eight more lovely flowers
with videos and printables for every single one.


Then we’ll take all that we’ve just learned and paint a complete canvas
featuring all these wonderful flowers!

You’ll see how I start at the beginning and map out where everything is going to go, then build up the painting in layers going from large brushes to small, and then tying everything together with highlights.

It’s SO MUCH MORE than I could ever share in a Paint Along – and it’s so exciting!


It’s a live course that runs for three weeks – two weeks of practicing flowers and a final week of making our painting.

But the beauty of the concept is that you can choose how you want to do it.

You can paint along with me, 7 or 8 paintings and drawings each week.

Or you can choose to paint only the flowers you really like (say, 3 of the 7).

Or you can just watch what we do during the week, then take everything you’ve learned and paint flowers later.

Or you can watch a bit of what we do, then wait til your next holiday and get stuck into all the videos and printouts (you’ll have access to the site for two years). I’ve done many eCourses this way.

You won’t need too many supplies – coloured pencils and paper, acrylic paints and heavy paper, a stretched canvas and a few brushes… a full list will be supplied next week.


So come join me at 15 Flowers. Click here to register and we’ll stay in touch in the weeks before the eCourse opens. It’s going to be terrific!

Mixing Flesh Colour

Mixing Flesh Colour

To be read in your best ‘Law & Order’ voice –

There are many ways to mix flesh tones on the web, this is one of them.

This mix is the basis for the skin tone in my ‘Wine with Dinner’ Paint Along ( AND I’ve finally figured out how to hang my camera from the ceiling! No face in this one though – bad hair day!).

Circle Painting with the fam

Circle Painting with the fam

Most Easters we are incredibly lucky to go semi-camping at a very generous and welcoming cousin’s gorgeous property at Wivenhoe Dam (thanks Jennie and Peter!!). This year there were 52 family members and 8 dogs, and we spent three glorious days outside chatting, swimming, eating and marveling at the amazing weather.

This year I took along the materials to do a Circle Painting with the extended family and it was fantastic. Here are some pics of the fun we all had, and the finished product we can now all enjoy.

I mixed white with most of the colours we used, so ended up with a beautiful ‘Ken Done’ inspired colour scheme. We painted with Chromacryl Student Acrylics on primed canvas.

I have also uploaded the finished images to Society6 and a whole bunch of products featuring these gorgeous circle paintings are now available for purchase. I’ve put my order in! Couldn’t resist! Here’s the link in case you can’t resist either – !

Or have a go making your own circle painting! Enjoy!
DIY Dragonfly

DIY Dragonfly

You know I do love a dragonfly or two. Their little, elegant wings add movement to a garden and a ‘special something’ to a flower painting.

My stylised dragonflies are simply five lines – a slightly curved body (place and pull your brush), then two sets of wings – a tight V on each side, painted from the outside in (remember to move your whole wrist to pull each stroke towards the body). The top wing is usually a lot longer than the bottom wing and the head is small (if it’s too big, plastic surgery may be required 🙂 ).

If you’ve been to a Paint Along and struggled with dragonflies, or if you haven’t been to a Paint Along but you’d like to try some dragonflies, click here for a downloadable practice sheet, just for you.

Happy Easter!