Tulips and Tea

A little 5″ x 7″ painting on 1/4″ birch panel. I limited myself to 4 hours on this one. The tulips are from my garden. I bought the tea-cup from a thrift store and changed the pattern. This is one of 24 daily paintings I did last spring.

I decided to do another painting challenge. Last year I painted every still life from life within 4 hours. This time I don’t want to rush, I’m going to take my time, if it takes me a couple of days to paint one, then so be it. I’m also going to paint from life and from photos as I want to include some landscapes and seascapes. I also want to do some plein air painting in my veggie garden. Yesterday I started a little landscape from a photo I took on the ferry heading into Fulford, Salt Spring Island. I tinted my canvas with burnt sienna and drew the buildings with ultramarine blue and burnt sienna. Today I’ll start blocking in with color and see how it goes from there.

Have a wonderful day and Happy Painting!

Rembrandt’s Oil

This painting started with just the jar of oil, but it seemed so boring. So I included the brush, but it still felt like something was missing. The table top just wasn’t working. Then I looked up towards the book shelf and a light bulb lit up! My Rembrandt book! I loved how it worked so perfectly with this still life. The dark background, the jar with it’s brass lid, the paintbrush with the light bristles reflecting on the book. I was so delighted with this set up.

The palette of colors I used are ~ Alizarin Crimson, Primrose Yellow, Yellow ocher, Burnt Sienna, Ultramarine Blue, Cassel Earth and Lead white. The 8″ x 10″ wood panel is 1/8″ Birch. I hung a black curtain in the background and it also helped having a black studio with only once source of light. I don’t have any windows in my studio as I didn’t want any other source of light besides the light above and behind me at about 35 degrees. This helps prevent glare on my canvas. If you have any questions, feel free to ask.

Have a wonderful day and Happy Painting!

Never give up…

Oil painting is a life long learning experience. Every time we paint, we learn something new. We’re always trying out new techniques, always pushing ourselves further than we think we can go. It’s a good thing. This is how we grow as artists.

At times we paint prolifically and there are times where we feel uninspired and don’t paint for months on end. The trick is to not compare ourselves to others or we can fall into a state of depression because we feel as if we aren’t good enough. There is no rush. We are where we are.
Take one day at a time, baby steps. Every amazing painter we admire, started at the very beginning.  No one became master painter overnight. Just keep going, keep at it, keep painting. Keep persevering. Never give up. The more time we spend painting, the better we get. Time is our friend.

Keep learning and we will eventually become the Master painter we wish we were.

Happy Painting!

Painting my daughter in oils

Jessica portrait

I started a portrait of my daughter last week. I started filming the process about half way in. It would have been nice to have filmed it from the start, but I didn’t think of it at the time. A friend asked for some pointers on how to paint flesh, so started filming. Six videos later, I’m getting the hang of it.

For this painting I’m using Natural Pigments’ Rublev colors; Ultramarine Blue, Nicosia green earth, Cypress Burnt umber warm, Burnt Sienna, French raw umber, Alizarin crimson, Genuine Vermillion, Yellow Ochre, Lead white #1 and #2. For medium I’m using Oleogel. For Brushes I’m using Rosemary and Co’s Mundy mops and Eclipse filberts.

I probably have another 6 videos coming as I still have a ways to go to go with this painting.

I hope you find these videos helpful~

Please feel free to ask questions.

Happy Painting!

6 daily paintings ~ 24 to go!

5 days of dailies.JPG

These are so tiny I could take them all at once! They are 5″ x 7″. It’s a decent start. Improvement will come with time. Today is day six, yet to be painted. I was going to go outside to paint en plain air, but it’s a dreary dull day out and I got lazy and decided to paint indoors. I permanently attached the release plate for my tripod on my Pochade box so I can’t put it flat on the table anymore. At least I can paint anywhere in the house!

I think I might paint an interior scene, I’ll have to find the ideal place. Oh my, it’s getting late, time to paint!

I painted the 7th painting after I wrote this post, but it fell off my easel when I was trying to reposition it, on the floor face first. win some, lose some! Tomorrow is another day to try again 😉

Have an awesome day or evening where ever you may be.

Happy painting!

How to make your own Plein air easel


I can’t tell you how many videos I watched to find the perfect Plein air easel. I decided on the features I’d like for my own plein air easel. I definitely liked the idea of my palette being super close to my panel. I didn’t want to have to always look down to mix my colors as I had before, because the values won’t be as accurate as it would be at the same angle as my panel and the scene I’m painting.

I didn’t want to mess around with a shelf slider, so I decided on using bungie cords to hold my panel in place. Lucky for me, I had two braced panels in my studio, about to become a Pochade box! The tricky part was figuring out how to hold the lid open. Youtube is a great resource, there are so many people with great ideas!

I had a piece of glass cut to the size of the inside of the braced pane. I’ll use Velcro to hold my glass palette in place with a tab to remove the glass palette for cleaning.

Tools and Materials:

  • Router/ Jigsaw whichever is available to you.
  • A drill and drill bits and screw driver.
  • Brush for the stain/varnish
  • 2 braced panels, the size of those panels are up to you.
  • Sanding block
  • Wood stain, any colour of your choice. I chose espresso because I wanted a colour that wouldn’t compete with my painting.
  • 2 brass Hinges
  • 4 Wing nuts
  • 1 T-nut 5/16 x1/4″
  • 8 Washers, I used rubber
  • 2 side arm hinges. Once would probably work, I went with two, maybe its overkill, I wanted stability.
  • 4 small bungie cords
  • A piece of glass cut to the inside size of the braced panel.
  • Grey Neutral value 5 Acrylic paint.
  • Sponge brush.


  • Sand the panels and smooth off any rough edges.
  • With a pencil and a ruler, measure where you would like the slots be to keep your painting panel in place.
  • Use a router or a jigsaw to cut the slots before you stain.
  • Dust off the braced panels and stain or varnish, whichever you prefer. I stained mine an Espresso Mahogany. Allow to dry for a couple of days.
  • Once dry, apply wax with a soft cloth, an old t-shirt will work and wait twenty minutes and then polish the waxed panels with the same cloth.
  • Drill out the fittings on the arm hinge and disassemble the parts and re-assemble as shown in the image. I eded up using a combination of metal washers with the rubber plumbers washers. You could use a different hinge system if you like.
  • Install the hinges. You could recess them if you like.
  • Pre-drill the holes for the side arm hinge and install as shown.
  • With a metal drill bit, drill 4 holes in your tripod release plate and screw it to the panel.
  • Paint 3 coats on one side of your glass palette with an acrylic neutral grey.


Et Viola! You made your own Plein air easel you can attach to your tripod and take anywhere!

What I love about my plein air easel, I can move it anywhere in my studio. If it’s cloudy and dreary, I can move it closer to the window for more light. Next I’ll be making a shelf to attach to my tripod legs. I’ll be using this shelf for my brushes and medium and stuff. I’m also going to be making a paper towel holder. That will be in my next post! In the meantime, my painting panels have arrived and I’m going to be preparing to paint my first 5×7 panel for my daily painting challenge.

Hope you like the plein air easel, it’s not perfect and with a bit of tweaking and modifications, I’m sure you’ll be able to make one that suits your own needs.

30 day daily painting challenge: Day 2


I set out five onions and a bottle of curry powder on a cutting board in the kitchen and used my brand new DIY Pochade box . It was cozy by the wood stove, hot tea close and some lovely light filtering through the kitchen window.  I really enjoyed painting this piece. I do need to redo my signature though. Tomorrow, it’ll still be wet.

Tomorrow I’ll be posting instructions on how to make a Pochade box. No table saw necessary. Surprisingly simple :- )


30 Day Daily Painting challenge: Day #1

The first day of the daily painting challenge was pretty epic. It took me a bit longer than four hours. Instead of going for something simple, I decided to go with something super challenging. Live and learn! Tomorrow I’m going with simple. I’m also going to set up a nice shelf for my still life. It’s a bit tricky trying to get decent coverage, I will for sure pre-prep my canvases with a coat of lead white and raw umber and allow to dry. This way I would get way better coverage and my paint will have something to adhere to.


Want to join in the fun?

Join the challenge!

5 Amazing benefits of a daily painting challenge and why you should do it!

Sometimes it’s really difficult to find some kind of enthusiasm when you feel stuck. You find yourself looking through artist’s website for inspiration, only to feel overwhelmed with a sense of panic.

Comparing yourself to other artists can be very daunting. You feel like you have been left behind and that you would never be able to catch up. I felt like that after a long bout of depression where painting was put on the back burner. When I slowly began to recover, I knew I had a lot of catching up to do.

I also knew it was going to take a lot of discipline and hard work. 

I thought to myself, okay Naomi, what can I do to discipline myself to paint daily? Well, the answer came rather quickly. A few minutes later I was invited to show my work for a month at a local, very busy, bed and breakfast. I knew this was my only way to get painting again. By lighting a fire under my butt. I accepted. Then I thought, okay Naomi, now what? How am I going to create a body of work really quickly as I don’t want to show my old stuff.

Then it hit me…A Daily painting challenge! That’s it! I had done this before and it changed the way I painted forever, and this is what happened…

5 Amazing benefits of a 30 Day painting challenge…

1. You will be more Disciplined:

Joining a 30 day painting challenge will force you to discipline yourself. You have to organize your studio and be prepared each day with a new subject matter.  By the time the challenge is over you will be more disciplined. The benefits of self-discipline also carries over to other areas of your life. Like disciplining yourself to exercise regularly. It’s a win-win.

2. You’ll paint faster and loosen up:

Setting a timer to complete your painting is a must. Start with 4 hours. Prepare your panels ahead of time. Important~ choose small panels. Going too big will eat up your time. Painting on 5″ x 7″ panels makes it doable.

Soon enough you will find a method that works for you and by the end of the 30 days you will know what works and what doesn’t. It will also take you less time to complete a painting. Instead of four hours, you will be able to complete one in 2 or 3 hours.

Your technique will improve. Your painting style will loosen up. This forces you to paint more painterly.

3. You’ll become a better painter:

The point of the challenge is not only discipline, but to improve as a painter. You will be able to track your progress in a meaningful way that can be easily measured with before and after pics.  If painting clouds is difficult for you, then paint a series of clouds or trees or landscapes from life until you master it.

4. You’ll have built a decent body of work:

You will have 30 more paintings than you did before you started the challenge.

There is something so gratifying about winning. 

It’s not about winning a prize at the end of it all. The prize is your improvement. Your newfound discipline. Your 30 paintings. The feeling of accomplishment. And what’s even better, you’ll want to take it further… a 3 month challenge and a slightly larger canvas, because you’ll be faster and will be able to cover more canvas in less time. That’s another 90 paintings! That’s huge!

5. You’ll have more blog posts and a larger email list:

You’ll be posting your new painting each day on your Blog talking about your progress and your process. You’ll have more people engaged in your posts. If you have an instagram or Facebook account, post your painting each day and perhaps a few time lapses and link it to your blog. You can also run a daily painting challenge with your viewers engaging them that way. You can also set up an auction on your website or on Ebay and sell your daily paintings. You could also trade daily paintings with your viewers who are daily painting with you. You will grow your email list. You’ll have people who want to join the challenge and sign up to your email list.

I’m pretty sure I could come up with many more benefits. I’ll leave that up to you to discover them on your own!

I’ve ordered my thirty 5’x7′ panels and will start as soon as I’ve received them and prepped them.

Are you ready to take your skills to the next level?


Pochade box



Drawing is the foundational skill to a great painting…..


I swear by drawing sight size, in my opinion and experience, it’s the best way to get an exact likeness. It all begins with a plumb line. You could have a vertical and horizontal plumb line if you wish. I went with the vertical.

Don’t use a projector to draw, there are no short cuts to gaining skill. The only way is practice, a lot.

the plumb line

I searched for the best drawing materials and heard that Nitram was a great product, I bought a few packages and gave them a whirl. I must say, they are a pleasure to work with. I highly recommend them. What I really like about them is the paper holder, keeping my fingers from getting covered in charcoal. They also blend really well. Not all charcoal is created equally. I recommend using one brand and not combining with other brands on the same drawing. I tried this and ruined a drawing.

Tip***  Don’t smudge the charcoal with your fingers, I use a stiff round brush to smooth and blend the charcoal and a kneaded eraser to pick up the highlights.

For paper, I used Strathmore 500 series, tried both sides and I prefer the “wrong side” as it’s not as textured. I will be experimenting with different drawing paper, but for now, I still have twenty sheets to draw on.

I hope I inspired you to pick up a piece of charcoal and draw, it really is so mesmerizing!

Happy Drawing and let me know how it goes!

Nitram charcoal

%d bloggers like this: