Monthly Retrospective: November 2023

I started November with a trip to Vancouver and a bunch of small travel sketches. Upon returning home, I hustled to finish my U.S. National Parks project. On another quick trip over the border to Toronto, I added a few more travel sketches. I also started #magrish_challenge_sky for my second year. I rounded out the … Read more

What I Learned from Painting All 63 U.S. National Parks in a Year

In 2023, I challenged myself to paint at least one scene from each of the 63 US National Parks. I started in February, with a mini gouache of Big Bend as a sort of proof of concept, then began working my way down an alphabetical list. I finally finished with Zion in late November. You can find them all on my National Park Collection page (I’ve also included several in this post!)

This was a great opportunity to learn – not only about technique and about the parks themselves, but about my own preferences as an artist. Here’s what I discovered.

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Monthly Retrospective: September 2023

In September, I continued painting National Parks; continued the #skieswithjt challenge; and I also participated in Kolbie Blume’s fourth challenge, Painting the Wilderness: Light! While I continued to focus on skies in September, my usual Summer of Skies is drawing to a close as I begin to focus on fall foliage. I slowed down toward … Read more

Monthly Retrospective: August 2023

In August, I painted 15 paintings – well short of the nearly a-painting-a-day I had done in July and in the past few months. I’d been furiously painting to get ready for a community art sale where I sold a few paintings – for the first time ever! – but after that, I was feeling lazy. Also, I backed off from the National Parks Project at 75% done, feeling a bit depressed at the idea of painting Redwood while it’s on fire.

But! I have still been goofing around with paint. I tooled around with swatches and palettes, and I thought a lot about skies! I kept up with #skieswithjt on Instagram; and I made a real effort to improve my skies through observation and self-critique, in What to do with those old sunset photos? Paint ’em! The skies I painted after that post have turned out better!

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Monthly Retrospective: June 2023

I started June attending a live remote class: dynamic skies with Leslie Lambert. This set the stage for month of skies! I continued doing the #skieswithjt weekly challenge by @jthomasart_ on instagram, which I started right at the end of May. I also continued my ongoing National Parks project. And I did some other paintings … Read more

Monthly Retrospective: May 2023

May is Warbler Month in Massachusetts – the best month of the year for birding because exciting birds are briefly traveling through on their northward migration, singing and carrying on. (There’s also a fall migration, but because it’s shorter and quiet, I rarely see anything.) I was excited about the birds I was seeing and … Read more

Monthly Retrospective: April 2023

The theme of this month was spring! I built my Spring Palette and painted some swatches and paintings – indoors and out – using spring colors and themes. Focusing more on my actual surroundings, I took a break from my National Park project until late in the month (then rapidly did four). It was an … Read more

Monthly Retrospective: March 2023

This month, though I didn’t have any subscription services, I took a Domestika gouache class from Ruth Wilshaw, a one-day Grand Tetons class from Shelby Thayne, and a watercolor triad class from Jane Blundell through Art Toolkit (output not pictured below, since I did swatches instead of “full paintings”, but you can find the results … Read more