Wednesday, December 7, 2022


A friend asked me for some art prompts to get her out of a temporary creative block. We all have those moments, don't we? Blocks remind me of trying to ride a bicycle with no hands or attempting to stand on a balance beam. My lack of confidence made me too shaky to do either one of those successfully.  Toddlers, who venture out to jump off a low wall, will either sail right into the jump or hesitate. It's the hesitation that can defeat us or it can lead us to discover a new way of getting off the wall.

I've realized that I'm more likely to hit a block if I don't practice daily. I've also discovered that the blocks usually are a moment when I am learning something and nothing seems to be going right. Doing watercolor and calligraphy has shown me one thing: just do it. Who cares if my project turns out awful or overworked or lopsided. The more practice I do, the less I care if it does. It's the failure that helps me develop new skills. I still look with envy at someone else's work that I think is better than mine. There is always someone. I now acknowledge my envy and try to learn from what I admire. I'm never going to be that person's equal and that is okay with me.

Thinking about prompts gave me an idea for a challenge. With the iPhone in hand, I decided to take photos of man-made objects on my walk. I have been walking our street for years and I've spent a lot of time taking photos of natural objects such as leaves, footprints, spiderwebs, acorns, and the sky, which all attract my attention. As I walked, I realized that my choices of small man-made objects would be limited. But I did find eight objects that I hadn't drawn or painted before. I've decided to do one or two a week in December and see what happens. Good practice.

My husband Bill has signed up for a photo challenge called 52 Frames. The group receives a weekly prompt and posts their results on the website each week. Wouldn't it be a challenge to come up with a prompt each week?

Pepper by Bill Slavin

Here are a few prompts to get you started:

*     Draw yourself using a continuous line. Look in the mirror and don't look at your paper as you draw. When you are finished, look at the result and have a good laugh.

*     Have a cup of coffee or tea and draw the cup and liquid first before you drink it.

*     Draw your favorite tool, whether it is part of the equipment you use for art, from the kitchen, or for gardening, woodworking, quilting/sewing, or skating. Try drawing again with a continuous line. You can look at your paper this time. This technique is a good way to get over a need for perfection.

And remember to have fun!

Other prompt and challenge groups abound on the Internet:
Doodlewash offers daily challenges to watercolorists.  

Sheila Delgado shares Leslie Saeta's 30 Paintings in 30 Days on her website.

ArtWork Archive: 


Just received notice that this piece received
an honorable mention at
the Palo Alto Pacific Art League Member Exhibition



  1. From Cheryl by email: CONGRATULATIONS on your Honorable Mention!

    It reminds me as a kid digging a hole in our backyard and telling the other kids surround us that I could see China. It was like telling my Cousins I could see Santa in the sky with his reindeer and it was time to go to sleep so he would come. :)

    It was a great idea, and we are so very happy they thought so too.


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