Friday, January 18, 2013


When I was perusing some of my handmade watercolor journals in order to photograph some of them for my Flickr account, I was reminded of a winter challenge I've given myself in the past.  Seems I get a little "stuck" in the winter, so several years ago while I was on staff at Holden Village <> I remembered something I read about setting a challenge of say 30 days of painting (or sketching) the same scene each morning.  The idea was that no page of artwork would be the same, because as artists, we bring our thoughts and emotions with us as we work, that wherever we happen "to be" (inside) does affect what we "see."

I was fortunate at the time to be living at 3000' el. in the remote North Cascades of Washington.  And I was doubly fortunate to have a front window view on the 2nd floor that looked south to the stunning Copper Basin, flanked on both sides by perfectly peaked mountains.  My view overlooked the lodges and "hotel" of the village, and the tall pine trees nearby added to the perfection of the framed scene.

So each morning for the next 30 days, I sat at my desk and painted what I saw.  Since I was also interested in the concept of where I was emotionally, I wrote a few journal notes with each sketch.  Sometimes I was up before daylight, and I could see the stars, and there was enough moonlight that I could see everything.

Well I really enjoyed the exercise, so I gave myself another challenge. When I went out of the village for a weekend, I found one of those winter cabbages at a nursery in Seattle and I brought it with me, on the 30 mile boat ride up Lake Chelan, to Lucerne, and on up the 11 mile mountain road in an old schoolbus, to Holden Village, and into my chalet apartment.  And for the next 30 days, I painted my cabbage!  What fun!  I kept the cabbage  outside, bringing it in each morning to draw.  A few times it snowed! and so I had to work fast to  get a sketch before the mound of snow on the cabbage melted!

Jump forward to October of 2011 when I created a small "studio" area in our den, so I could return to my art.  I decided to give myself a challenge again: 30 days of sketching the view out my back window, where I sit at my art desk.  Once again, it was so interesting to see how different every sketch turned out.  During those 30 days, we got a 6" snowfall!! - and I LOVE to paint snow scenes!!  Come around for my next posting, and I will share a few of the sketches from that challenge as well as a couple small paintings I did while we had snow.  Thanks for visiting my blog.


  1. Congratulations, Peggy, on starting this online journal! I'm enjoying the text and relating your stories to my own art experiences. I don't know much about watercolor as a medium, so I'm hoping to learn a bit from you. Best wishes.

  2. Thank you for commenting. I hope you will continue to follow the blog, and let me know if you have specific questions.

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  4. Great start and beautiful colors. Love your cabbages!