Strawberry in Pastel // Odd Limited Supply Challenge

Hi friends! The kids have been home on vacation all week so my schedule has been a bit weird. I don’t have a typical Sketchbook Sunday post for today but I did challenge myself to use the intersting combination of supplies in the January Smart Art box.


If you would like to see my recommendations for pastel supplies and get in-depth step by step instructions on using soft pastel please check out my Soft Pastel for Beginner Class and save 50% through 2/28/19. *Use coupon code COLOR if the discount doesn’t appear.


Now on to the video!

This video is sponsored by Smart Art Box! Visit their website to purchase a subscription, see available past boxes and see what countries they ship to.

Supplies (from January 2019 Smart Art Box which can be purchased here while supplies are available)


I hope you are having a nice weekend and til next time happy crafting!


A Botanical for Beginners!

Howdy friends! Today I have an easy step-by-step botanical tutorial for beginners!


Grab your supplies, watch the video and follow along!

Supplies available at sponsor Jerry’s Artarama!  Use coupon code: frugal20FS49 for 20% off $49 + Free Shipping (Excludes: Sale, Super Sale, Egift Cards, Buy It Try It’s and Vendor restricted items. Look for the green coupon eligible icon on the product listing.

Don’t be intimidated in painting botanical subjects. If you are new pick a subject you are interested in. If you can work from a live plant of fruit in real life it is the most enriching experience. Take your time, get lost in the subject and enjoy the beauty of nature. If you want more help on your watercolor journey including step by step technique instructions check out my Essential Tools for Watercolor Painting course. It is my most popular class. I have helped thousands of students achieve their artistic goals in my online classes and I’d love to help you too! Happy crafting!


Sketchbook Sunday! Oil Pastel Avocado Anyone?

Hi friends! Since launching my Soft Pastel for Beginners course last week (FYI it’s 50% off for the month of February with coupon code COLOR) I have been asked a lot about oil pastels. I did not include oil pastels in that course as their properties are different but I did have fun playing with them this week in my sketchbook! The first brand I used (as shown in today’s video) was Royal & Langnickle. They seemed a bit weak and very crumbly but still got the job done with a bit of help from some oil paint.


Then I decided to see what else I had and I found a set of Pentel. They were much more pigmented and creamy, cost less than the Royal & Langnickle and are widely available. I sketched the egg on avocado toast picture with the Pentel, no oil paint needed. I don’t have a lot of brands of oil pastels, mostly they come in kits with other things so I don’t have a comprehensive overview of all the brands. I have been thinking about trying the Sennelier brand but I really need to prove to myself that they are something I will really use as I can have the tendency to fall in love with a product and they have to try all the brands and lose interest. Please say I am not alone in that…


In today’s sketchbook Sunday video I am working in my old faithful Fabriano Venice book. I like working on toned paper so I used some gouache to make a background. enjoy!

Supplies (Affiliate links used)

This was a lot of fun but I enjoyed painting the avocado toast more because the Pentel pastels were creamier, they reminded me of using Cray-Pas as a kid in school. I loved it when the teacher let us use those in class! Sometime you need to go back to feeling like a kid again when you create!

If you are interested in learning about soft pastels (the chalky ones) please check out my new Soft Pastel for Beginners Class, I have a 50% off launch month special running through the end of February, simply click on the discount link in the blog post or use coupon code COLOR if the discount doesn’t appear. Thanks for stopping by and til next time happy crafting!

Arteza Metallic Gouache and 60 Color Set Review

Hi friends! Recently the company who makes my current favorite gouache came out with a 12 color metallic gouache set and a new 60 color assortment that contains the 24 color I use on the regular, the 12 metallics and others!


Arteza gouache is an affordable student grade gouache available is sets of 12, 24 and 60. FYI Affiliate links are used in this review. These can be purchased on Amazon or directly from the Arteza Website. *use coupon code FRUGAL10 to get 10% off your order on the Arteza website only.
Video Review


  • Price
  • Pigment information and lightfast ratings on each color.
  • Smooth opaque colors
  • Saturated colors mix cleanly
  • Color selection is nice
  • No issues with cracking or adhesion
  • Workes well as a layer in mixed media
  • Perfect velvet matte finish


  • No open stock colors

Here are the photos of the swatches I promised:


Let’s looks at the 12 set of metallic colors. Amazon $23.99 or Arteza website $25.98 These colors are very opaque with a subtle pearl sheen. The color does not change when tipped towards or away from the light as metallic watercolors do so you can be sure your artwork will look the same no mater what angle it is viewed from or if it is behind glass. These colors are also true on light or dark paper so no surprises. They are great for rescuing a failed watercolor too! The downside is you don’t get the flashy shimmer like you do with metallic watercolors like the Paul Rubens metallic watercolors I compared in the video.

Bottom line: I have been using the original 24 set for a year and love it, it’s is very slow wearing so it really goes a long way. I hope they eventually come out with open stock colors so I can purchase larger tubes of the ones I run out of but since they give 2 whites in the sets it should keep me a while and I can always but that color from another brand and it will work fine. You can search arteza gouache on my YouTube channel and see these paints in action if you like. I can’t recommend them highly enough for the price and quality. I hope you found it helpful and til next time happy crafting!

Sketchbook Sunday & the messiest art product ever!

Hi friends! Before I get into this weeks Sketchbook Sunday Time-lapse I want to inform you of a glitch that is affecting some students on the Teachable platform where I host my online classes. If you are having trouble accessing a class you bought recently please email me at so I can fix it. The problem is not widespread but I wanted to make sure you were aware if you had trouble accessing a class you recently purchased. I am here to help:)

OK, now on to today’s mess… er, I mean project!


I think keeping a curious mind is important to everyone especially artists, and trying something new and novel is a good way to do that. When I saw a pot of charcoal powder at the art store I was intrigued and decided to buy some to try… and now, here is the rest of the story…


The real-time version of this tutorial is now up in Critique Club. Critique club is a group in my school were members can post up to two paintings a month they are working on and get an in-depth, personalized critique from me as well as encouraging feedback from other members. If that sounds like something that would be useful to you then you can learn more here. It costs $5 a month and you also get two real-time demos from my sketchbook Sunday series per month so you can watch over my shoulder as I work through the challenges I personally go through in my Sketchbook Sunday growth work.  I think it can be really helpful to see others confront challenges and plow through them and see what works and what doesn’t. I think it gives people courage to try and not worry about perfection, just growing skills and getting better than you were yesterday.

Art takes time and practice to get where you want to be and if you are lucky you will look for new challenges as you reach previous ones. Embrace the failures and the successes! You either succeed or you learn and that sounds like a win-win to me! Happy crafting!


Live Stream Today 1pm ET & A New Pastel Class!

Hi friends! Today we will paint a pretty snowy cardinal using soft pastels during a live stream. Sarah will be in the studio too! The gangs all here as they say:) I wanted to share a pastel lesson today to celebrate my new course Soft Pastel for Beginners! You can read more about that and get 50% off later in this blog post. 🙂


I am going to be working on velour paper but you can use any pastel or drawing (even watercolor paper) you like. I opted for velour because my live stream camera picks up EVERY little sound and you don’t hear the pastel sound on velour LOL! Below is an example I did on Hahnemule Ingres pastel paper which is a typical pastel paper.


You can use any pastels you have, simply hold them up to the screen next to the chart below to choose similar colors.


You can watch the live stream, or the replay, in the player below but if you want to chat live with us or ask questions as we go be sure to watch on YouTube.

Supplies (affiliate links used)

OK, Now some Exciting News!!! And 50% off!

My Pastel Class is Open for Enrollment! I have been working on this course for so long because I wanted to create a course that would take a beginner from using pastels for the first time to creating beautiful paintings with confidence and ease. I wanted it to use basic supplies that could be purchased inexpensively (or the student can use what they have) and I wanted to teach you about other materials that might better suit your style and preferences. This new course, Soft Pastel for Beginners, was born out of the desire to inspire you on your artistic journey!


In this course you will learn about the supplies for soft pastel painting and the techniques for using them so you can build a strong foundation. You will learn many ways to apply the pastel to create beautiful blends and the skills to create terrific textures.


I’ll show you how to care for your finished paintings, from using fixative, storing and cutting specialized mats and framing advice to display your stunning creations!


In this course I recommend a simple list of materials to get you started:


I believe that soft pastel is a medium anyone can enjoy but the most common issue students have with pastel is the mess on your hands and the “scratchiness” on the paper. If that sounds like you I’ll show you pan pastels, these are cakes of extra soft pastel that you apply with foam applicator. I will show you how they are used and how you can translate a stick pastel technique to pan pastels and vice versa.



I hope you join me on this pastel adventure and I am giving all of my friends 50% off with coupon code COLOR (or simply use one of the special discount links in this blog post) through the end of February.



Thank you for all of the support and encouragement you have given me as I worked on Soft Pastels for Beginners. I appreciate it so much. I hope you love the class and til next time happy crafting!


Portrait on Velour Paper Sketchbook Sunday!

Howdy friends! Today I am trying a new paper. It’s called Velour paper and it has a velvety flocked surface and it is amazing with soft pastels!


This paper has a bit of a learning curve to it, for one the pastels really don’t blend or dust on this paper. The fibers grab on to that pastel and hold tight. It makes the pastes feel extra soft and buttery and if you hate the dreaded scratchy noise some pastels can make this paper eliminates it. I really enjoyed working on it. Because you layer up with very little blending this painting have a rather long “hot mess” stage but I really like how it turned out and it was so much fun to work on I didn’t want to stop! See the process in the video below!

Supplies (Affiliate links used)

This painting took 45 minutes real-time to paint and I can’t wait to use this paper again. Someone suggested I paint a velvet Elvis next and I might have to give that a try, I do have black velour paper in that pack LOL! Later this week I will be launching a new beginner course “Introduction to Soft Pastels” so if you would like to learn more stay tuned! Til next time happy crafting!


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