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In the Studio This Week – Christmas Gift-Giving and a Little Art

In the studio this week, I tried to squeeze a little art in but mainly focused on spending time with family. I spent nearly one whole day going full on “Suzy Homemaker” mode in the kitchen and baking up sweets for the weekend. I don’t bake much anymore, and I could tell I was out of practice. I finished up a painting for the Christmas gift-giving, one from Kaleidoscope 2023, and started a mixed media piece from week 19 of The Mastery Program.

Finishing Up from Kaleidoscope 2023

I had started this little watercolor piece from a lesson by Andrea Gomoll of Cre8tive Cre8tions. I posted the initial sketch I did back in early November. This was fairly easy to finish up. The hardest part was waiting for the watercolor to dry between colors or at least not work in the same area.

Watercolor painting of two scandanavian children

Finishing a Gift for Christmas Gift-Giving

My brother is a big fan of tiki culture and I thought he would appreciate a painting with a tiki theme. I used the technique from the optical mixing lesson from The Mastery Program. I then overlaid a painting of a tiki totem and a smaller tiki near the parrot’s beak. My husband suggested I put a straw in it and make it a drink mug. I titled this one “Polly Wants a Mai-Tai. My brother was pleased with it!

Polly Wants a Mai TAi

Mixed Media Painting Using Mark-Making

Week 19 of the Master Program ventures into Mark-Making, Inks, and Archetypes. The painting exercise is to use various mark-making techniques to serve as the base layer of eventually a finished painting using mixed media. I tried to capture the steps of the process. The first step was to choose a source image. I chose this horse, keeping with my horse theme:

Photo reference of a White Arabian Horse

Next, I drew the picture on a 22” x 30” piece of watercolor paper.

Pencil drawing of an Arabian hourse

Then, I outlined the drawing using acrylic markers. I was pretty happy so far.

Horse drawing with acrylic markers

The next part was scary. I used water soluble graphite putty, china markers, and water-soluble crayons to scribble like a drunken monkey all over the surface. I tried to not cover up the horse too much. This is the ugly stage, no doubt.

Initial Painting of a horse using various mark-making techniques and tools

The next step was to start laying in transparent acrylic paint mixed with a glazing medium. Some of the key features come into focus in this step.

Second layer of the painting of a horse using acrylic glazes

Next, I used white acrylic paint and applied it using the scumbling method (similar to scrubbing with a paintbrush) to soften the background and give further definition to the horse.

Painting of a horse using scumbling

Finally, opaque layers were applied to further define and highlight the main features. The instructor advises to continue the painting using oil paint. I’m not sure I’ll get to that at his step as I’m supposed to complete another painting for this week.

Final version of the painting of an Arabian horse


The final few lessons of week 18 did not involve any actual painting but were focused on techniques to help find my artist’s voice. One lesson was devoted to finding my archetype. An archetype is defined by the Mastery Program as “A repeated pattern of behavior based on the decisions you’ve made or wish to make in your life.” The Program further states that “Knowing your archetypes helps you discover repeated patterns in your artwork and to help you understand your personal symbolism. Your archetypes are the “characters” in you and they will come out in your work. You will paint your archetypes without even realizing it. Studying archetypes will help you identify and give meaning to what you are already doing.”

I did the exercises and chose my three main archetypes and homed in on The Creator, The Sage, and The Lover. I will see how this comes into play as I further progress through The Mastery Program.


I found I was able to get some art done even over the Christmas holiday and with company. Thankfully, the lessons for week 18 of The Mastery Program were less intense than some of the previous weeks.

I learned some new techniques and am learning more about myself as an artist. Let’s see where this all ends up.

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