100 meadows project | 61-80

by | Dec 18, 2017 | Art, Artistic Endeavors, Oil Painting | 24 comments

When I made the half-hearted commitment to paint 100 meadows, I didn’t think I would make it this far.  I was planning on not making it this far.  But, this challenge has been a surprise and a gift.  I never expected to see this much progress or to experience this much growth.  I didn’t know I would start to feel at home in front of an easel and working with oils, a medium that was so foreign and intimidating, would become a preference.

Above all, it’s shown me that artistic ability, which most of us stand back and watch people who possess it with some element of wonder and envy, can be learned, practiced, and improved.  Seeing that truth play out at the end of my own brush has encouraged me to challenge myself even further and not shy away from subjects that intimidate me.

I hope some of you have been encouraged through watching my journey as well.  My paintings aren’t perfect or even all that great compared to trained artists with thousands of studio hours under their belt, but I can see clear progress from painting #1 to painting #80 and I know they will keep getting better and better as I continue to practice and soak in all of the information I can about oil painting.

Some areas I really worked on during this 20 were…

  • clouds
  • mixing more natural greens
  • varied brushwork
  • capturing light
  • foreground detail
  • structures
  • depth and perspective

So, here is the next batch – numbers 61-80…

If number 61 looks familiar, that’s because it’s the twin to number 60.  This is the last painting where I painted two versions side-by-side.  It was a great exercise, but I wanted to change things up and paint different subjects.  Numbers 60-61 are still some of my favorites, though.  I love the barns and was proud of the background trees and the wildflowers.

This one is a redo of number 11 (see below).  I really loved the sky and mood in this picture and wanted to tackle it again.  I painted it without looking at number 11 and I was pretty shocked when I compared the two.  I think this was the first time I felt like I could clearly see marked improvement.  My brushwork was more varied, my colors were better, and it had a softer look overall.


This one was a little tricky, because I was using a reference photo that was pretty heavily filtered, but I loved the farmhouse and wanted to experiment with a more playful style.  Overall, I like this one, but the shadow of the house is going in the wrong direction!

I used a glaze for the first time on this painting and I love how it turned out.  The greens were a little bright, so I toned it with a soft brown/red when it was dry.  I’m excited to experiment with glazes more.

I will admit that I was scared to paint this one!  I knew I need to work on my foregrounds and the only way I would do that is if I painted pieces that needed detailed foregrounds.  So, I selected this one and had a real breakthrough.  I used a mop brush to tap on the white wild flowers and it worked!

I continued the foreground work by picking this picture that was all about the foreground.  It was a challenge, but I was pleased overall with how it turned out.

 I painted this one with some leftover paint from number 66.  I didn’t use a specific inspiration picture, but combined a few together for a quick and simple landscape.

I was excited after completing this one!  It was my best road and fence to date!  I’m learning by this point that I really like painting roads, barns, and fences.

I wanted to focus on light and shadow, so I selected this photo as a challenge.  I struggle when the green grass and trees were taken away and the shadows across the road aren’t lining up right, but I did like the shadows on the road in the foreground and I learned a lot from this painting.

This was another one I was scared to paint, but that’s why I finally picked it.  I was certain I would butcher that windmill!  It’s not perfect, but I am happy with it overall.

I decided to really focus on clouds, so I took an online cloud study class and it helped a lot.  I selected this painting to do after those studies, since the clouds were the star of this reference photo.  I really love the movement in this one, even if the foreground is a little clumsy.

This painting is another repeat (see original below).  I painted #41 again, but I changed out the barn and worked on depth and light.  The clouds, greens, depth, and light are all improved, but the barn wasn’t shaded properly and the shadow got away from me a little bit.  All things to take note of and work on next time!  I do love the foreground, though, and the background trees on the left.

And I decided to redo another one I wasn’t satisfied with, #26.  I think I made improvements, but I also learned that the inspiration picture (which I took), didn’t really give me much to work with.

So, I started sorting through my photos to find pictures with dramatic light.  This one definitely had that!  I was about ready to throw in the towel halfway through, but I pushed on and I love how it turned out.

So, I went for another sunset and dramatic sky.  This one really pushed me and it took me a long time to work and rework that sky, but I’m glad I embraced it.  I was also more comfortable leaving parts of the painting darker.

Now, I am in love with light!  I’ve read about how key lighting is, but now I was experiencing it.  I found this field with a pool of light in the middle and it was perfect to continue to play with light and shadow.  This is one of my favorites.

I found an old photo on my phone of a picture I took in Gettysburg one evening.  The shadows and sky were dramatic and perfectly suited to paint.  I love the silo, but some of the buildings are a little…unfinished, maybe?  They could’ve used a little more details, I think.  They were blown out in the photo, though.

If you remember the haystack/meatball paintings from the last batch…  well, I decided to work on my haystacks.  This one also had stunning clouds and some pretty light, so it was a good study.  I think we can agree that they don’t look like meatballs, right?

On with the challenge and let’s try snow!  I will say that snow isn’t my favorite, but it was a good opportunity to try something new.  I did wimp out and I didn’t paint the horse, but I was very happy with the barn.  I felt like my siding was getting better!

And number 80 is definitely my favorite so far!  I used the photo below as inspiration, but I “zoomed in” and added more dramatic light.  I enjoyed every minute of painting this one and I can see (and feel) my confidence growing.

And, just in case you forget where I started, here is #1 and #80 together…

All of the originals have sold, but prints of 1-80 are available on Society6.  And I’ll be painting more.  Twenty more landscapes and then I’m going to start another challenge.  I put up a poll on my Instagram Stories…Portraits or Clouds?  Portraits won out by a narrow margin.  I’m not going to paint 100, but let’s so 50.  The 50 faces project.

I will be asking for photo reference submissions, but wait to send them in until I give details about what photos will make good studies for me.  I need pictures that will make things easy for me in the beginning!  I’m looking forward to it, though.  I will continue painting barns, roads, fences, and meadows, though, so I don’t lose the skills I’ve been developing.

I’ll also give an updated post, sharing what I’ve learned so far about oil painting and how my preferences are already changing.

If you want to follow the journey more closely, you can follow my Instagram Stories or follow my art Instagram @marianparsonsart.

If you missed my earlier posts on oiling painting or the 100 meadows project, you can find them here…

100 meadows | 1 – 20

100 meadows | 21 – 40

100 meadows | 41-60

What I’ve learned so far | part 1

What I’ve learned so far | part 2



  1. karen

    You can see your progress and improvement so clearly!!
    Great job Marian!

  2. Marian

    Marian, watching this project has been a revelation for me. I am right on the cusp of going back into fine art, and this project totally has me thinking. It has been riveting seeing your progress. So thanks for being brave enough to share, even in the beginning. I think that’s the hardest, going public before you have any real confidence in your work. I have been wanting to paint clouds for years, so I may start my 100 project there. But I think I will try bouncing between mediums, as I like mix medium collage. Can you share the online source you used for the cloud studies?
    Thanks for being brave,
    The Other Marian

  3. liz

    If I may be so bold as to make a suggestion – go see some landscape paintings in person. Your work is really coming along and it would help to see others work up close.

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, that would be fun! I look online, but it would be great to see some in person.

  4. michele

    love each and every one! just beautiful!

  5. Bonnie

    You have to be encouraged by the improvements you have made. I purchased 2 of the prints because I collect barn prints and because #54 is in my own back yard in South Carolina and #60 because I loved the foreground. Thanks for choosing to feature our barn and I can only say I’m sorry I missed getting the original. You always inspire.

    • Marian Parsons

      Which barn was yours, Bonnie?

  6. Jeanie

    Very nice work!!

  7. Sandra Boff

    Gees-o-man! You are rocking it. Your progress is amazing. OK the paved road needs work. Thought it was supposed to be a stream until I saw the photo but the rest. Just wow!

    • Marian Parsons

      Ha! Yeah, that one was tough!

  8. logan wilhelm

    WOW is all I can say….you coming along so beautifully! Not an artist, but enjoy looking at your paintings and prefer them to some you have worked from. Thanks for sharing!

    Merry Christmas to you and all your family!

  9. Rosanna

    Love,Love,love the #80..the “zoomed in on the barn”!!It should be a “Miss Mustard Seed classic”!!!!!

  10. Nancy

    I can really see the improvement in your brush strokes as I see me more scenery, as opposed to visible brush strokes,. Nice job.

  11. Tori Carver

    These really are wonderful. I have enjoyed seeing you improve with each painting. May I suggest bodies of water for your next, next project? Oceans, ponds, lakes …

  12. Marlene Stephenson

    You are doing really good it all takes practice.

  13. Norma Rolader

    WOW!!!! What great inspirations and you are getting so good!!! Love all your meadows

  14. Mary S

    Good thing I don’t have to choose the best one… #69 I thought was pretty darn nice.
    Lots of great talent out there. I coudn’t draw a box with a ruler… sadly…
    Keep on painting!

  15. Cindy

    These are actually really amazing Marian! You’re a natural. I didn’t really even start painting until i was your age. I think my favorite is the one you almost “threw the towel in” on… and the Gettysburg painting… I like that there aren’t details in the barn and silo. I love meadows, and you’ve done an incredible job with the greens. I struggle so with green… So cool that you have been brave with those blank canvases and just gone for it. I think so many people could paint if they weren’t intimidated… although, I have to admit, half the time i start a new painting i experience some form of … what was I thinking!


  16. Monica

    These are all so lovely Marian! I would love to see you do a video that shows how you go from the under painting to getting started with the color on the canvas. I’m having trouble understanding how all that brown doesn’t muddy up the colors you put on top – especially the whites and blues. I truly admire your talent!

  17. Cindy D

    I am an artist too. I love all kinds of art. But acrylic painting was my first love. I have to admit that working with oils intimidates me as well. I wish I knew you when you started this project, I would have been glued to your blog for inspiration to challenge myself as well. Congratulations on your feat.

  18. Diane Ruebel

    MMS! How delightful to be a part of your oil painting 100! I hope you will juxtaposition #1 and #100 when you reach your goal.
    Admiring your creations in the image of the Creator,
    Diney on Camano

  19. Krista

    Wow, such talent! I think each one is amazing!

  20. Barbara Christensen

    Hi Marian, I am so enjoying this series. I too have tried to pick up brush, but I just would not devote the time necessary as you have. You are inspiring me to try again. One thing I did do, however, once, was take a fundamentals of drawing class at an art college. Our professor was a wonderful, teacher. There was one exercise in particular that moved me forward in my sketching by leaps and bounds. Understanding the infinity point or points in the work. This especially applies to structures. So, for example, using the photo, place a ruler along the roof ridge of the barn, draw an imaginary line, really long, off the right side of the picture onto scrap paper. Repeat for the next 3 lines created by the changes in roof pitch (these are parallel to the roof ridge). At some point, these four lines will merge into one at the infinity point. Like looking down railroad tracks. Learning this was such an AHA moment for me. I hope you find it helpful too when composing scenes with buildings in them.

  21. Donna

    I love that you have shared your progress. I prefer each of your paintings to the original photographs. Looking forward to following your next challenge.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


Marian Parsons - Miss Mustard Seed

I’m Marian, aka Miss Mustard Seed, a wife, mother, paint enthusiast, lover of all things home and an entrepreneur, author, artist, designer, freelance writer & photographer.  READ MORE to learn more about me, my blog and my business…

Let's Connect


Subscribe today

and receive a FREE e-version of my planning sheets!

decorating, projects, and recipes for winter

  • parker house rolls
    Have you tried the “Parker House Rolls” recipe by Half Baked Harvest?  You can find the printable recipe and all of the details HERE.  I made them last year for […]
  • mini advent stocking tutorial | Christmas crafts
    Disclosure: This mini advent stocking tutorial is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions shared are honest and my own. When I shared my mini advent stockings just […]
  • polymer clay ornaments & tags | christmas crafts
    Are you ready for another Christmas craft?  I have just a couple more to share this week leading up to Christmas.  I have been wanting to play with polymer clay […]
  • custom cut gift tags | Christmas crafts
    Disclosure: This post on custom cut gift tags is sponsored by Walmart.  As always, all words and opinions are honest and my own. I’m squeezing in as much Christmas crafting […]


Articles by Date


our sponsors

Bliss and Tell Branding Company

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This