100 meadows

by | Sep 10, 2017 | Artistic Endeavors, Oil Painting | 50 comments

Even though I’m still relatively new to “fine art” painting, I feel a pull to it on a regular basis.  I love the creative muscles I can flex when I’m working on my home, but there is something different about putting something on a blank canvas or piece of paper.  I hope to one day create a lot of art for the walls of my home and maybe even officially claim the title of “artist”.

With Lucketts and moving and settling in, I haven’t had a lot of time to paint.  There were other priorities.  And even when we moved out of our last house and I figured I would have all of this time to devote to art, I didn’t.  I was just too drained and life was too chaotic.

Now that the boys are in school and this home is feeling more like home and we’re starting to find rhythm to our life in Minnesota…it’s time.  Yes, I have about a million other things I need to be doing, but I also need to take time to do things that are for me and I’m really working on that now.

So, when I’ve had time here and there, I’ll sneak into the studio and work on some small things – printing up and creating color charts, taking an inventory of my paint and supplies…

…cutting and toning canvas papers, and setting up a new watercolor landscape palette for sketches.

I found that just “playing with my supplies” helped me warm up.  I was feeling rusty and intimidated and that time was just what I needed to bolster my courage.

And then Michelle Wooderson, my #1 source of artistic inspiration, announced a project she would be working on – painting 100 meadows in oil by the end of the year.  I told her right away that I would most likely not be able to do 100 by the end of the year, but I would join her in painting meadows.

It was a good push and just the one I needed.  So, I started painting on Friday.

The first one I worked on really frustrated me.  I know there is so much I don’t know and I’m doing 1000 things wrong and I’m such an amateur!  That cloud, that was so beautiful to observe and photograph, was a total jerk to paint.  But, I kept working it and gave myself permission to be the artist I am and I pushed through.

And I made the cloud just a wispy hint of a cloud.

I learned from the first one that these 4 x 6 canvases are not the place to get too stuck on detail, so in the second one, I simplified the sky and tried to have more fun with the process and colors.

The gravel road became streaked with yellows and blues and I tried to not fuss with the paint so much.

In the third one, I tried to add more detail in the texture of the grass and yellow weeds.  Not too much, but just some subtle up-strokes.

My palette is a total mess, but I’m just going with it.  I’m sure there is a benefit to being more organized, but I just sort of hop around, mixing and adding willy-nilly.

There’s something so pretty about that, though, isn’t there?

Even the rag I use for cleaning off the brushes is pretty!

If there is interest, I can share more detail on the supplies I’m using, etc., but just keep in mind that I’m just learning myself, so I might lead you astray!

For those who aren’t interested in art at all, I wanted to share this as an encouragement to just go for it.  Whatever IT is for you.  Quit buying the gear and dreaming about it and wishing for it.  Just do it…knowing you might not be the best, knowing it’ll be frustrating and hard at times. But also know that there is reward in challenging yourself, growing, and yes, even in failure.

As the saying goes, “You’ll never know if you never try.”

If you want to follow along as I paint meadows, I’ll be sharing more on Instagram and my Instagram Stories.

PS – Go Redskins!



  1. Kathryn Riddle

    I appreciate your comment, “The cloud was being a total jerk to paint.” (I’ve never thought about the process as that, but you are so correct!) Question–how do you attach your canvas to the cardboard backing?

  2. Rebecca

    I appreciate your frankness and sharing of your joys and frustrations as a beginning painter. I feel the same way. I’m tired of hearing myself say “I want to paint” and then doing nothing about it.
    Last week we buried my dad, now to clean out and sell his house. ONCE that is done, I hope to designate days in the week that I set aside for painting. You are inspiring me with the 100 meadows…or 100 flowers…or whatever it is as a subject. I need to practice and put all those classes I’ve taken to good use.
    Thank you so much for your willingness to share and your push to do whatever it is!
    Someday I hope to post that I am an artist/painter. It will be a while!

  3. Carolyn

    Pleased to learn that, although, you are not the artist you hope to become, you are accepting of the place you find yourself right now today! In my opinion this is the place you have to get to, in order to have the confidence to continue the journey of where you want to be, and all the while, you will have fun learning and enjoy the journey. This is how I was able to be successful with my food addiction. I finally was able to accept my body at any particular place I happened to find myself at a point in time. I would go ahead and buy a larger size if necessary, which would actually help me feel better about how I looked. I would reinforce the idea that I would continue to try eating healthier and hopefully need to buy a smaller siz next time. I hope this makes sense. I guess the bottom line is to be more accepting of ourselves at what ever place we find ourselves. Ps: I think you are amazing at everything you do. I thinking you are the Energizer Bunny!

  4. Julia

    Are you working in acrylic or oil? Are you working on flat canvas panels?

  5. April

    It is relaxing just to see your process and paints/supplies. I find painting very relaxing. Inspiring!

  6. Cynthia

    Love that meadow!
    Would love to lay down I need it and gaze the sky.

  7. Cynthia

    Would love to lay down in it

  8. Marlene Stephenson

    I use to take lessons and paint about 15 yrs. ago and i truly loved it, then my husband passed away and i have never been able to do it again. I keep telling myself someday. I just know i will.

  9. Nancy

    Sooooo glad you’re a Redskins fan!

  10. Linda

    You’re so inspiring to me. Please do share the supplies you use. I’d like to dip my toe into this water. 😉

  11. Donna Doble-Brown

    I need to get this easel . . . And some more paints! I will be forever grateful to you for the encouragement to go for it!

  12. Kim

    After not painting anything for 10 years, just like that, I am back at it again! Did my first painting on Wednesday last week, and will start another one tomorrow. My kids are thrilled!

  13. Chris Moore

    Marian, serious question. What is the point of color charts? I see other artists do them and have never understood. Can you PLEASE tell me? Thanks.

    • Marian Parsons

      Because most of the pigments straight out of the tubes aren’t natural…found in nature or on the human skin, etc, so you need to mix colors to end up with a more realistic-looking painting. It also expands the colors at your disposal. Tubes of quality paint can be very expensive, but you can mix thousands of colors with just a few tubes. Having color charts takes some of the guess-work out.

      • Chris Moore

        Thank you SO much. It always seemed like so much work, for what? Now I get. Thanks.

  14. Nancy J

    Marian, I felt like you were talking to me today. I am one with all the great “stuff”, but not taking the time and challenge to get started. Thank you for that. Also, I like your style of painting; you see things the same way I would. I love the softer lines and blurred detail…even the jerk cloud. 🙂

  15. Crystal

    You are fabulously talented. Love this post.

  16. Sherry Kurtz

    I love your message to just TRY–so often I think our minds take over and we listen to our self-criticisms and don’t even take one step toward what we want. Good for you for pushing past that!

    Also, I have to tell you that you are now just above WI, so could EASILY become a Packer’s fan! GO PACK!! 😉

  17. Barbara H.

    Yep, so many supplies but never the time – or decision – to just do it. Your meadows cry out for a few grazing sheep when I look at them. Thanks for keeping it ALL real.

  18. D.

    Thank you for sharing your paintings. Also appreciated the explanation of color charts. Have you ever checked out Ashley Hackshaw at lilblueboo.com? She is doing a painting a day for the 365 days of 2017. You may be mutually inspirational.

  19. Laurel

    Your post reminded me of today’s sermon on not trying to be perfect….we don’t have to be! In painting or anything. That’s the whole point of grace.

  20. Kathryn

    You can save and reuse your oil paints by putting some plastic wrap over the palette and placing in the freezer.

  21. Gilda

    anybody would be lucky to be able to purchase your paintings…they are truly luminous. how about printing them into sets of notecards?????

  22. Kim in MN

    And your next side business will be…allowing us to order copies of your prints!

  23. Dana Wall

    1. If you aren’t and artist, I don’t know who is. 2. I would pay good money just to hang your palette on the wall! 3. I think some Tuscan landscapes in 2018 would be amazing. You go girl <3

  24. janet maly

    Your blog always makes me happy !! Your work is inspirational !!
    Thanks for sharing you life !!

  25. Norma Rolader

    My goodness love your frankness about your art, ups and downs!!! I use to do a lot of painting and sketching!! I do not know why there is probably a number of reasons but with the way you have describe it I think I will have to get back into it Thank you and God bless

  26. Sherry Stuifbergen

    I would like to know what you use for water colors and how you get your color palette charts,..where to do you get your paints, (brand)…the whole smear of what you have to create with…what one would need to start out doiing water colors. There is interest in your fan club.

  27. AnnW

    You wouldn’t expect to teach yourself how to play the piano, so don’t expect to be self taught in painting! My mother-in-law graduated from the Kansas City Art Institute, a four year college, but she continued to take lessons for years and years. There is so much to learn, many different techniques and materials. Make time for yourself every week, because you deserve it.

    • Marian Parsons

      I agree and it is my goal to take some classes, hopefully at an art school, when I’m able to. My husband has to finish his Master’s degree first and then it will be my turn! 🙂

      Until then, I am taking classes through Jeanne Oliver’s Creative Network and on You Tube, etc. I also had a trained artist friend I started painting with in PA and hope to find someone in MN to do that with.

  28. Meredith MacRitchie (25302)

    Michelle has been a source of inspiration for me for years! When she was more into paper crafting, I couldn’t get enough of her projects. Now, with her art, I love watching the same loose, organic style emerge in her painting that I loved so much in her crafts. She’s just so easy to watch!

    I absolutely love your paintings too… I am looking forward to watching your style evolve as well! And good for you, for taking time for yourself and priority!

  29. Maggie

    I love your message in this post; challenge yourself, keep trying, just do it!

    I am nearing retirement age now, but when I was only 16 years old, I rented a floor sanding machine and refinished the floors in my bedroom.
    There was no Internet and no YouTube videos to show you how-tos.
    No one told me how to do it or said that I couldn’t do it, I just went for it.
    And I have been that way all of my life.
    Just go for it!

  30. Christie

    Love the “Go Redskins” at the very bottom of your post. It made me laugh out loud at 5:50 in the morning.

    Thanks to your “sketching tips & tools” post I got a notebook, some pencils and an eraser. I also bought an inexpensive book on how to draw. It has been very rewarding to sit down the last few days and work on learning to draw.

    I always thought my mom and brothers were the “artists” in the family. While I love to paint furniture (there are only a couple of pieces in my house I have not painted) and decorate my house, I never thought I could draw or paint pictures. Posts like this one on painting the meadows I find very encouraging. I don’t know if I will ever get to painting pictures but I appreciate you sharing your struggles because it is good to know that this is a process. It takes time and to continue to work through frustrating moments while developing a new skill.

    Thanks for sharing your life with us.

    • Marian Parsons

      Fat lotta good my “go Redskins” did yesterday. Ugh. Anyway, good for you for getting some sketch supplies and going for it! 🙂

  31. Linda

    Thanks for sharing. I love the colors and simplicity of fields (though not simple to paint). I like to dabble once in a while with paints, but I’m no artist. You are right, it’s good to just do it, not matter what it is. The creative process is what feeds us.

  32. Susan Guillebeau

    I love the painting, will you sell any?

    • Marian Parsons

      Yes, I plan to sell them at a low cost, just to let them go out in the world and give me some money for more supplies.

  33. Heidi

    I love your meadows! Little landscapes like that are like little windows to me, and always draw my eye in. I would buy one in a heartbeat if you decide to sell! Love your many-faceted talents and gumption!

  34. angela

    you should watch Bob Ross on PBS.

    • Marian Parsons

      I actually do!! I don’t like his style, personally, but I love how casual he is and how he takes the intimidation out of painting with oils. Plus, he’s just super cool!

  35. kf

    Thanks for sharing, Marian! It’s been inspiring to see you transition from furniture to fine art – and to see your beautiful style develop with time and practice! Would you please share any material lists and fun/interesting techniques you use in your painting? Have you picked a favorite medium yet…watercolors…pastels….oils…?

    Thanks for being so open and generous in sharing your work – even when you’re not completely satisfied with it. As someone who’s been hiding drawings and paintings under the bed (for more years than you’ve been alive), your courage is contagious; some of those dusty old things are starting to make an appearance around the house…and I’m eyeing that cabinet full of painting supplies again…thank you, brave, talented girl!

  36. Finch Furnishings

    Episode 3 of the Etsy Success podcast had a great interview with an artist who had no formal training and didn’t start “doing” art until her 30s. She talks quite a bit about impostor syndrome and how scary it was to call herself an artist. It’s really a great listen!

  37. Mary

    I love the one with the gravel road! If you decide to sell, I would love to buy it. And I think you are an artist! So talented in many things….you are truly blessed.

  38. MaryLisa Noyes

    It’s amazing! I’m not an artist but this post gave me the shove to start a monagram project I’ve been researching on my new sewing machine. The intimidation was stopping me so no more…thank you.

  39. Jennifer

    Marian, my mom paints with oils and messy palates and rags are some of my fondest memories, along with the smell of turpentine. Thanks for the lovely memories this morning. 🙂

  40. Lisa

    Would love more information! The third painting is my favorite – your Willy-milky approach worked perfectly.

  41. Lisa Bue

    Hi! Having grown up in MN (the Red River Valley- I am a prairie girl transplanted to the city of Edina MN), I have to say your paintings are lovely and so evocative—- you have done a beautiful job of capturing your new surroundings! It pleases me that you and your family are feeling at home in MN- we love our state and it has such diverse geographical areas that all have their own beauty and majesty- from the Great Lakes and Boundary Waters to the river valleys to the prairie to the farmlands. You will have ample material to fuel your artistic passions! Bless. Have loved you since I discovered “Inspired You” at a time in my life when I deeply needed that loveliness and grace. Thank you for shining your light on us all- Peace be with you and your family.

  42. Carolyn

    Marian, I always love my paper plate palettes. When I am done with the painting, I save the palettes for future collages.

  43. Jane

    You are an inspiration! I want to paint especially watercolors but I am so inhibited by the thought of failing that I don’t even start. To me, your paintings look so professional. I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and aspirations.

  44. Bridget

    Have you thought about doing a PDF for the photos? I’d love to paint some of these meadows!


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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…


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