30 day watercolor challenge update

Marian ParsonsWatercolors51 Comments

I started the 30 day watercolor challenge last month as a way to push myself as I’m learning this new-to-me medium.  I have gotten way behind, though!  I knew when I started that even though it was a 30 day challenge that certainly was meant to be done in 30 consecutive days, I probably wouldn’t be able to keep that pace with everything else happening.  So, I’ve made a point to not get stressed about it and just work through the list as I have the chance.

Here are the days I’ve done, picking up from where I left off on my last watercolor post


day 4 | book

That’s the Hunger Games Catching Fire, in case you didn’t know!


day 5 | drink (Izze is my favorite)


day 6 | fruit


day 7 | nuts (No, I don’t have an announcement!)


day 8 | mess or spill


day 9 | toothbrush


day 10 | pencils


day 11 | pen


day 12 | hair accessory

(I pushed myself on this one and I think this little lady is my favorite so far.)


day 13 | candy


day 14 | paperclips

(I admit that I sort of breezed through this one and the toothbrush day, because they weren’t very inspiring to me!)


day 15 | nail polish

There are some very talented people who joined me in the challenge and you can find them on Instagram using #30daywatercolorchallenge .

I’ve been toying with the idea of selling these originals.  There really isn’t a reason for me to hoard them and some of you have expressed an interest.  I’ll keep you posted on that.

Even though I haven’t been doing the watercolor challenge faithfully, I have been doing a lot of painting and sketching, but it’s work for clients, so I haven’t been able to share it.

Here are some sneak peeks, though…





One hurdle I need to get past is confidence and really viewing myself as an artist.  I approach each blank piece of paper with a lot of insecurities, thinking it’ll probably be passable, but never really great.

I think my work will grow even further when I relax and stop looking at pieces with such a critical eye.

I’m really, really enjoying it, though, which is a good thing, because I have a lot of painting and sketching to do this month!

30 day watercolor challenge update

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51 Comments on “30 day watercolor challenge update”

  1. Marian,
    They are great!! So happy you are enjoying it! Is Calvin painting with you??
    Again, glad you are able to make some time for this interest of yours. See you soon.

  2. Love them all. The pencils & cotton candy are my favorites. That camper I spy is right up my alley. I have a 69 Serro Scotty. I would love to see the finished product. You are so very talented. Love following you.

  3. These are very good! I admire how you get things done. You don’t seem to procrastinate and overthink everything and you manage to accomplish so much. Good inspiration for those of us “waiting for the perfect time, situation, etc.” to get started.

  4. Love! Especially the redhead (yes! I’m a redhead…just call me carrot-top, everyone else did while I was growing up!). Are you using MMS Milk Paint?

  5. An artist friend of mine gave me Elizabeth Gilbert’s book Big Magic. It’s all about inspiration, the creative process, being GOOD ENOUGH, etc. There’s nothing earth-shattering in it, but you might want to highlight some sentences and use them as a mantra before wetting your brush. Just to get you over that blank paper hump.

  6. Okay I am in a water color class currently. I LOVE the colored pencil picture!!
    What did you use to outline the trailer? Just a felt tip pen? Thanks for sharing.

  7. Love the girl with the blue bow. She looks like a childrens book character. Hmmm…. maybe something else to add to your lo g list of talents.

  8. All your watercolors are amazing but if I had to pick a favorite it would be the pencils. You are so very talented and I love reading your blog everyday.

  9. I think they’re all amazingly good! True talent there! I admire your ability to get so much accomplished every day!

  10. Watercolor painting cannot be rushed. I’ve been taking classes for years. Love it but it’s a difficult medium. But it does take patience and practice, practice, practice. It’s fun. You’re doing great. Keep it up.

  11. Great talent and ingenious ideas! Keep up the good work and have more faith in yourself.
    {as one watercolor artist to another…..;o)}

  12. I would love a chance to buy, especially “hair accessory” and the camper. I love them all! If only I had your talent! Beautiful! You can do it it all, amazing!
    Keep doing all that you do, but only if you’re enjoying yourself!

  13. The hardest part is always our own critical eye. If you didn’t know you had done these and saw them on a blog post, you would enjoy them just as much as we are!

  14. Love, love, love the beautiful redhead. Reminds me of my grand daughter. Would love to buy it for her. Such talent. You`re an inspiration.

  15. Love the new artwork, especially the colored pencils. Your work reminds me of the perfect illustrations for children’s books! I always choose one for the “draw” (no pun intended) of the art.
    Someone once gave me this tip, and it really does help in every medium. With your regular graphite art pencils, start with black at one end and white at the other, and divide the space into 10 sections. Then work your way from one end to the other, filling in the values (shades) of all the different grays. Then think of these when doing any medium, remembering to include the darkest , for contrast and most likely at your focal point, and a lightest value, for sparkle in your work.
    Hope you have fun with this.

  16. Fun to look at all your cute water colors ! So happy for you that you have an outlet that you gives you pleasure…….don’t be hard on yourself….just enjoy ! …………Smiles…….Anne

  17. You are an artist, face up to it! Give yourself kudos! I love everything that you do. Reminds me of when I was so into Martha Stewart years ago! I still am but not like I was back in the day. You go girl! You have it!

  18. Dear Marian, I finished the 30 day challenge and learned so much! It was a lot of fun — so much so that we’ve set up a watercolor desk in our kitchen for continued daily practice! My question is: how do you feel about continuing the challenge using the other list, excluding the ones we’ve done already?

    1. Yeah, I’ve thought about coming up with my own list, since I didn’t find any out there where I was really inspired by all of the ideas (or even most of them). Maybe I can ask my readers to give suggestions and then we can compile a new list and start a new challenge. I agree it would be fun to continue the exercise.

  19. You are really doing a great job!!!! I too especially like the red-haired girl! Some of the others show great creativity, which we already knew about you.

    If blank white paper inhibits you, give it a light wash of yellow ochre. Now you don’t have anything to fear as it already has paint on it.

    Keep up the good work.


  20. Keep at it, Marian. Remember no one ever became good at anything by NOT doing it. Even when you’re uninspired show up every day. Kind of goes back to that when inspiration visits she better find you working (I am sure I butchered that one-time someone help me out). My kids went through my big portfolio from art school and they asked me why I had so many drawings of easels knocked over, or the same basket, bowling ball, tree, etc. Not things that inspired but the teacher moved them around the room and created different still life arrangements, different geometry to work out with charcoal and pencil, ink- for study and discipline. It’s that discipline thing. Drawing toothbrushes and such.

  21. Marian, Someday in the distant future your boys and their spouses and children are going to be looking at these and saying things like ‘Oh man!, I remember when Mom did this!’ ‘Remember when she did these?’ ‘These were her early ones, she got so much better!’ The point is, even though you think it may be crude or not good or whatever, your kids will love them, please don’t throw it away. Your kids will want it someday. This goes in the box labeled 2016.

  22. You are so talented, and go above and beyond in all you do. The watercolor are so charming, your creativity truly shows.

  23. The beautiful, red-headed model for a hair accessory (day 12) is my favorite.
    She’s fabulous and magical ~ a bit Mermaid-like.

    Your talent is so evident Marian… no need at all to be critical of your watercolor skill! 🙂
    I love reading your blog and seeing all of your artistic creations in every type of medium you use.

  24. You are an amazing artist. These paintings are absolutely beautiful. I love the little red haired girl, being a red head myself, she speaks to me. But I equally love the cow and the clever spilled paint water and paperclip sign as well…all are fantastic.

  25. I wanted to share a bit of knowledge my high school art teacher shared with me while teaching water colors. Take time to think about your painting and what you want to paint, then choose the appropriate size piece of paper including your boarder. Keep trying and allow yourself to see the world as a painting, keep that camera with you so you never forget the beauty where ever you go.


  26. I don’t know why . . But I LOVE the pencils! And the GIRL! Oh my Marian . . . Beautifully done! Listen you are doing great AND enjoying it . . .isnt that the point? 🙂 xo

  27. I love the spilt one….it does look kind of like someone had too much to drink and is laying kind of drunk on the table and in the glass….and of course, I love the red haired girl….very nice….

  28. These paintings are fabulous, Marian! I am blown away by what you are able to do with controlling the watercolors. The fine lines in some of the paintings look like you used a pen and ink. You seem to have very good control of the paints. And I must say, you do a great cow! Forge ahead without shyness or doubt, girl!

  29. I just “fell into” your missmustardseed blog on Pinterest this evening… Whew!! So much to take. Bottom line: if you decide to sell your watercolors (which to my untrained, most appreciative eye is whimsical, free-flowing, inspired, fun!), I am seriously, sincerely in need of purchasing the girl with Hair Accessory. Please. I know multitudes have already spoken out, but she belings among my other treasured pieces. Will watch for any announcements, but right of first refusal?!? Loved finding you!!

  30. Lovely! I have one more tip if you are still interested. Contour drawing practice. You hold a pencil and look at your (still life) subject — for instance the toothbrush. You let your eyes go around the edges as your hand draws what you see with the pencil. You are NOT ALLOWED to look at your drawing. At first they look wonky. and that’s fine. These are exercises to draw what you see (actually or in your mind). When I taught art, I asked “You’ve been sitting in school chairs for six years. Can you draw one accurately from memory?” Of course nobody did. So I put a chair up on a table and we did Contour Drawing practice. About the third time, those chairs were super-accurate! And their art improved quite a bit, especially proportion and correct angles. It’s a classic art exercise. To achieve accurate movement in realism, that’s the second exercise, a little more free. Keep on, you have lots of talent!!

    I loved the pencils, too — so free! Made my heart sing.

  31. I would love to buy the toothpaste watercolor to frame and hang in a bathroom. Hope you decide to sell them!

  32. You should sell them! You have a buyer in me. My favs are the girl, the pencils and the nail polish (which would look so cute in my bathroom). Great job Marion… you continue to grow and inspire all at the same time. Beautiful!

  33. I love the variation in theme, color and possibly scale of painting.
    You should have confidence. You are very creative and are getting more done than you realize!
    I’m proud to know you and that you have taken on a challenge outside your comfort zone.
    Keep up the good work.
    You’ll be pleased one day.

    If you sell your paintings, at least take photos and keep a chronological record of your progress. I think over time, you will be very pleased. I certainly am!!! And I know very little about watercolors!

  34. Hi Marion, The talent is there. I do have a couple books I used that really show the art of blending, luminosity, perspective etc. I told you at the last Biglerville session I live on the mountain above Biglerville. If you would ever like to do watercolor you havemy number. Of course, I will bring the books. Just email me!

  35. I am completely enamored with day10 Pencils. Please let me know if this one is for sale, I would love to have it framed for my daughters classroom!

  36. I love your work! I am so jealous. I have been trying but can’t get close to your level. Do you have an instructional video or something. If not, make one just for me. Ha.

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