Do you sometimes feel like your art takes a back seat to everyday life? Do you feel like you will never get enough time to do the creative things you love?

A 30 day leaf challenge is a great way to learn plants and paint at the same time getting you outside for a walk!

I recently had the wonderful experience of participating in INKTOBER for the 31 days in October 2019. It was fun to post on Instagram and Facebook. Making the commitment was really good as it forced me to step up! I looked forward to seeing what some of my friends and fellow artists were posting. This is not the first time I have participated in a challenge. In 2011 I was caring for my mom who was terminally ill. This was a tough time as I was her sole caregiver and she depended on me for everything. It was physically and emotionally draining and left very little time for myself or my art. I began to feel as if I would “loose” the desire and the skill and fall into an abyss of an uncreative life. During that time I presented myself with small “do-able” challenge. I did a 30 day/30 leaf project. It was great. I went out everyday and found a different leaf to draw and paint. Sometimes it meant I was picking up a leaf off the asphalt in the parking lot on the way to a doctor’s appointment. Each day I would spend at least 20-30 minutes with a leaf and do a small watercolor painting. The paintings were no bigger than a 5 x 7 piece of paper. This helped to create a discipline and keep my observation and technical skills from atrophy. After the 30 days were over I felt like I had accomplished something and I did. I was taking care of myself and my artist’s soul. Here are some suggestions that can get you jumpstarted to create more art!

Create a leaf journal of your local plants or ones from your garden. It can easily be done with just a pencil!



It can be daily, weekly, weekends, monthly etc…but plan it out, map it out and DO IT!

Find a subject you love that has simple components and work with a theme:

  • Leaves- I have a sketchbook devoted just to plants in my garden. 
  • Veggies- A trip to the supermarket can bring a whole new twist on grocery shopping!
  • Go for a walk each day and find a small treasure found in nature, bring it home and draw it.  
  • Create a book of color recipes. Take your paints or colored pencils and create swatches with notes. This is a great way to learn how colors interact with one another.
  • Travel Journals- I have a wonderful sketchbook from my travels in Costa Rica that keep my inspired and gives me lots of projects to work on the year round.

Here is a page from my travels in Costa Rica. Encountering these exotic plants, birds, frogs and animals is so inspiring. I am able to create art fro the entire year after I come home from my travels!

Speaking of travel! If you need a jumpstart and would like to immerse yourself in the beauty of nature why not go on an ARTISTIC ADVENTURE. Journey to the Heart of Creativity in the Costa Rica Rainforest! This could just be the thing you need to get those creative juices flowing. It is wonderful to brainstorm and share with passionate like-minded nature loving artists.  The cutoff date for registration is fast approaching on November 15. We only have a few spaces left and we would love to have you join us!  Got questions? Email Mindy at: Mlighthipe@mac.com