🥇Pick any weekly art challenge.
🥈Use any medium(s).
🥉Create as many pieces as you like.
Scroll down to see weekly challenges.
I recently stumbled upon these hand study drawings by Vincent Van Gogh. To me, this single page of sketches is proof of Vincent's genius. I researched to see if these are drawings of his own hand, and learned that he was right handed. Also, he used a mirror for his self portraits. All but one of the seven hands in this drawing could have been drawn from a mirror’s reflection of Vincent's right hand.
I did a little more research to see what Vincent’s hand looked like, and found this rare photo of him as a teen. (Handsome devil!) What a thrill to see even as a young boy Vincent had Potato Eaters hands!
🥇Find an old piece of art that you don’t mind covering up.
🥈Think of a theme that works with this piece of art.
🥉Begin reworking the piece by adding (collaging or painting over) and subtracting (covering up or cutting off areas).
On January 20th, 2020 I was in my studio with a pair of paintings that I was about to paint over. One painting was a little cowgirl, the other a little cowboy. By fluke, the artist in the studio next to mine stopped by, saw what I was doing and said, You can’t paint over that! I was literally three minutes away from having covered them both with paint.
So I attached the paintings together, making a 4x4 foot square. I turned the paintings on their side, and started collaging over them with oil paintings and mixed media. Within no time the piece was 80% complete. The final 20% would take months to complete.
This piece come to life so quickly because while working I had a theme in my head that is very close to my heart. Starting with the little cowgirl and cowboy, I was thinking of the injustice of white Americans being treated so differently than American who are not white.
The name of the piece I had in my head as I was working was “US history”. I kept thinking of the difference between the history I had been taught in school, and the shameful reality I pieced together in the years since graduation. I thought about the rudimentary history I had never been taught - slave ships, interment camps, Jim Crow laws, etc. I added the word “forgotten” to the title: US History (forgotten). I decided to make a website to accompany the piece, since standing alone, the painting could not tell the story. The website’s content covers history I had never been taught.
I have been working on this project nearly 5 months. I am proud to finally be launching my website for US History (forgotten):
Please have a look at the website, and let me know what you think.
No, for this week’s challenge you don’t have to work for months or build an accompanying website. But try to put a little of your heart and soul into your work. It’s absolutely fine if your message is subtle and not obvious to the viewer. Your piece will still be stronger.
Photo by M Susan Broussard
I had my statement printed on a 4 ft. banner.
🥇Make an illustration suitable for a child’s greeting card, book or packaging label.
🥈Use any medium.
🎖 Share with a loved one of your choice. (Send them a photo, or the actual artwork.)
Before I lose you! - I, too, had no idea that I was capable of making children's illustrations. Then a friend asked me to illustrate his children’s book, and what a surprisingly fun project it was. As a figurative artist, I enjoyed the newfound freedom of exaggerating physical characteristics to create endearing human and animal characters. I worked until my drawings made me smile; then I knew I had gotten it right.
This week’s challenge was actually inspired by a label on a carton of eggs. I smile just thinking of the illustration of adorable chickens wearing little cowboy boots and hats. During this time of stress and uncertainty, let’s use our creativity to share a little joy and lightness.
Illustration by M Susan Broussard
There have been a few articles lately saying that people have been experiencing unusually vivid dreams during quarantine. This seems an opportune week to draw or paint our dreams. If you’re feeling particularly lockdown weary, this week’s challenge will hopefully help make sense of these new feelings, take ownership and control during these trying times.
Week #10 Art Challenge
🥇Write down your dream.*
🥈Draw or paint your dream.*
*If you don’t remember your dreams, substitute a favorite song or poem.
For centuries dreams have fascinated artists. If we tried to come up with metaphors to describe our emotions, we’d be hard pressed to find metaphors as amazingly creative and interesting as our subconscious comes up with in our dreams. We might as well take advantage of this richness, and unleash our creativity on this challenge.
How can we visually capture the mood of our dream? Things to consider: color, value contrast, scale comparison, crispness vs. blurriness. Dreams are fantasy, so distort and exaggerate. You don’t have to document your dream precisely. This is your dream, so steer it in whatever direction you want.
Oil on canvas by M Susan Broussard
🥇Pick an object, person, animal or place that has a sentimental value to you.
🥈Use any medium(s) - drawing, painting, photo, collage, etc.
🥉Create as many pieces as you like.
Last week’s challenge talked about selecting materials you genuinely like. This challenge focuses on the importance of your personal or emotional associations with your subject.
When we look at the entire body of work of great artists, often the work that stands out as being the strongest are the people, places or things that the artist connected strongest with. Emotional connection cannot be faked, and can be that final magical ingredient you add to your work. Have you ever painted something you’ve had a hard time parting with? - Shoes you never wear but remind you of a special event, a pet, a piece of furniture that reminds you of a loved one, a favorite vacation spot?
Conch Shell by M Susan Broussard oil on canvas
Oil on canvas by M Susan Broussard
🥇Make a painting, drawing or take a photograph of a person, place or thing which is beautifully lit.
Beautiful light is in the eye of the beholder, so choose lighting that is attractive to you. There is no right or wrong.
Rembrandt, Leonardo da Vinci and Caravaggio are known for their use of chiaroscuro: the strong contrasts between light and dark. In what has come to be known as Rembrandt lighting, figures and objects may appear to dramatically emerge from complete darkness. The first two photos I made for Week #4’s challenge (recreating a famous work of art) both used chiaroscuro.
The opposite extreme of lighting, high-key, can also be beautiful. Objects in this lighting are so flooded with light, that there are almost no shadows and very little modeling on the objects, so objects appear flatter, less three dimensional. But the payoff is having created a light and airy mood.
Don’t feel you have to go to extremes. Medium light can be beautiful too.
Back lighting - putting a strong light, or even the sun, behind your subject - can create dramatic statement. With back light the silhouette of your subject becomes the emphasis, rather than the surface details (such as facial features).
You don’ t have to take photos, and can draw or paint your subjects. If drawing or painting from natural light, it’s well worth it, but account for the sun moving and changing your light over hours. If you take a photo, be aware of keeping the camera very still as you snap the photo. Moving the camera creates blur, so the focus will not be sharp.
Photo by M Susan Broussard
🥇Use a weird medium to make art.
🏅Share with us.
I was racking my brain for this week's challenge while washing my hair, and this is what I came up with. The weirder medium you can think of the better.
My piece is made from my own hair. It only took about 60 seconds from start to finish. I call her, We Will Survive.
The artist's own hair on tile by M Susan Broussard
🥇 Use any ink - ballpoint pen, felt tip, dip pen, etc. - to make a drawing.
Optional: First make an under-drawing in pencil. Adding an ink wash with a brush is fine, too. My strategy as a self isolating figurative artist without models has been to learn from the Old Masters.
For this week's challenge I copied Peter Paul Rubens' pen and ink and wash of Venus Lamenting Adonis. I fell in love with Rubens' masterful diversity of line weights combined with shades of ink washes from very faint grey to nearly black. To me this puts Rubens in a unique class of his own and underscores his genius. Rubens also appears to have worked very quickly, which is ironic since copying his work has been even slower and more meticulous for me than copying other Masters.
Both Shakespeare or Ovid wrote narrative poems about Venus's unrequited love for Adonis, when he was tragically killed by a wild boar. To me, even more heartbreaking than the poems is the sight of Ruben's little putto kissing Adonis's leg as he lies dying.
Has anyone noticed how similar Ruben's Venus Lamenting Adonis is to Michelangelo's Pieta in St. Peter's Basilica?
Week #4 Challenge
April 6, 2020 Recreate a work of art with objects (and people) in your home.
🥇Choose your favorite artwork.
🥈Find three things lying around your house.
🥉Recreate the artwork with those items.
🏅Share with us.
And share with us. I wish I could take credit for this challenge, but it comes from our fabulous Getty Museum. This is our museum, fellow Angelenos, so we can’t let people from around the globe kick our ass on this challenge!
After Rubens by M Susan Broussard
I finally made it into the Louvre and the Getty! (Albeit virtually.) The Louvre Museum in Paris liked and retweeted my reimagined photo of David's Marat!! The Getty Museum liked it, too!! I'm walking on clouds!
Just a typical Saturday night in isolation. I'm chilling topless in my plastic laundry hamper. Gripping a feather as I usually do. Got my turban on and red shoe laces for my fake stab wound. Using the paper bag from lockdown food delivery as a table. Nothing strange happening here at all. Just another routine Saturday night in lockdown. You?
Reimagined by M Susan Broussard
La Mort de Marat by Jacques-Louis David, The Louvre Museum
The Nightmare by Henry Fuseli, The Detroit Institute of Art
Georgia O'Keeffe - Hands by Alfred Stieglitz 1917, The Getty Museum.
Choose any subject matter: still life, portrait, figure, landscape, seascape, animals, abstract, etc. Use any two mediums: graphite, color pencil, pen, paint (oil, acrylic, water color, etc.), graphic tablet, clay, collage, mixed media, etc. If your art supplies are limited, have fun inventing and improvising: Use a brush or a dip a stick into coffee or tea as a substitute for paint or ink; Cut up magazines for collage; Raid your recycling bin for paper, make sculpture from plastics, etc. Two mediums could simply be making one piece in color and the other monochromatic. Enjoy!
Honoré Daumier uses so many searching lines! At first it's daunting,
but then it's encouraging when you realize he wasn't perfect and had to try and try again. And what magnificent results he achieved.
For the second week's challenge I created a triptych (3 panels) using red chalk, black chalk and brown ink on paper that I stained with tea. The figures are master copies of Michelangelo's drawings for the Sistine Chapel.
The inspiration for this challenge came when an old friend jokingly asked me to make a painting commemorating her childhood victory of catching a killer dodgeball hurled at her by the school bully. I liked the challenge, but not being a narrative artist, I initially drew a blank. While at the Getty's Michelangelo exhibit - the day before it shuttered - this concept occurred to me.: Michelangelo's burly muscle bound figures would tell our schoolgirl mythology perfectly.
The red (headless) figure on the center panel is catching the dodgeball. The figure just to its right is throwing the ball. The side panels show the spectators.
On the last night of normal restaurant business before the lockdown, I took this lobster home in a doggy bag to paint. The chef had sawed it in half. I texted a friend, "My poor model! Its head had to be tied together with a blue rubber band." She replied, "He is lucky - he's still got a job!".
Make a set using a cardboard box. (I used sheets of black foam-core.) The "walls" of the set help flag off unwanted sources of light, allowing a clean side-light. Optional: Drape fabric over the background.
Pick objects that you're genuinely excited about for your still life. Don't forget to light it attractively. (Natural window light can be beautiful.)
Week # 15 Challenge:
June 22, 2020
Make art using analogous colors.
Week # 14 Challenge:
June 15, 2020
Make art repurposeing old art.
Week # 13 Challenge:
June 8, 2020
Make art using complimentary colors.
Week # 12 Challenge:
June 1, 2020
Make art protesting racism.
Week # 11 Challenge:
May 25, 2020
Make a childen’s illustration.
Week # 10 Challenge:
May 18, 2020
Make art about a dream.
Week #9 Challenge:
May 11, 2020
Make art that has a sentimental value to you.
Week #8 Challenge:
May 4, 2020
Make a collage.
Week #7 Challenge:
April 27, 2020
Make art from something that is beautifully lit.
Week #6 Challenge:
April 20, 2020
Use a weird medium to make art.
Week #5 Challenge:
April 13, 2020
Make a Drawing Using Ink
Week #4 Challenge:
April 6, 2020
Choose your favorite artwork. Find three things lying around your house. Recreate the artwork with those items.
Week #3 Challenge:
March 30, 2020
Choose one subject and create two separate pieces of art using two different mediums.
Choose any subject: still life, portrait, figure, landscape, seascape, animals, abstract, etc. Use any two mediums: graphite, color pencil, pen, paint (oil, acrylic, water color, etc.), graphic tablet, clay, collage, mixed media, etc. If your art supplies are limited, have fun inventing and improvising: Use a brush or a dip a stick into coffee or tea as a substitute for paint or ink; Cut up magazines for collage; Raid your recycling bin for paper, plastic for making sculpture, etc. Two mediums could simply be making one piece in color and the other monochromatic. Enjoy!
Week # 2 Challenge:
March 23, 2020
Tell a story using figures or portraits.
Choose a single word: like Edvard Munch’s "The Scream”, or Franz Xaver Messerschmidt’s character heads.
Or choose to tell a story using as few or as many figures as you like.
Use any medium(s). If you’re in quarantine with someone, perhaps they will model for you (nude, clothed, sleeping, awake). Or use your own photos, art books, magazines, etc. as a reference. Or simply draw from memory. Or draw animé or cartoon characters. Have fun and be creative.
Week #1 Challenge:
March 16, 2020
Draw or paint something you eat.
Create a still life of something edible: Cezanne’s fresh fruit or vegetables, a glass of wine or wine bottles (which can be an exercise in painting reflections on glass), Wayne Thiebaud’s cakes or deli food, a plate or forkful of pasta, etc. Be creative and have fun!
Copyright © 2020 M Susan Broussard - All Rights Reserved.