Searching for the Sizzle

Drama Queen Poppy
Drama Queen Poppy, 20-minute painting, oil, sold


Every week or so, I abandon everything I know and let the brushes charge ahead without an off switch or edit button engaged. This past week I finished a series of 20-minute paintings each day, pushing the envelope outside my comfort zone with small works. The final painting in the series was Drama Queen Poppy, in all transparent color with the timer counting down. One of my friends asked how many poppies I’ve painted, and it was hard to pinpoint, looking back over 8 years of daily painting, exactly what that number would be. But poppies I had painted that I felt excited about, poppies that leapt onto the canvas as if fueled by some magical energy sizzling through the brush, I would count as a much smaller number.

One thing that draws the line between a work of art and an exciting work of art is the personal enthusiasm the artist feels at the moment of creation, an effervescent joy that comes through on a subliminal level. Years ago when I was a runner (yes, MANY years ago!), the toughest thing to overcome in reaching the five, 10 and 12 mile mark, was mental rather than physical. What did you eat the day before, how much sleep did you get the night before, are you stressed about something – these were all the questions asked, when trying to determine how to get peak performance. Trust me, with my 11-minute mile, I was not a real runner by any means. My goal was not to collapse into a frothing heap at mile three.

Where is your head when you’re painting? Are you present, rested, and well prepared? And, more importantly, what is your level of excitement about the subject you’re painting? Daily painting in some ways is like training for a marathon. It’s predictable, it’s a process, it’s ritualistic, and, after it becomes habit, it is a comfort. Cleaning the brushes, prepping the canvas, getting your mind in the right place, all of these steps help you to do that one thing that’s crucial – they help you put your whole heart into the work. On your last painting, was the spark there, were you fully engaged and joyfully participating in every stroke that made the painting come to life? I would love to hear from you, flower friend. Isn’t it a beautiful, fickle, and mysterious thing, this painting journey we share, that keeps us coming back for more?


blog quote May 2018


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Patio Pillows Are Here!

Pillows hummers

I’m so excited to announce a whole crop of colorful pillows and aprons are now blooming in Flower Mound Studio. Add a bold statement to your studio wardrobe or pick out a squishy new pillow for the patio! These are beautiful gifts, and are perfect for decorating, crafting, kitchen work, and – of course – painting time. In bright, fun colors, with front pockets and machine washable, gather a bouquet of aprons or redecorate the garden furniture with new pillows. Give yourself a treat!

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A Painting Prize Giveaway!


gift certificate

As a bonus especially for you, spring is the perfect time to give away a new $100 gift certificate for art supplies! Tubes of joy, boxes from on the doorstep, brushes in pristine clear wrappers, all the things that make an artists’ heart to go pitty pat! To be entered to win, leave a comment on this blog, easy as pie. And please, if you’re already signed up for my upcoming Fredericksburg workshop, don’t bring the artist pie. She has already converted all her jeans to stretchy! I’ll announce the gift certificate winner on July 12, just in time for the Birds and the Bees in the studio!


Italy 2018 – Catch the Earlybird Pricing!

Italy car

 Join me for a VIP painting dream getaway to Italy during the National Truffle Festival in Le Marche region in October 2018. Earlybird pricing is here, so take a peek at all the fun!

Get all the delicious Italy details here


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Nancy Medina

Nancy is a master signature artist and instructor with over 1800 online students from around the world. She has worked with Disney, served on the art faculty of the Dallas Arboretum, and teaches workshops in France, Italy and across the US. More about Nancy

Reader Interactions


  1. Poppies and Hummingbirds are two of my favorite things. Really makes me happy when I see your paintings.
    Twenty minute paintings are a super idea. Wish it didn’t take me an hour to setup. lol
    I have a cell phone cover with umbrella. Reminds me to finish my courtyard. Thanks for sharing. If my name is randomly selected I would love a Hummingbird Pillow. Hugs.

  2. Love the 20 minute poppy & thanks for the timely reminder to ‘check my troubles’ at the easel & enjoy the process!

  3. I would love to paint every day. Like you say in most of your classes, that is probably the best way to grow as an artist…I am yet to discover my own style..years of painting tight has made me my evolution / change right now a bit hard…right now I am
    discovering the joys of transparent colors and loose strokes through your lessons and hopefully this will help me out 🙂

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