The Most Important Thing

Spring Harbinger Hummingbird
Spring Harbinger Hummingbird, 16X16, oil


For years I’ve told my students that the most important thing in the studio is light. Not color, not fresh flowers, not fancy vases, not high quality paint. The number one ingredient for a successful painting, when painting from life, was light. That’s what I said. But yesterday I realized I was wrong.

The most important thing in the studio is not lighting or equipment or high quality tools or even decades of painting experience. The most important thing in the studio is you. The time you spend in the studio is measured in more than minutes, it’s an investment in building something real, creating something using your own vision. The more time you spend painting, the more you will learn and grow. The more time alone, putting those hours in front of the canvas, the more you’ll see progression in what you understand, and what you create.

So many of my students are women in my own demographic, mature gals who are finally finding they have time for a pursuit for their own enjoyment, after spending most of their lives giving. Giving to their families, to their friends, to their jobs, to everything society expects of them, as they (we) are, in fact, paramount multitaskers. But giving constantly comes at a cost. Painting and creating is more than cathartic, it recharges your batteries, so you can give more, and you can give better, to those you love. Carving out your sacred studio space involves setting boundaries for your time, your attention, and even the physical square footage dedicated to your easel and supplies. Setting boundaries like this means, once in a great while, you have to say No. You know that old song that goes, Sorry seems to be the hardest word? I think for many of us, “No” is much more difficult to say. Setting boundaries means holding onto boundaries. That inner, playful, creative side is depending on you to stand your ground – even if it’s just an hour a day, give yourself a chance to relax, and heal, and recharge. Now pull up the drawbridge, intrepid artist, don your painting apron, and slay those dragons!


Every flower has a meaning, every petal speaks a word, but unless you speak their language, something special goes unheard. ~ Sheila Roberts


Monthly online classes are blooming…

The Joyful Brush

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New Aprons Are Here!

Peony Apron

I’m so excited to announce a whole crop of colorful aprons is now blooming in Flower Mound Studio. Add a bold statement to your studio wardrobe with flowers! These are beautiful gifts, and are perfect for crafting, kitchen work, and – of course – painting time. In bright, fun colors, with front pockets and machine washable, gather a bouquet of them for yourself! Choose your favorite colors from six designs.

Click here to indulge in an apron



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!

Italian Sunflowers Nancy Medina

 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


More good things

Join me for France, Italy, and more! Here’s the scoop!

More good things

Learn how to add magic to your acrylic paintings for free! Click here.

The Joyful Brush

The Joyful Brush is a monthly painting lessons membership, here's the scoop!

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. Thanks for this, Nancy! I’ve taken your wise advice on learning to say “no” a bit more to give myself a chance to recharge. I’ve begun a list of “Ways to Say No” and would love to hear ideas from others. So far I have: Can’t fit it in, That’s a big negative, I know my limits so No, Not now, My Tarot cards say NO, I’m trying to cut back, and my favorite is: I have a Mime class.

  2. Wow! What great advice from each of you! I find I’m happiest when I’m doing something creative: photography, sketching, wstercolor, pastels or even crocheting….so if I don’t make it to my easel, I find something else for my brain to enjoy & it always feeds my soul & helps me get back to my oils with fresh energy.

  3. Great reading your post! Carving out time is so hard. When did we all get so busy even in retirement. Take time to breathe, dream, paint. What is going to help me is to actually mark time off on my big paper calendar like an appointment. I want to ”clock in” to painting daily. I am re-organzing my space, my life, getting rid of all supplies (guilt free) that I no longer use by donating to the VA or tossing. I want clear space. Clear space to think and dream. No iPhone. No answering the house phone. Tv turned to the music channel. Windo to look out to the garden space. Everything will be set up to paint on whim too if an idea comes up, besides a lesson. That’s my aim.

  4. Nancy!! You have given me that extra nudge of confidence to say ‘no’ before it’s too late. Thank you !
    Maybe one day I will be able to participate in one of your amazing Italian/French painting excursions, all the way from Australia!! Penny

    • Penny I’m glad this helped, sending lots of gentle nudges to you from across the world! 🙂

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