How to Build an Idea Garden

Leap with Joy Poppy Garden 36X36
Leap With Joy Poppy Garden, 36X36, oil, information

For the first time ever, I’m planting peonies, dahlias and lilacs in my gardens. Living in a mountain climate is definitely on the chilly side, so I’m hoping the payoff will be some extraordinary blossoms in our late springtime. Being an artist gives me lots of excuses to spend money at the local nurseries, support small business in Colorado Springs, and recruit new studio models to preen and pose under the spotlights. But I’m also learning so much, and embracing something new and exciting.

My trial garden is a series of pots in our sunny guest bedroom, filled with seedlings that I will transplant outdoors in 2 weeks. In addition to my old standby favorites, morning glories and sunflowers, I’m test driving dinner plate dahlias, four varieties of peony bushes and clematis. Most of the small plants started from seeds are in plastic cups filled with potting soil. The air is dry here, so I give them the fingertip test to ensure they have plenty of water every day.

Every new blossom is an idea for a painting or a combination of elements of color and shape. Here’s how I create an inspiration for my paintings, using photos from my home grown sprouts and blossoms and my trips to beautiful gardens around the world. One of the easiest ways to find joyful color that speaks to your heart, is to merge photos you love together in Powerpoint. Here’s how to do that, step by step. (I’m using an IMac, so some of these steps may change depending on what type of computer you use. Keep in mind all of the images you use need to be photos you’ve taken, or for which you have permission to use.)

Create a Custom Garden, Step by Step

How to create a custom garden image that’s exciting and inspiring, step by step!


slide 1 poppy delph ppt
Step 1 – Open powerpoint on your desktop computer.


slide 2 poppy delph ppt
Step 2 – Select “Insert – Picture – Picture from File” and search in your saved folders. Select your image.


slide 3 poppy delph ppt
Step 3 – Once your image is in place, you can hover with your mouse over the image, and move it anywhere in the frame to leave space for additional images.



slide 4 poppy delph ppt
Step 4 – Add a second image.


slide 6 poppy delph ppt
Step 5 – Add another image. In this frame, I chose a larkspur photo that filled the space nicely as background color.



slide 5 poppy delph ppt
Step 6 – Right click on any image to “send to back” or bring it in front of the other images until you get the arrangement you love.


slide 7 poppy delph garden image
Step 7 – Now, to save your masterpiece! Once you have your images in place, you might notice some overlap the edges of the Powerpoint frame. Don’t worry about that, when powerpoint saves the final project, it will crop out any excess overlay. To save the image, select “File – Export” and save in the preferred format. I usually choose jpg or png.



poppy delph ppt
The final garden is ready for the brush and canvas! All of these photos were taken at Wildseed Farms in Fredericksburg, Texas. This creates a nice memory of a beautiful trip with painty pals, and also gives me years of inspiration for future paintings. The possibilities are endless!


Dominique Eichi roses

TJB darling dahlia garden
Darling Dahlias Garden, 20X20, a Joyful Brush lesson

New online lessons are blooming!

TJB banner slice

Start painting with me right away in The Joyful Brush, my monthly online class. Find out why hundreds of students from around the world have already joined the flower family, with weekly live videos, live paintings, and a library filled with full-length lessons waiting for you as soon as you arrive. Get all the color you love, and a beautiful place to grow through all the seasons of your art journey.

I want more Joy in my studio!





TJB hydrangea banner ad

Click here for the scoop!

Do you love vibrant, loose florals and landscapes? You can paint online with me in The Joyful Brush, my monthly online class. Learn more…

More good things

Join me in my studio or hop online with me – 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. hi Nancy!
    Thanks for this tip!!! I can’t wait to try it…hopefully a little later…to see if I can get this correct. It would be such a help as I am often trying to merge various photos in Photoshop to get an unique scene which I can paint. It usually takes so much time and when I’m done, I’m still filling in the “blanks” and using my imagination. Hopefully this will go well and I will have a tool I can use. I appreciate you sharing this with us.

    • Joanne you are most welcome! It took me quite a while to figure out some of these things and then, of course, Powerpoint upgraded and I had to find the tools all over again! : )

  2. I love this!!!! Sooooo helpful …. I have an IMac…… so all I need is Power Point on my computer???

    • Hi Erik! Absolutely – you may have to purchase an Microsoft package that includes Word and Excel and Powerpoint together, though, I’m not sure if they parse that out. Enjoy!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This