Recipes for Joy and Color

Dreams of Flying Blue Hydrangeas
Dreams of Flying Blue Hydrangeas, 20X20, acrylics

With all the scary news around us, I’ve found myself spending more time in the studio, exploring new subjects and pushing the boundaries of my own comfort zone with brush in hand. There is a peace that comes from the act of creating, and, while it’s not meditation, I always feel much calmer at the end of the day when I have a new work drying on the easel. Lately I spend equal time with acrylics and oils, moving back and forth through the two mediums, trying acrylic techniques in oils, pushing for bolder, more graphic colors. When I turn to my acrylics, I push them to produce the soft, gentle blending of oils. The more mediums you work in as an artist, the more tools you have to turn to in those quiet moments of problem solving.

A few of my favorite out-of-the tube acrylic color combinations have proven so striking, I’ve begun to create similar recipes and effects in oils. Golden acrylics is known for being a company that has almost every imaginable acrylic color available right out of the tube. Scrolling through their catalog list takes quite a bit of time, but for color hungry artists like me, it’s an exercise in pleasure. When I was young, I was a clothes horse. I shopped for new outfits, running my fingers across fabrics to feel the textures and dreaming of new shoes I could never afford. Now I dream of paints, brushes, and miles of blank canvases ahead, waiting to be filled.

Here are a few recipes and color combinations that might spark your muse ~ whether you find yourself leaning into light, bright vignettes or bold, dark backgrounds, the possibilities in both mediums, oils and acrylics, are endless. My favorite background color (this week, who knows about next week!) in acrylics is Cobalt Violet Hue and Burnt Umber. That combo doesn’t sound delish, but trust me, it’s like warm chocolate sauce behind the rich greens in your garden paintings. One of my favorite background combinations in oils is a light gray green beneath thick, painterly strokes of pale violet and brilliant yellow light. The key: don’t blend those fat strokes. Not all flowers need to spring forth from dense foliage, sometimes it’s delightful to just let that bundle of gorgeous petals float in the middle of a bright, textured canvas, filling your room with color and light.

I have over a dozen new paintings blooming in my shop this week, and a secret sale, too. Take a peek, and you’ll see some of the recipes I’ve shared today. Stocking up on joy is much more fun than racing to the store for hand sanitizer and TP!


All new online lessons are blooming!

TJB banner slice

Hearts Wish Mums



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. 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 banner sliceTJB banner french pitcher sunflowers

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. Yes, I agree, painting & creating something new, learning new techniques & color combinations keeps me from fretting too much about what’s happening across the planet! I’ve been working in acrylics & am doing a series of small watercolors as push myself to learn & grow.

    • Lee I’m excited to see what new paintings you create using acrylics! It was fun painting with you, stay safe!

  2. With all the restrictions on mobility right now, I feel so blessed to have
    my art as a way to “escape” and keep busy doing something I love!
    Visiting your site is also quite entertaining and encouraging…plus
    I’m a flower lover/painter too so your flowers always cheer me up!
    Thanks Nancy 🙂
    Lynda Davison – Tennessee

  3. Lynda thank goodness for art, it uplifts the soul and it also alleviates our excessive amount of time having to stay indoors these days! I’m so glad these lessons are adding cheer to your corner of the world. Your note has given me a big smile today, I so appreciate that.
    Hugs and stay safe! – Nancy

Leave a Reply

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

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This