Intro to Acrylics: Backgrounds – NEW Class with Fred Lisaius

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Intro to Acrylics: Backgrounds (Skies)
with Fred Lisaius
2-Week Class; 4 Video Lessons

Class Dates: February 14 – 23, 2017


Welcome to the first class in a three-part series! In these classes we will learn how to create the Background, Middle Ground and Foreground. We will also learn many techniques for creating depth and making all three grounds work together.

In this first class we will paint skies as our backgrounds: a blue sky with puffy white clouds, and a sunset (or sunrise) sky.

Acrylics paints are beautiful. The medium is creamy, colorful, and very versatile. This class is designed to introduce beginners to this beautiful medium and to excite more advanced students with new information and techniques. I look forward to painting with you! — Fred



Series Schedule:

Backgrounds (February 14-23, 2017)
Middle Grounds (April 4-15, 2017)
Foregrounds (June 6-16, 2017)



Part 1 – Backgrounds Class Itinerary

Week 1 – Blue Sky, Puffy Clouds

Lesson 1 – Mixing colors for the blue sky, building the big shapes, and defining our cloud edges.

Lesson 2 – Determining the color variations within the clouds, adding layers to create contrast and depth, and finishing by creating smooth transitions.

Week 2 – Sunrise Sunset

Lesson 3 – Create a warm color palette, lay down transition layers, and practice techniques for smooth blending.

Lesson 4 – Continue smoothing and refining, and glazing techniques for creating even more subtle tints.




Sign up Today!
$95 for all three classes; $40 for individual classes.

Mini Interview and “365” Giveaway Opportunity



Hi everyone!

I wanted to let you know that Tamara LaPorte and Gracie Howle have uploaded a short interview with me on the Willowing blog today, and we are giving away three spots to “365”! (If you are already in the class, please head over and enter anyway! I can refund you or give you class credit. Thank you!) See the interview and enter for a chance to win here:

It’s not too late to join “365: Activate Your Art Brain”… please do! Even though class has started, all of the prompts are archived for you and you have forever access as well. And it is structured so that you can just jump in anytime with the current prompt.

Here is some praise about the class so far:

From Lori W.
New day, new prompts. To me the wonderful part of 365 and the book, it magnifies the day, moment by moment. It heightens my creative awareness. Thanks again Carla, for challenging my understanding of what a creative life looks like. Not being so precious about it really keeps my momentum going.

From Lynn L.
What an amazing adventure. Because of your ‘prodding’, I never go to bed without, at the very least, picking up a pen, pencil, paint or scraper. What a joy! and just what I needed to establish a daily art practice to create the work that’s on my to-do list for this year. Thanks again. What a professional looking, well produced, thoughtful program. 

From Debra M.
This is my favorite class of all!



From Lorraine D.
Thank you Carla! Love the class! It is like a daily Vitamin Pill of JOY…. when I wake up I know there will be another sweet video there… such a great start to the day! — Lorraine D.

From Judith H.
These prompts have become the best part of my day.

From Stefanie H:
I just wanted to give you a small feedback on the 365 class…. I am so thankful about this class, it brings me back to my creativity. Your small every day assignments and this wonderful book is exactly what I needed to get back to my creative life! 

From Eva S.
I was skeptical in the beginning… such a thing: a video every day!!! 
And now: fantastic!

(Thank you Lori, Lynn, Debra, Lorraine, Judith, Stefanie and Eva!)


365 Lions


Today’s assignment for the 365 class is to draw five lions with our eyes closed. I woke up early and couldn’t wait to draw more lions!

I drew about 15-20 lions on six sheets of larger paper using pencil and charcoal… then I took one of them further with watercolor (or it might be tempera paint, I’m not sure, it was purchased in China!), white gesso, and stenciling. Here is a step-by-step:

365lion1Step 1: Eyes closed!

365lion2Step 2: Try to be painterly.

365lion3Step 3: Keep thinking “painterly,” begin to rub some paint back.

365lion4Step 4: Forget “painterly,” rub most of the paint off.


Step 5: Add stencils to cover a spot where you rub too hard; keep going because you started and need to commit.


Have a wonderful day!

Only Two Days before “365” Begins!



If you haven’t signed up yet, there are just two days until “365” begins!

365: Activate Your Art Brain (a Video Every Day) is a year-long online class designed to encourage “that other” part of our brain that helps us grow and learn in all other aspects of life.

Sometimes silly, sometimes more serious (but always fun!), these daily videos share the joy of imagination for students of all ages.

Throughout the year, lessons will include:

* art techniques
* drawing assignments
* creative thought exercises
* writing prompts
* artist studio visits
* music-related prompts
* worksheets
* and more!

Students can also join a private Facebook group to post their work, share ideas, and receive encouragement from artists of all ages around the world.

The class is designed to let the imagination go free, so some of the prompts may inspire a whole body of work while others might just be a good healthy thought to carry throughout the day.

Class starts Sunday, January 1, 2017, and runs through the whole year. Watch the video below for more and click HERE to sign up! (Only $198 for a year’s worth of art!)

Thank you!

Countdown to 365


“Logic will get you from A-Z. 
Imagination will take you everywhere.”
— Albert Einstein


A few days before Christmas we wrapped up our 2016 year-long class, “Y is for Yellow.” An A-B-C class, “Z” was OBVIOUSLY for Zippered Zebra. ;D

I felt so sad the day after the last lesson went up! I met many wonderful people, and so much wonderful work came out of the class, too. Best of all, there was a close group dynamic at the Facebook group this year that I will really miss!

But, Steve and I are also truly very excited to produce the 2017 class: “365: Activate Your Art Brain (A Video Every Day).” – a year-long online class designed to encourage “that other” part of our brain that helps us grow and learn in all other aspects of life. Sometimes silly, sometimes more serious (but always fun!), these daily videos share the joy of imagination for students of all ages.

(And honestly? A video per day is very slightly crazy of us… but… Creativity IS Crazy!)

If you have already signed up, thank you! If you haven’t, please consider joining us… the cost is only $198 for a year’s worth of art (a little every day!). Click HERE for details.

See you soon!

(A quick video about “365”)

A “Guest” Reindeer Worksheet


I recently got an email from Nadia, an art teacher. She sent a fun holiday worksheet that she gives her students, and I wanted to share it with you, too.

Have a wonderful holiday and New Year celebration!




Nadia writes:

Around the holidays I enjoy making these activity sheets for my students.  Even my 8th graders love doing them. This year it was “Roll a Reindeer.”


Sometimes the hardest part about drawing is just starting (I believe Carla has said this in some of her online classes, and it’s so true!). I hear, “I don’t know how to start!”  from my art students frequently. Around the holidays I make these activity sheets to help them get started on their seasonal drawings.  Here’s how you use it:

1.  At the top of each column is a body part of the reindeer, something that might be around the reindeer, or the location of the reindeer. (In the location section one of the boxes says “Somewhere on Saipan”, this is the island where we live, so feel free to fill that in with your own hometown).

2.  Grab a die and roll, or if you’re without one, close your eyes and point to a box.

For example, if you’re choosing a box for the body of your Reindeer and you pick rectangular, that will be the general body shape of your reindeer. It doesn’t have to be exact, it can have rounded corners or pointy corners, but try to make it rectangular in some way!

3.  Roll your die again, but this time you’re rolling for the shape of the head. Keep doing this for each column and see what kind of reindeer you end up with.

*Kids often ask if they can reroll if they get a shape they don’t like. The answer is yes!  You may roll a shape and it doesn’t feel right to you, that is fine!  Just use this sheet as a rough guideline. Be sure to have fun and let yourself make some fun and silly reindeer.

**I also didn’t include facial features, fill those in how you like.

Here are a few examples of some of the works in progress that the kids and I did yesterday:


Click the link below for the worksheet for you to download, print, and play!



A quick worksheet reindeer drawing… thanks, Nadia!