Fearless Friday, Trees Workshop


Last weekend I took a 2 day acrylic painting workshop,

The instructor was local artist,

Melanie Morris




She has an impressionist painting style

and is a master at mixing colors





Taking an art class is such a great way to recharge your batteries,

learn, practice, or just create





The workshop, Trees,  was at a local art store,

Alabama Art Supply

It has adjacent dedicated studio space

We all had our own easel, side table and chair, and we were given a list of supplies to bring,

and asked to bring photos of trees





There was also a “classroom” area

where the instructor did demonstrations





Melanie likes to paint with a Sta-Wet palette

This palette is basically a plastic box with a sponge that you wet

and place a special wet palette paper on top

The paint is mixed with an equal amount of medium gel gloss

and a drop of retarder, which helps retard drying

It has a lid that seals tightly when not in use,

and with proper care,

acrylic paint will stay soft for weeks!





We were asked to use a limited palette of Cad yellow, Cad orange, Cad red medium, Alizarian Crimson, Cerulean Blue, Ultramarine Blue, Zinc White, Titanium white, Phalo Blue {green shade} and Dioxazine Purple {added after I took photo}

We mixed all the greens and other tones from these colors




After setting up our palette, and making color charts we watched Melanie do a demonstration painting





She prefers a red underpainting for landscapes and uses a charcoal stick to do the initial sketch





She paints from dark to light

laying in the darkest areas first, then the next darkest etc.





She paints the sky, or the negative spaces, last





Up close you can see the individual shapes and how she lets the underpainting show through





I truly had to “Be Fearless,”

as this is such a different way of painting for me!





I did my sketch with a brush and a brownish green paint color




We also painted on Ampersand gessoboard, you can read about it here

You can see the brush strokes in my painting below because the surface of gessoboard is very slick, and the way we mixed the paint made it thin, so the underpainting shows through in many places


“Weeping Willow study” 6″ x 6″ acrylic on 3/4″ cradled Ampersand board




Melanie uses layers of color to build her painting, much like a watercolor process.  I prefer to use thicker applications of paint and found this method tedious, but I am an impatient painter!

For the second painting, I used just a section of one of my tree photos because my board was only 3″ x 5!”

Super small, and again very uncomfortable for me!




“Tree Trunk study” acrylic, 3″ x 5″ flat profile ampersand board





We were only given a short time to complete our paintings which is why I wasn’t able to do step by step photos




For the final painting, she let us go a little bigger, whew 😅




The end of class was nearing,

I decided to pack up and let my painting dry

while watching Melanie’s final demo





I finished my painting at home




“Weeping Willow” 11″ x 14″ acrylic on Ampersand gessoboard


I also did one more tree in marker and ink



After taking this class, I will forever look at trees a different way!



I really enjoyed this workshop, trying new things and painting with artists from all over the South…there was a woman from Memphis, South Carolina, and several other parts of Alabama and Georgia.  Melanie does classes all over the southeast, you can see her class schedule on her website here

Even though Melanie and I have different painting philosophies and styles, she is a wonderful teacher, she’s funny, laid back and I enjoyed every minute.  I hope to take another workshop with her soon.

This is a painting I did several years ago, mimicking her style, you can see the step by step process here


Melanie’s Flowers 14″ x 14″ acrylic on canvas


Be Fearless and sign up for an art class today!


🌳 🎨 🌳 🎨 🌳


I will be joining these fabulous parties and blogs:

Meal Plan Monday  Dishing it & Digging it,   Between Naps on the Porch,

Merry Monday   Make it Pretty Monday    Celebrate and Decorate,

Delicious Dishes Recipe Party   Oh My Heartsie Girl  Full Plate Thursday

Thursday Favorite Things  Creatively Crafty   Home Matters 

Weekend Potluck   Sweet Inspirations   Happiness is Homemade

33 Responses to “Fearless Friday, Trees Workshop”
  1. Nancy says:

    A whole other kind of art form for you…
    Oh, how beautiful your paintings are! I enjoyed the process…
    Thank you for sharing!

    • I have been painting with acrylics my whole life, but have never seen them used this way…thinning down the paint made me feel like I didn’t have the control I wanted, which is why I like acrylic in the first place, if that makes any sense…thank you Nancy

  2. Looks like fun – I wish we had classes offered like that in our area as I would so enjoy it!

    • Have you ever taken an online class? I haven’t but have several friends that take them all the time…I love to take a class now and then, it really ignites your passion!

  3. Jenna, this class looks like fun. You are so fearless in trying new painting techniques. I love the weeping willow! Happy Friday!

  4. Jodi says:

    OH JENNA! I LOVE what you made!!!!

  5. Rosie M. says:

    Love your weeping willow, Jenna! I have trouble even doodling, so I marvel how you can take an empty canvas and create such a lovely piece of art! Bravo!

  6. Wow, I am loving the step by step and I can feel how scary it would be. I would be so scared of making a mistake but also would have to keep telling myself it’s art. There is no mistake. Looking great!

  7. Sharon Mann says:

    Your painting turned out full of life, beautiful. I like the impressionistic style.

  8. Kari says:

    I love your finished painting Jenna. You are so talented and I would be a bit concerned starting with red. Obviously, Melanie proved it could be done beautifully. Thank you for sharing.

  9. This sounds like a great class. And don’t tell Melanie but I really, truly and totally honestly loved your painting (and your flowers in other posts) much more than hers. Which tells me that you went for inspiration and new techniques, perhaps — but your skill is so dynamite already!

    • Wow Jeanie, THANK YOU! And you’re right, I did go for inspiration, and will admit I did get a little frustrated trying this technique…we did a lot of exercises with mixing color and value sketches which I found helpful. As an artist yourself, you know we all have our own way of doing things, and there is no one right way…

    • Lorraine says:

      I totally agree with marmeladegypsy. I love all your paintings, especially the weeping willow! I so admire people that can do impressionistic or abstract paintings. My brain works in a different way. I see so many details and colors that it’s hard for me to know which ones to leave out and I end up over-detailing and obsessing too much. Being a self taught artist, I think that starting with a red background is really weird, but the final effect is very interesting. I probably would have been freaking out in the class, especially working with paint that doesn’t dry fast. I’m a very impatient painter too and I use a hairdryer to speed up the process. lol!!

      • thanks Lorraine, I really appreciate hearing from fellow artists. I usually paint fairly quickly and just use a spray water bottle to keep my paint wet, that way I can blend on the palette or on the canvas if I want to. Mixing paint with gel makes it too thin for my liking, and to me the beauty of heavy body acrylics is the fact that they are thick, and that’s the whole point! I have a mini dryer that I use for watercolor, I’m going to try it with acrylic, good idea! The red underpainting is very effective for landscapes, the theory being you should use the color opposite on the color you will be mainly using for your painting, hence red-green, purple-yellow, blue-orange…I usually use black but I am going to experiment. Thanks for commenting and happy painting!

  10. pattyanneart says:

    Oh what a wonderful class. I love your beautiful weeping willow, Jenna!! ❤️

  11. Mary says:

    Jenna, I love the red underpainting and how it adds so much dimension and color! Your landscape of the trees and the road is one of my favorites! ♥

  12. Michelle says:

    My mom and I have done several painting classes and loved them! Your weeping willow is beautiful!!

  13. Rita C. says:

    Jenna, I admire your “branching out” and trying a new-to-you style and class. What fun, great mind stimulation, and great end results!

  14. Julie says:

    Wow Jenna, you did such beautiful paintings from the art lessons you took. It’s great that you are learning a different technique for your painting. You really are talented and I love looking at all of your art work.
    Thanks for sharing at Cooking and Crafting with J & J.
    Enjoy the week.
    Julie xo

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  1. […] painted the gessoboard black, and taped the inspiration photo and color charts I made during the workshop to my […]

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