WIP - Brand New Succulent Painting

I'm so excited to show you what I've been working on in between my recent #the100DayProject paintings. I started sketching my idea for this painting last year, but put it on the side in order to take part in two indie art & craft shows. This year I spent a ton of time painting and prepping tons of tiny cacti paintings for two art shows/markets and a consignment shop in Chicago. Then the 100 Day Project started and I’ve been holed up in my studio working on these tiny paintings every night. Whew! So, I've been painting, just nothing larger than 3"x3" inches. Until this past week.

This painting has been calling me. For months. Every time I saw her in the studio, half drawn out, I felt such a pang to paint. I finally succumbed last week and I’m so glad I did!


Yes, I did number the leaves on the painting and on my reference photo. It helps to keep track of the leaves as I draw.


I'm in love with this painting! I realize I probably say this about every painting I work on, but really, it's true. You know that feeling when you have a brand new boyfriend/girlfriend and you cannot stop thinking about them? And when you're with them, time goes by so fast and all of a sudden you look up it's 2am and you are way past curfew? You muddle through the next day and the thought of seeing them keeps you going? This is exactly how I feel about this painting.

I hope you have a project that makes you feel like this!


Happy creating!





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64/100 - The 100 Day Project

Hello friends! For today's painting, I tried to paint a photo I had taken of petunias from my planters. I remembered why I don't like acrylic paint-- it dries too fast! I had all sorts of problems with this painting. It turned out okay, i mean, you can tell that they are purple flowers, but it didn't turn out quite like I had wanted it. That's okay though. I'm practicing and learning! :D

 64/100. 3"x3" acrylic on canvas.

64/100. 3"x3" acrylic on canvas.

I hope you remember to keep going with this challenge, even when things don't turn our like you plan, or if things get a bit hard. I'm rooting for you! If you need some motivation, please comment in the comment section below! Let's get through this challenge together!


happy creating!



WIP - Yellow Rose for Mom

Happy first days of Spring. It's been "officially" spring for about a week or so, but someone forgot to tell Mother Nature. It's still COLD! But, the days are getting longer, the sun is shining more, and the earth and trees are waking up and that makes me ridiculously happy.

I've been working on a large 18"x24" painting to give to my mom for Mother's Day.  Shhhhh!!!!! Don't tell her, she doesn't know this is for her yet! Yellow roses are one of her favorite flowers (carnations being her most favorite, just a little FYI there...) and I thought she would love this and it would look really nice in her space.

I'm almost finished. I had to set it down and walk away from it for a while. I have the tendency to overwork a painting and I knew if I kept this on my easel, I would go back in and redo bits of it. Right now, I'm pretty happy with how it's turning out.


I've been working on this painting since the end of January (in between succulent and cactus paintings and my new pilea painting, of course.) and I love how it's turned out.


In retrospect, I really like how the rose was painted here. I dig the messiness of it.


This painting has been such a pleasure to work on! I cannot wait to give to my mom. I hope she loves it!!





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WIP - New pilea plant and succulent paintings

Happy.... March? Really? Well then. I have a lot to share with you. Today though, I would like to share two of my latest works in progress. First is my new Pilea Peperomioides painting. I love this little plant and I can't wait to get my grubby little paws on a real one. In the meantime, painting them will have to suffice. 

This pilea painting is painted in oils on a 6x6 by 1.5 inch canvas.


Next up is, maybe a little unsurprisingly, a succulent. This painting is still very much a work in progress. I just sketched it out and started laying down some colors. The colors aren't right at all and I need to do a little bit of work refining them. But, it's a good start.


I really love that the image is carried over onto all fours sides. It will look fantastic when it's finished and hanging on the wall.


What projects have you been working on? Let me know in the comment section below!

Have a great day!




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WIP - Cactus Painting

Hello! Happy Wednesday ! I am super excited to show you my WIP for this cute little cactus painting. You saw a sneak peek of it in the last WIP post featuring the large succulent painting I finished. Here it is in all of it's messy, unfisnished glory:


So there it is, on the bottom left. It looked okay, but I wasn't happy with the background and I thought that the greens looked a little flat. I decided to re-work the background and give it a little depth and interest and I added more yellow and even some red to the greens to make them look a bit more interesting.

Here's where we're currently at:


A little better, right?

The next step will be to add the little spines, and then I think I'll be finished! I need to step it up though-- I have a craft show that I will be participating in the first weekend of December. I'll post more details soon!

What are you working on? Let me know in the comment section below!


WIP COMPLETE - Large Succulent Painting

Hey! How's it going? Remember last week, when I posted the WIP of the large succulent painting I've been diligently working on? I'm happy to report that it's FINISHED and I absolutely LOVE how it turned out.

FINISHED! Large Succulent Oil Painting by april bern

My favorite part of this painting? Using this new paint color:

Phthalo Turquoise

It is such a gorgeous color and it blends so well with pinks to make the beautiful shades of purple you see in this painting. It also makes a gorgeous shade of green when mixed with yellow. I really should do a color swatch and show you guys. Do yourself a favor and pick up this paint color. You won't be disappointed.

current paintings.jpg

Check out the great shades of green in my newest WIP on the bottom left corner. That's a combination of the phthalo turquoise, cadmium yellow pale and white. I added phthalo blue to darken the greens. Pretty right? I'll post a proper WIP featuring that painting next week.

What are you working on? I'd love to see it. Leave a comment and a link to your latest WIP in the comments section below.



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WIP - Large Succulent Painting

Well hello!

I decided to take a little break from blogging and painting after #the100dayproject.  As I was nearing the end of the project, I began worrying I might not go back to oils and painting the super detailed and blendy way I usually do. Diving into abstracts, working with acrylics, and painting with my fingers was so fast, and so fun. Really, quite freeing. It's how I've always wished that I could paint. So I was a little apprehensive when I picked up my brush to begin a new oil painting few weeks ago. I went in with no preconceived ideas of how it was going to turn out. If it was full of brushstrokes, I'd be okay. If it was super blended, I was fine with that too. I just wanted to paint.

And then I made this:

succulent painting 8x8

I know, right?! This little 8x8 inch painting happened so fast! It took a week from start to finish. I can't get over how amazing it turned out. There are some bits that I didn't blend to death and I love them. I think I might be finally learning to embrace the visible brush strokes!


This is my current work in progress:


I'm clearly not finished drawing/painting succulents. I decided to be a little more adventurous and paint on a 16x20 inch canvas panel. Again, I drew pretty loosely, and figured I can fix the shapes when I go in and start painting.

 This is what I lovingly call the "ugly phase"

This is what I lovingly call the "ugly phase"


This is where I'm currently at. I've been painting nearly every evening (thank you #the100dayproject for helping build a painting habit!) The top half is totally done and I'm super happy with it. Now, onto the bottom portion. I can't wait to see how the rest of this one turns out! 



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100 paintings in 100 days - I completed #the100dayproject!

I can’t believe I did it, but I successfully completed the #100dayproject; 100 paintings in 100 days! It seems a little unreal because I didn’t think I would even be able to get through the first two weeks. There were many (many!) days I didn't feel like painting. And there were that many more where I wanted to straight up quit, because I hated what I made. I have to give a BIG shout out to my friends and family who gave me the space and time to create, and who gave me inspirational pep talks whenever I contemplating quitting.

100 paintings in 100 days - #the100dayproject complete

Seeing them all together like this is a little impressive!

100 paintings in 100 days
#the100dayproject 2017 abstract painting

I wish I would have taken notes, or journaled during this process. Truthfully, I didn't think about it. I just painted. But looking back, there are a few lessons that this challenge has taught me.

1. You can’t wait for inspiration, the right mood, your muse, or divine intervention to create. The act of creating begets more creating. It’s so true. You have to just sit down and do it!

2. Don’t judge. Your only job is to make the work.

3. Don’t let other’s opinions (or lack of) deter you. Again, just make the work.

4. Make the time for your art/project. If it's important to you and you really want to do it, you will find a way. Even if you have to get up a little earlier before work in the morning or miss your favorite show, or order take-out a little more often; you can figure out how to make the time. Where there's a will, there's a way.

There it is! The Final Painting for my 100dayproject

And there she is! The last painting of my #the100dayproject for 2017.  I'm SUPER happy to have stuck with this project despite my doubts, insecurities, and occasional laziness.

So now that I've completed that personal challenge, I'm going to work on finishing all the little painting projects I started prior and then get my shops ready for the holidays. Also all my 100day paintings are for sale and will be slowly added to my shop. If you're interested in any of them, feel free to browse them on instagram and send me an message and we'll work out the details.

How did your 100 day project go? What did you learn? Would you do it again? What are you planning next? Are you psyched to do another right away?

I hope your experience was fantastic. And if you're not finished yet, just keep at it! You got this!





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