WIP - Succulent Garden Painting - COMPLETE!

Hi! After many many months, i finally finished my most ambitious painting to date! I LOVE how it turned out! This painting was a labor of love, one tiny section at a time.

Succulent Garden - 25"x25" Oil Painting on Canvas

This bad boy is a whopping 25 inches wide by 25 inches tall and 2 inches deep. What a difference from all the tiny 3”x3” paintings I created last year for the 100dayproject. Working on something this large was so refreshing! It’s ironic that I am still using the same tiny brushes that I used when i painted all those tiny paintings. I like to call it my mighty tiny brush…

It’s my favorite mighty tiny brush— a    Simply Simmons angle 1/8 angle brush    that I get from Michaels.

It’s my favorite mighty tiny brush— a Simply Simmons angle 1/8 angle brush that I get from Michaels.


I can’t wait to hang this up! I’m thinking of hanging a few of my larger paintings on the wall behind where I stand to paint. Why, you ask, since the paintings will be behind me? I’m hoping to start something CRAZY and video some timelaspes of me painting, and that may be a nice background… We’ll see. I need to play around with camera angles and positioning. I’ll keep you posted!

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New Art Studio Update - Part 2

Hello! Been quite some time, eh? My little guy was born at the end of March, and the past 4 months have been an absolute dizzying whirlwind! I’m back at work (boo!) and we’re getting into good daily rhythm. I’m learning to make the most of my limited time in the evenings after he goes to sleep. It’s amazing how much I can cram into two hours in the evening! Where was this focus before?

Just before we went back to work, we finally got new desks for our studio/loft space and now I feel the studio renovation is mostly complete. I LOVE LOVE LOVE our desks and the whole set up! We didn’t create the total DIY desk that we originally planned. That was NOT feasible with a newborn!! I didn’t want a store bought desk though. They didn’t offer the space or look that I wanted. We went the semi DIY route with parts from IKEA. We used three bookshelves as the base, and solid beech wood tabletops as our desktops.

New Studio Desk - Step One.

We decided to use these shelves as a base because we wanted storage options, especially since my studio space is now a lot smaller than it used to be. I love the open shelves and if we wanted to get inserts or baskets, we can easily. We chose the solid wood because I didn’t want cheap looking particle board desktop. I wanted something larger too. We were about to give up on the DIY idea until we passed by this tabletop in the Kitchen section.

New Art Studio Desk - Step 2
New Studio Derk - Final

There it is! The perfect desk set up for us! Can you tell which side is mine? The Studio renovation is coming along nicely and I’m quite happy with the whole set up. It’s comfortable, cozy, and I have a great space to paint plus a desk space that’s large enough for my computer and work space for non-computer related projects.

Brand New Art Studio

Here are a few things we bought to create our studio space:

studio furniture.jpg
  1. OttLite Natural Daylight LED Flex Lamp.

  2. MOPPE mini storage chest

  3. Teal 3 tier storage cart

  4. KALLAX shelf unit

  5. GERTON tabletop

  6. Wooden H frame easel

  7. Indira Green Area Rug

  8. RÅSKOG utility cart

Next up on my studio to-do list is to move the rug over so that it’s under my chair, pick up/put up art, wall shelves, new curtains, and new chairs.

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WIP - New Succulent Garden Painting

Hi! I hope you had a fantastic Christmas holiday! Mine was quite lovely. We got to spend a ton of time with family and ate soooo much. I did find a few quiet moments to start a new painting that’s been rolling around in my head. I feel like this one will be one of my most ambitious paintings yet. There is so much going on here. Usually, I stick to a larger, single flower/succulent type of image. This one is PACKED with succulents!

WIP - Succulent Garden Painting

First, I loosely sketch out my drawing to make sure I can fit everything on my large 24”x24” canvas. I just want to get the basic shapes down. The next step is a more detailed drawing, where I start to draw in the actual leafs and petals.

Work in progress - succulent garden painting on easel. First step: Drawing it out.

Just a note: I love my new neutral grey glass palette. It’s fantastic! It’s easy to clean and the colors appear more true than the white plastic palette I was using. This cost a little more than the plastic palettes, but it’s really worth it.

WIP - Succulent Garden Painting. Starting to paint!

Finally, it’s time to paint! I didn’t finish drawing all the details on the right side. I was too eager to start painting. I will continue to make slight adjustments as I go along.

Work in progress - Succulent Garden Painting. Starting to paint.

I am so excited to paint again! Hopefully I’ll be able to finish this one before April of 2019…

What projects are you working on? What are you going to start next year? Let me know in the comments section below!

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WIP - The100DayProject. Halfway Finished!

Wooohoooo!!!! I'm at the halfway point for this years #the100dayproject. I have to be completely honest, I'm ready to be done with this project. I've created these teeny (but cute!) little paintings, but I haven't worked on anything larger than 3"x3" canvases since the start of this project. I'm anxious to create something BIG! I have so many ideas for new paintings. Working on this project has been really beneficial. Since I need to make a painting a day, I feel like I have freedom to experiment and try new techniques (palette knife is challenging) and play with new subject matter (hello landscapes!) I can't wait to try these on a larger scale.




day 42/100 of #the100dayproject. Experimenting with palette knife.
These are two of my favorites paintings.

These are two of my favorites paintings.


50 down, 50 to go!

Here's a video showcasing the first 50 days/paintings from #the100dayproject. Hit play and enjoy! Don't forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel while you're there. I'm working on more videos (paintings in real time, time lapse painting, videos of my garden adventures and more!) and would love if you were part of my adventure!

I have quite a few favorites! Which are yours? Let me know in the comment section below.

If you're participating in the 100 day project and need some encouragement, I wrote about some of the challenges I faced last year and the lessons I learned from completing this project. You can find those posts here:

#the100dayproject - A few thoughts after the first week

Lessons I learned from completing #the100dayproject

I'd love to chat with you and send some encouragement your way.

Happy creating!



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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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