painting in progress

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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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 - Pink Peony Oil Painting

Hey there! Long time no see! After the #the100dayproject concluded, I took a small break from painting and focused on creating 2019 calendar templates and 2019 photo calendars for my shops. I wanted to make sure I finished those by end of September. I have good news- I finished and they turned out really great. And do you know what that means? I’m painting again! WOOOO!

Pink Peony Oil Painting - Work in progress

After painting 100 tiny 3”x3” canvas, I decided it was time to go big. I picked up a sweet 20”x20”x2” canvas and began my peony painting by lightly sketching out the shape. I’ve wanted to paint this peony for so long! The layers and shape of the petals are so luscious and drew me in.


I can’t wait to show you the finished painting!

Happy creating!



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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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WIP - Teeny Tiny Succulent Painting

Happy Wednesday! I have the cutest little succulent painting to share with you today. This little one is nearly finished.

Tiny succulent painting by april bern
small succulent painting

Its super tiny-- only 4 inches tall and 2 inches deep.

I don't have any in-progress shots because this one was super quick and super fun. I was totally in the Zone as I worked on her, with coffee as my fuel and Spanish flamenco music as my soundtrack. After I paint the sides she'll be ready to be photographed and added to the shop, alongside some new paintings I've just listed. You'll recognize them as previous WIP stars!

So what new projects are you all working on this week? Let me know in the comments section below.



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WIP Wednesday - Trying out Abstract

Happy Work in Progress Wednesday! Wait, it's not a thing yet? Don't worry, it will be soon.

In Between Days - Abstract Art by April Bern

This week, I worked on something completely different. I tried abstract art! I'm so used to painting what I see and from reference photos and I want my paintings to be as close to photo realistic as possible. But I LOVE abstract art. I've always to be more "free" in my paintings. I am a "tight" painter and I tend to blend the heck out of everything (this isn't a bad thing.) I think painting abstractly might be a way to achieve that "freedom" in my painting.

This painting was fun. I had a canvas that I whitewashed with gesso and I thought to myself "Why not? What have I got to lose?" and I plopped a few colors down. I did blend the paint a little bit, but I made sure to leave some brush marks showing.

In Between Days - Abstract Art by April Bern

I put it down and came back to it a few days later and added a little more color, and I added those splotches. The splotches are my favorite part of the painting so far.

In Between Days - Abstract Art by April Bern

I'm not sure if I'm finished or not. That's the problem with abstract paintings, I think. You aren't ever quite sure if it's finished. I could go back and play with it some more, but then I worry about "ruining" it. It's at a good place right now. Who knows, in the future I might think "why not" and play with it again.



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WIP Wednesday - Cactus Flower Painting

Happy Wednesday!

Check out my current work in progress:

WIP Cactus Flower Original Oil Painting

Please excuse the way off white balance of these images-- there's only so much I can do with my incandescent bulbs and an iPhone. Trust me, it looks way better in person!  

I have to admit, I'm a little ashamed with how much I love this painting... I love the subject (cactus flower? of course!) I love the colors, and mostly, I love the gesso board that I'm painting on. I love how there is hardly any tooth or texture and that makes the physical act of putting the paint on the canvas and moving it around an absolute joy. Everything is coming together so smoothly, which is usually not how my paintings go. I don't think I can go back to painting on canvas (happily) after painting on this surface.

I started with a rough drawing. I'll add details to the painting later.

WIP Cactus Painting

Then, the painting happened. And boy, did it happen. It was such a joy to paint!

WIP Cactus Flower Oil Painting
WIP Cactus flower painting
WIP Cactus Painting

This is where I left off, after two days of painting. I'm giving it a break, letting it rest. I'll come back and paint in a background and paint in more details on the petals this weekend. The last thing I will paint will be the little stamens in the center.

I'll keep you posted!

WIP- Watercolor in Progress Wednesday

Happy watercolor Wednesday! I don't know if watercolor Wednesday is a thing, I just think it sounds like fun. I have a few watercolors in progress to share (again, not sure if this is a thing, but it should be!)

My Peerless watercolors finally arrived and I cut them, swatched them, and got them ready to put into a little binder. I just realized that I didn't take any photos of my Peerless binder set up... I'll take photos and show you next week or so. It's pretty sweet. These watercolors are really incredible and have such vibrant bright color. They are a joy to play with!

Peerless Watercolor Set Up
Peerless Watercolor Set Up Swatches

Of course, once I set up my Peerless binder, I had to play with them, you know, just to make sure they work...

prima watercolor coloring book

I also splurged and picked up a new watercolor coloring book from amazon. This book is GORGEOUS. it's called Painterly Days: The Flower Watercoloring Book for Adults. I highly recommend it, even if you're like me and are a total beginner and don't know what the heck you're doing, this watercolor coloring book is fantastic. The paper quality is quite amazing and the floral drawings are just GORGEOUS. I'm totally addicted. I spent the last two evenings after work painting and playing in this book totally neglecting dinner, dishes, laundry, my blog, my mom.... Again, I have no idea what I'm doing, but I love the process.

Watercolor in progress- Painterly Days

What are you working on? Let me know in the comment section below! I love seeing works in progress!



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