Archive | Challenges RSS feed for this section

Breaking Away From The Brush (Just for a little bit)

22 Nov

Holiday Pocket ATCs - my first SMALL


I’m pretty comfortable around my brush and palette, so when an opportunity to try something new recently came up, I dove right in.  I had to say yes to trying a Pocket Letter swap.  It’s something I have never tried before so I figured it would be a great exercise.  I am familiar with ATCs (Artist Trading Cards) and have been swapping with other artists for years, but what is a Pocket Letter?

A Pocket Letter is an interesting way to communicate with a pen pal or friend.  You fill up a 9 pocket trading card sleeve with ATCs of a theme, then inside the pockets you tuck in little goodies.  These goodies might be washi tape samples, homemade papers, ribbon, stickers, buttons, embellishments, tea bags, sequins, etc.  One of the pockets holds a letter from you to the recipient.  To keep from paying too much in postage make sure you keep the items relatively flat so the sleeve can be folded in thirds and mailed in a business sized envelope.

I found it interesting to design the pocket as a whole larger piece that was still able to break down into individual ATCs.  I was able to use a favorite vintage photo in my piece and it fit the composition well.  It was a fun exercise and I may try it again sometime.

Here are just a few links with various info on the Pocket letter movement and how it’s done.

What Are Pocket Letters Janette Lane

Jane Lane Shows Pocket Letter Sample

Another video of sample Pocket Letter



Paint Chip Challenge

14 Jul
Landscape painting of low moon rising in woods, purple flowers dot the landscape

Low Moon 20″x 16″ watercolor on paper by Katie Turner

Sassy Lilac color

Sassy Lilac #4003-9B

There are two weeks left to view the CNY Art Guild Liverpool Library Show.  “Paint Chip Challenge” will hang until the end of July 2017.  For hours and location click here:

This challenge was an interesting project and it was fun to see what each artist came up with.  The color was given to me by the show organizer.  It is not a color I would have chosen.  I primarily work with transparent watercolors. This particular color required me to use Chinese white to make it opaque.   After painting several different paintings using this color, I settled on entering the picture above into the show.  It was done on watercolor paper using wet into wet techniques and a palette knife to scratch in some of the texture.

Having parameters can make painting more of a challenge but some rules also fuel creativity.  I enjoyed this challenge and would definitely participate in another one.  I highly recommend a challenge like this for healthy art exercise.

Playing for Increased Creativity

27 Jan

Wild Horses carved stamp by Katie Turner

Over the month of December 2016 I participated in Julie Fei-Fan Balzer’s #CarveDecember challenge.   At first I wasn’t sure I would be able to carve that many stamps because December is incredibly busy for me but I managed to find the time.  The commitment to this Instagram challenge helped me step out of my comfort zone.  It was playtime!


Carved rubber stamp Chair by Katie Turner

I’ve read that playing with other mediums can do lots to enhance creativity, but how does it work?  Play can feel like permission to make anything – including making a mess.  It’s a way to say “hey, it’s ok to fail”.  It allows the mind to daydream and be frivolous.

Brian Sutton-Smith wrote the book “The Ambiguity of Play” which outlines the importance of play and Stuart Brown wrote “Play: How it Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul” which outlines detailed studies of people as well.


Vintage Square carved by Katie Turner

Doing the #CarveDecember challenge was fun and refreshing and gave me new ideas to work on this season.  If you like to challenge yourself and grow creatively, there are many places on the internet to participate.  The is only one of them with their Studio Saturday Art Challenges.  You can also find challenges across the various social media – Tumblr, Instagram and Facebook.  Why not try one out this month?

(If you want to follow my posts on Instagram its under katieturnerart)


Carved Cowboy Hat Rubber Stamp by Katie Turner


Carved Heart Rubber Stamp by Katie Turner