WELCOME!!! This a monthly Art Challenge for anyone who wants to participate. Each month, I will post a poem written by me, and one or more photos relating to that poem. The photos will serve as reference photos for your artwork, which will be posted on WINDOWS TO THE WORDS ART. See complete guidelines on the right hand side bar. ENJOY!!!

Thursday, April 1, 2010


March's challenge, "For the Birds" was absolutely super!!! With 42 submissions, the range of skill and effort ran from very good to fantastic! I thank each of you for sharing your time and talents. At the end of this post, I have a few words on challenges I would like to share with you.

And the Winners Are.... This challenge was for a subscription to Birds and Blooms magazine, a little painting from me , and a pound of birdseed. My group of artist/buddy/judges will meet this weekend (April 4) and tackle the tough job of selecting and I will post them right here on April 5. (p.s. I'll change the birdseed to M & Ms for the bird feeder.)
First Place...Dean Haven's Bluebird. Second ...Faith Te's Bluebird. And Third...Angela Sullivan's Wood Thrush

busting out all over Central Texas and the hills are alive with sweet sights and aromas. The flowers and greenery are magnificent. So.... it's only natural that this month's challenge should be Flowers..."FLOWER POWER". I narrowed the field of possibilities from 6000 to 6, and those reference photos are posted below. Paint one or all and submit them to me by May 1. But first, my corny little poem

This Bud's For You

The icy blasts of winter.
Have made their last retreat,
The snows are
almost melted,
And the air is
clean and sweet.

A hundred shades of green,
Dapple awakening countrysides,
And a warm breeze comes to hug us,
After crisp, cool Springtime nights.

And soon the show begins,
To soothe a w
orld so tense,
A carniv
al of color,
A wonderlan
d of scents.

The Flowers take the center stage,
When buds and blooms burst forth,
A gift of miracles sent to us,
Courtesy of God and Planet Earth.

A special note about blog challenges

It seems like today's world gobbles up time like a beagle on a porkchop. So why take time for an art challenge? A challenge can take your art efforts to places you might not have chosen yourself. This can lead to a "self-discovery" of hidden talents and directions you may not have known about.

Two, challenges allow you to compare your skills and progress with others. You should never become vain or bitter in your art career, because there will always be greater and lesser talent than yours. Learn from those ahead of you, and help others behind you if they seek it.

Three, a challenge can develop relationship and camaraderie...and a good forum for learning. Feel free to visit other contributors blogs...and LEAVE COMMENTS. A comment is like a little business card that says "I came and I care". A great example of a close group that sprang from Karin Jurick's Different Strokes From Different Folks challenge is "The Flying Moleskins"...click HERE to find out more.

Fourth, If a challenge presents fairly popular subject material and good reference photos, you can wind up with a finished product that you may be able to sell, or proudly keep or give as a gift.

Fifth, a challenge (this one especially) requires you to use a portion of the reference photo in your art, but welcomes your imagination to embellish in your own style, For instance, in this flower challenge, you can take one of the flowers and place in a sculptured vase....turn an excercise into a masterpiece.

There are probably a dozen more reasons to participate in at least one or two challenges a month, but the bottom line is HAVE FUN. So do just that...and "keep strokin". Any questions drop me an E-M
........................ James


  1. great subject matter James. Should be a great challenge

  2. I can't wait to choose (which one?!!) a flower and begin a painting! Love your poem! :-)

  3. James, just what I needed to read. I have been doubting my ability or the reason I even paint. I know why, I need something to do, otherwise, my life would be void - REALLY! But, my ability is so lacking that I have begun wondering just why I bother. Your reasons to paint in challenges is just what I needed. Thank you, James, for offering your challenge and for being able to get to the heart of it. You are my "Man of April" (and I'm sure the rest of the year as well)!
    I have really been enjoying following The Moleskin Project. I'm so glad you are part of it!

  4. Looking forward to trying my hand at flowers! Thank you agian for doing this!

  5. I will definitely try to get a drawing done. Looking forward to seeing all the wonderful entries.

  6. Your poem is so good and I'm SURE you will get MANY submissions to your flower challenge. They are all beautiful. I may try again this month if I can get up the courage.

  7. Yep loved your poem again, right to the point. thanksfor the challenge info and hope many give it a try like I have, they are so rewarding in many ways as you mentioned, stretching,learning, sharing and seeing others wonderful works is a fantastic opportunity. Appreciate you and others joining in.

  8. Hi James, I try to post a complete painting on my blog every 5 days, but your challenge is so attractive that I may stray a bit! About something in your piece on blog challenges, I read this in a book called Roads to Santiago about an Italian artist feeling very relaxed with his own work: " He was not talented enough to feel oppressed by his great precursors".That about sums it up! Let us paint, even if it is not quite Michelangelo!

  9. Quite right, Marie! I'm actually not talented enough to feel depressed by my great cursers. :-)

  10. James, it was a genuine pleasure talking to you on the phone today!!My thanks to the judging panel for selecting my painting! I am greatly honored and humbled to have been amid such a great group of artists. I shall look forward to my first copy of B&B.

    I totally agree with your reasons for participating in challenges.

    I had to enter your fine Flower Power challenge for this month.
    I don't do many florals...but when I do, I wind up glad that I did. I consider a flower as one of God's great challenges to painters.

  11. great photos! wish I had time to participate in the challenge, but can't wait to see the art it inspires!