2024 Online Alla Prima Challenges Resource PART I

2024 Online Alla Prima Challenges Resource PART I

Second Annual Online Alla Prima Challenges

20 live painting alla prima sessions over 20 weeks (plus an introductory orientation) beginning on: January 12

WHEN: Thursdays – 2 pm to 3 pm EST. starting January 18th, 2024

Welcome to the official Smartermarx thread for the 2024 Online Alla Prima Challenges. Sessions will be carried out each Thursday at 2 pm EST. Each session will last about 1 hour, which includes 30-45 minutes of painting time (depending on the challenge for that week) and 15-20 minutes of discussion about the goals of the exercise and some tips to make the effort more successful. After each session, participants will have one hour to share a photograph of their effort in a shared Dropbox folder that will serve as a private learning gallery for all participants. Links to the folder will be made available in an email like this one that precedes the session.

Prior to the first painting session, I will be hosting an “Orientation” session on January 18th. This will serve as an introduction to the challenges, a walkthrough of the primary goals, what is needed to participate, the role of the Dropbox gallery, and a general Q&A to ensure everyone is ready to go on January 25th!

TO REGISTER: Please complete and submit the appropriate email sign up form on Anthony Waichulis’ website on this page: Online Classes and Events | Art and Articles

If you are interested in learning about each challenge ahead of time, you can see the full schedule here: Alla Prima Challenges. Also, if you are interested, Smartermarx has additional info on the general strategies that I often use to approach the alla prima (specifically the SNAG concept – Survey, Notan, Anchors, and Gradations.) If you wish to join us, please sign up today! (You can unsubscribe from the list at any time.) Please forward any additional questions to my administrator, Anya Dribas, at aaaw.anyadrs@gmail.com.

JANUARY 18: ORIENTATION

Here you will find all of the information (appropriate links (including Dropbox folder links for image sharing), notes, reminders, etc.) for The 2024 Online Alla Prima Challenges.

NOTE: Please respect the work, rights, and privacy of participating artists. You may view the efforts in in the following Dropbox folders from the sessions for educational purposes, but you may not download or manipulate their work in any way. All files in the Drobox folders will be deleted 2-3 weeks following each session. In addition, please know that live sessions, including questions and contributions from participants, will not be recorded to respect each participant’s experience.

Certain files may be included for participant usage (provided by Anthony or Anya and may be downloaded.) Such files will be indicated during the relevant live session.

Key points from Jan 18th orientation session:

  • Please keep yourself muted during session unless you are part of an active conversation. Here’s 2 tips for quick muting/unmuting during zoom sessions:
  1. While muted, press and hold down SPACE when you want to talk. This unmutes you temporarily.
  2. Keyboard hotkeys for toggling mute:
  • • Mac: Command(⌘)+Shift+A
  • • Linux: Alt-A
  • • Windows: Alt-A
  • The primary goal with the sessions is illuminate the consequences of the fundamental components (concepts and actions) of your process by utilizing timed, narrow-focus challenges that can provide fast feedback and useful insights.
  • Sessions are not intended to be a demo series. This is a group activity that works best for both the group and the individuals when participants engage with the activity in concert. In addition, the series is not intended to instruct anyone to “paint like me,” but rather to analyze the fundamental components that make up YOUR process with short, controlled challenges.
  • While “I’d like to watch first then try it on my own–on my own time!”, may sound intuitively advantageous, in my experience, such a practice often leads to diminished returns. Again, the sessions are not designed to teach people to do something like I do it (although I am elated if any aspect of my process proves useful to you.) rather, this is about analyzing your own output, generated with adaptations of your own process, in a context that has been demonstrated to yield productive feedback.
  • If you are not sure exactly how to approach a specific aspect of the alla prima—don’t worry—just give it your best shot (using even a “best guess” if necessary.) We need to make mistakes or even an outright mess to find meaningful development. Avoiding experience will get you nowhere. Additionally, I find that it is often far more effective (in a learning context) to try and “modify,” add or delete a component of an existing process when the experience of the process and the relationship to the resulting product are fresh in your mind. Remember that experiences (especially what you might deem mistakes, errors, frustrations, etc.) will also cultivate the most useful questions for you that I hope we can answer together. (I’ve referred to this practice as “building an experience database.”
  • You should be ready to paint right when the session starts with you subject matter arranged and illuminated, your palette and brushes at the ready, and have the criteria for the session in mind.
  • When selecting, arranging, and lighting your subject matter, keep in mind the guiding principle in this context:

RECOGNITION MUST SURVIVE ABSTRACTION!

  • Regarding pre-mixing rules: What this means is that you are forbidden from mixing locals or other observable “color notes” perceived within or around your subject. Such mixing should be done “on the fly” (i.e., as part of your painting time.) This limitation pushes you to exercise your intuitive or heuristic -based understanding of color dynamics. Pre-mixing limitations can also push one to experiment in a more cavalier manner with buffer or step colors (or chromophages) (which are colors that are added to a particular painted passage or transition to appear closer to the perceived transitions within your subject (often generated by illumination or reflectance properties.) It is very important to acknowledge and remember that observed transitions with your subject do not often map to a simple mixture of the obvious categorical components that may define the poles or anchors of the transition. For example, a transition that may be observed to evolve from a fairly bright yellow to black will likely not be matched by simply mixing a black and yellow paint. More colors will need to be involved.

  • Additionally, the pre-mixing limitation may push you to explore means of hitting certain perceived color notes with an analog application dynamic, surface topography, etc. that may move beyond what we would expect with simple pigment mixing.

  • SWITCH COSTS: One can find incredible advantages in efficiency and effectiveness with minimizing “switch costs” during their process. Simply speaking, switch costs are the time, mental and physical costs incurred when switching between different tasks. For example, I highly recommend that that palette arrangement is made consistent to avoid “hunting for colors”, making sure you have enough paint out to avoid stopping to replenish the palette, and keeping all required brushes within arms reach so you don’t have to break from your work time to retrieve them, etc… These things can aggregate to seriously impact a 30-minute exercise putting you at a great disadvantage. (This is a great example of how a 30-minute alla prima challenge can illuminate something that may be plaguing your day-to-day painting practices.)

  • PROXIMITY: I urge everyone engaging in these exercises (or any observational representation for that matter) to consider the subject’s proximity to the representation target (canvas, panel, etc.) As we observe our subject, we attend to the things that we feel may best serve our end goal. However, as we turn from our observed subject to observe the target surface—the information garnered from the subject begins to fade from our iconic and short term visual memory and becomes subject to compensation or enhancement from our long terms memory which is incredibly imprecise. Iconic memory is the visual sensory memory register pertaining to the visual domain and a fast-decaying store of visual information. Iconic memory is described as a very brief (<1 second). Visual short term memory (VSTM) is a memory system that stores visual information for a few seconds so that it can be used in the service of ongoing cognitive tasks. Long-term memory (LTM) is the memory store that can hold informative knowledge indefinitely. However long-term memory is by far the most abstract and imprecise.

  • The palette draw rule means that after a certain number of brushstrokes you must pull more paint from the palette (reloading the brush) or you may void the brush altogether. This is done to ensure that you are not over-modeling the study relative to the challenge (i.e., unwarranted surface manipulation that leads to value/color contamination or excessive “blending” without drawing development or material application.) For example, a 5 stroke palette draw rule means that you can only apply five strokes before you must wipe and/or reload the brush—thus encouraging the artist to think more “economically” and deliberately about brushwork. Additionally, the stroke rule should not be seen as a “minimum” number of strokes you must make prior to making a change to the brush—but rather, a maximum. Lastly, large homogenous regions, scrubbing, and early line work are all exceptions to the stroke rules unless otherwise stated (as they do not usually carry an immediate overmodeling or contamination threat.

  • A reminder newsletter will be issued via email each Monday with the Zoom link for the following session, along with a description of the challenge so that you may acquire the subject needed as well as any other pertinent info.

Anthony’s Palette is based on, or adapted from a traditional double-primary configuration:

NEXT SESSION: JANUARY 25th

image

ALLA PRIMA GALLERY FOLDER FOR CHALLNAGE #1:

1 Like

NEXT SESSION: FEBRUARY 1ST:

Challenge #2

Congratulations to everyone who survived the first challenge and is already looking forward to next Thursday. As with the last session, a reminder email will be issued on Monday with links to this thread as well as the Drobox gallery from Challenge #1.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: As it turns out, I’ve learned that many had issues with Dropbox. No worries, starting next week, you will have the option of uploading to Dropbox yourself or simply emailing your image to allaprimachallenges@gmail.com, and we will upload it for you. Again—I’d rather you focus your energy on painting instead of trying to cope with Dropbox!

Also, you may have noticed that I did not “close” access to the Dropbox (DB) after 2 hours, as previously stated. With all of the issues people were having in uploading to DB, I decided to simply leave the folder open. I think I may just leave it open from here on out. Don’t forget, though—in an effort to avoid needlessly taking up anyone’s storage space (if they are synced to save everything), I will be deleting the Challenge #1 Folder the day before Challenge #2 begins (Wednesday). A new folder link will appear below these notes this coming Wednesday. That will be the Dropbox gallery for Challenge #2. (Again, don’t forget that you can choose to simply email it in if you like to the aforementioned address.)

Ok, about this week’s challenge: Get your Feet Wet 2 Diving in!

The criteria for this week are identical to last week, with the implication that you can feel free to challenge yourself even more if you like. Many people ask me why the first two challenges are the same. This has to do with exploiting that “experience database” I mentioned in the orientation. From your first experience, I would bet that you identified a number of things you might like to do differently. The second challenge is basically identical to the first so that you may test out some of those changes without having new scenario criteria that may lessen your ability to assess the success or functionality of those changes.

ANALYZE AND STRATEGIZE:

To make the most of these exercises, it is important to try and spend some time studying your own work and the efforts of the others in the group to build a strategy for growing success. Here are a few topics to think about when studying the efforts of Challenge #1 and strategizing for Challenge #2.

1. Small changes. When you are analyzing your work and planning for the next session, I would recommend limiting the number of changes you might make to your approach/process. I find, in general, 2 or 3 changes to your approach are more than enough to bring about a significant difference. If you start to change too much at once, assessing the impact of any one factor can become more difficult. In addition, in my experience, when people start to get frustrated, they tend to “run home to Mama.” This means that they will likely default to whatever they have been comfortable doing in the past and toss out everything new. These exercises absolutely have stress built in. Don’t overtax yourself on top of it.

2. Right tools for the job. Consider how your tools served your goals here. Were you battling with the palette? The brushes? The lighting? Do you have a plan to address or alleviate such factors? The most common observation that people were messaging me about was, indeed, brush sizes. In the orientation, I offered up the heuristic, “Use the biggest brushes that you reasonably can.” Many found that the brushes they chose were far too small. Let’s look at a few reasons why a “too small” brush can be problematic here.

First, consider the level of resolution that you are abstracting to. Higher levels of abstraction mean less information and likely more “large” statements. Smaller brushes may give us an intuitive sense of greater control, but they actually can make your job far more difficult in this context. For example, let’s say you are laying in a relatively homogenous middle tone (with slight variation as light moves toward the shadow.) This might be communicated relatively simply with a few strokes done with a larger brush. However, the same task with a smaller brush can quickly introduce far more variations than what is desired. Additionally, the 5-stroke rules can put small brush users are a greater disadvantage as the same area covered in 5 strokes with your average size 6 bristle filbert might take 3 or 4 times that with a size 2.

Second, it is also important to acknowledge that smaller strokes push the artist to make smaller distinctions which can sometimes work against the effort to abstract. Believe it or not, I would argue that the size of the brush dictates, at least in part, the resolution of the observations being made. Simply speaking, put a small brush in your hand, and you will attend to small bits of information. Put a large brush in your hand, and you will attend to larger bits of information. So if you are engaged in significant abstraction, you are likely to find more success (generally speaking) in attending to larger, more global attributes than smaller (with exceptions, of course.) For better or worse—size matters here.

3. Lose that Notan; you’ll likely lose your form. Most representations begin with a simple separation of general light and dark. Many squint down at the subject, limiting incoming information to better observe this separation. A good example of a binary separation can be seen in the Japanese art of the “Notan.” Introduced to American art by Arthur Wesley Dow (1857 – 1922), among whose students was Georgia O’Keeffe, “notan” is a Japanese word for the interaction between dark and light. In 1899 Dow published a book, Composition: A Series of Exercises in Art Structure for the Use of Students and Teacher, that presented design as founded on three principles: line, color, and notan (notan meaning the massing of dark and light areas in a composition.)

Like the traditional Notan, the development stage that often follows the survey, outline, cartoon, or envelope involves a simplification of the subject by assigning different areas as either belonging to “light” or “shadow.” One tends to indicate shadows with a generally darker mass-in, while the exposed ground serves to indicate the light.

These two areas are then populated with additional values and colors that are intended to bring the representation into a closer kinship with the observed subject. However, this stage (following the notan-like separation) is where we can often betray our initial observed separation. Without going into to much detail about the “why,” I would just like to say that at any given time during the development of your subject—you should be able to squint and see the same general notan-like separation of light and dark that you may continue to observe in your subject. If you cannot squint and see it–you likely damaged the relationship by adding colors/values into the light that moved it closer to the dark or vice versa.

One common issue related to this is when the artist blocks in a general average or “local” color/value for the light or shadow and then adds or subtracts too much in one direction. To understand what I mean, imagine that you are painting an apple. You squint down and observe a general averaged “light” region that you indicate accordingly. Later, you want to add some indications of the surface texture by adding some strokes to indicate the light freckles on the apple that pepper the surface. However, when you start adding the light bits, you are changing the average of the initial averaged local, thus changing the relationship you indicated in the first place. If you start with an “average,” and you wish to increase resolution, you must do so by balancing light and dark additions to keep the average so it holds its relationship with other elements. If this sounds confusing, I can expand on the concept before we start painting on Thursday. Just let me know!

4. A Compositional Boundary Box. Artist Julie Beck asked me to share the reasons that we push artists to “square off” a composition for the challenges rather than just allowing unchecked vignetting. The main reason for this is to increase attention toward the importance of contextual information. I cannot stress enough that contextual information has an enormous impact on how we perceive colors, values, forms, and even entire subjects. Your subject and its surround go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, for some, this context is sometimes viewed as little more than a decorative afterthought leaving the majority of the attention placed within the subject’s contours. By promoting a boundary box for a composition that includes subject and contextual surround, one is more likely to assign increased attention to the surround that may serve to significantly improve the way in which the subject is communicated.

Ok, I think that’s enough info for this week. Take some time to consider these points and decide if any are applicable moving forward. Again, don’t try to change too much with what you are doing so as to overwhelm your process and derail your overall productivity. In addition, don’t be afraid to ask about any of this during the next session. It’s important to me that these concepts are well understood.

NEXT SESSION: FEBRUARY 8,:

Challenge #3

Congratulations to everyone that survived the first two challenges and is already looking forward to the next one. This next session brings a great number of challenging restrictions, but for very good reasons (that I will address here.) Some have referred to this week as “The Dreaded Lemon” (not to be confused with the “Apple from Hell” from my Photoshop and Digital Imaging 101 course.) As with the last session, a reminder email will be issued on Monday with links to this thread as well as the Drobox gallery from Challenge #2.

IMPORTANT NOTICE: For those that would rather not upload to Dropbox themselves, remember that you can email your image to allaprimachallenges@gmail.com, and we will upload it for you. Again—I’d rather you focus your energy on painting instead of trying to cope with Dropbox!

Ok, let’s look at this week’s challenge: Triple Threat Thursday!

While the first two sessions were nearly identical in criteria so that you may better appreciate and evaluate the effectiveness of any procedural or conceptual changes that you wanted to implement, this week really shifts criteria gears–so be prepared for some potential “turbulence.” The name for this week’s challenge comes from the number of restrictors that will define the session (along with the fact that we often took part in the challenges on Thursdays here at the Academy.) Triple threat Thursday parameters: 1. The composition must include a relatively high-chroma yellow against a reasonably “black” background. (Lemons are most often used for this exercise as biomorphic subjects (like vegetables or fruit) do not often bring too much taxing geometry to be drawn.) 2. Standard restrictions remain: 30-minute time limit/No premixing. 3. DOWNWARD vertical strokes only with the 5-stroke palette draw rule in effect.

So you might be asking yourself, what is the benefit of an exercise with so much restrictive criteria? Well, the standard time limit, palette draw rule, and premixing rules have been explained in detail already. So allow me to address the yellow/black combination and directional stroke restriction:

  1. Yellow subject on with black surround. This restriction forces us to consider quite a bit–including some things that we might otherwise gloss over in our day-to-day work. First, we have to think about the behavior of the actual paints themselves. What does the black do to the yellow when intermixed and vice versa? Most people have had rather unfortunate experiences when trying to make yellow darker or weaving something yellow into something black. There’s a perceptual issue that compounds the “mixing” issues with a dark yellow that I won’t bore you with here other than to say that the identity of a dark yellow for us often becomes a categorical brown or green. Therefore, a mixture of the two can immediately yield a product with a hue that, in context, just might not seem to belong. Even a slight mix is often immediately noticeable and challenging to correct, and this can be very advantageous in an exercise when one is looking to build greater precision/control and aiming to grow application strategies. For example, in the context of this exercise, we will need to be extremely deliberate with where and how our paint is applied. The risk of contamination will be very high throughout most of the session. You will need to find advantage in the placement and pressure of your brushstrokes, the order in which colors are applied, and you’ll need to keep very good track of what brushes have been contaminated with what colors. (I’ve seen way to many people grab the wrong brush and start a cascade of color contamination that led right to “mud town.”

So what are some things that the partitioner can do to find success aside from carefully placed brushstrokes? Well, first, we would think about which pigments we will use and the order in which specific colors are laid down. We will need to carefully consider the mixing impact of each color, starting with the marks that will define the survey/cartoon. Ask yourself what color might be ideal to draw with so that it has either a minimal impact on subsequent paint or serves some mixing purpose. It is here that I like to rely on a chromophage (a color that “eats” an unwanted cast.) Since most yellow and black mixtures will elicit an appearance of something “greenish,” I’d likely start my drawing with something “reddish” so that it may contribute to canceling out the “greenish cast.”

Next, what actual colors should we use to communicate our yellows or blacks? For example, we often think of a general or canonical black as a single dark entity. However, a colloquial black can have a good number of compositional variations that may not be noticed in the combined result but may have a significant impact on mixing dynamics. Often, when I am painting, and I see an area that needs to be represented by the darkest dark (or something colloquially black), I think about what contextual paints are nearby and how this “black” will need to interact to decide what components my black should hold. I can use any number of black paints to produce very different results. Look at this illustration from Aaron Westerberg’s site demonstrating the differences between Ivory Black (Bone Black, PBk9), Lamp Black ( Carbon Black, PBk6), Mars Black (PBk11), Payne’s grey, and Perylene Black (PBk31).

For more on this illustrations please visit Aaron’s site here:

www.aaronwesterberg.com

Oil Painting Blacks

Do you think that each of these will impact your yellow paints of choice in the same way? The answer is a resounding no–not at all. In addition, there are many more “black” paints, along with many mixtures that can be described as “chromatic black.” You can learn more about mixing your own chromatic black here: Chromatic Black - Gamblin Artists Colors

So, forcing a composition with these two colors in this context provides us with the opportunity to look closer at the composition of our colors, how they might interact with other paints, and strategize about the manner and order of application.

  1. Downward strokes Only. This restriction does a great deal to compound the focus of the yellow/black restriction. Limiting one to only downward brushstrokes forces even the most experienced painters to focus on some of the most basic attributes of a single brushstroke—and that’s really the name of the game here. (Some have asked why there isn’t a horizontal strokes-only challenge, and the reason is that strokes that lie perpendicular to a semi-raking light source (like what is often found with an easel) lead to little more than overwhelming glare.)

In addition, many artists often attempt to enhance volume or form communication by deploying brushstrokes that “follow” a form. In other words, their strokes might be configured similarly to a wireframe scaffolding for the form or volume they are attempting to communicate. The downward brushstroke restriction stops that, pushing the artists to increase focus on using deliberate color and value-thus, again compounding the aspects of the yellow/black challenge listed above.

Ok, I think that’s enough info for this week. As before, don’t be afraid to ask about any of this during the next session. It’s important to me that these concepts are all well understood.

For those posting their efforts to social media—if you want to see the efforts and social media posts related to this series consolidated please use the following hashtag: #allaprimapocalypse

NEXT SESSION: FEBRUARY 15:

Challenge #4 Week 5

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. I hope you are all looking forward to next Thursday, as with it comes the freedom to use any stroke directions you want. LOL! Don’t get too relaxed, though. This upcoming challenge does bring some interesting aspects to consider.

REMINDER: For those that would rather not upload to Dropbox themselves, remember that you can email your image to allaprimachallenges@gmail.com, and we will upload it for you. Again—I’d rather you focus your energy on painting instead of trying to cope with Dropbox!

Before we delve into the specifics regarding the upcoming challenge, I want to take a quick moment to reiterate something that I mentioned during the last session regarding the nature of these exercises. While it is true (and useful) that we all view success for each one of these challenges as a product that “looks good,” remember that painting a pretty picture is not the end goal with these exercises. They are about exploration, analysis, experimentation, and experience. They offer a very controlled arena in which we can examine much about our basic assumptions, conceptualizations, and procedural components. While we strive to make deliberate, economical marks chasing abstraction against the clock–we can find GREAT success in what we learn, what we think to question, and what new possibilities open up to us from the experience. Keep this in mind when evaluating your efforts. Each one of these challenges constitutes a metaphorical “spin class” for painters: We exercise hard (cognitively and physically) and build the resources and skills that we come to rely on every time we approach the easel.

Ok, let’s look at this week’s challenge: Flower Power!

After a grueling week that held a frustrating limitation or two—we are given back the freedom to choose subjects of any color and engage in any stroke directions we like. WHEW! AT the very least, the experience from last week’s stroke limitation should give you a new appreciation for some of the brushwork that you may often take for granted. Moving forward, I recommend that you try to think about your brushwork with as much focus as you did when you were limited to the downward vertical.

Just a quick note on challenge order: As a curriculum designer, I invest a good amount of time in the sequencing of any serial activity. I try to ensure that the order and context in which things are done are aimed at providing the richest experiences as well as the greatest chances for meaningful insight and skill development.

So why is the floral subject next? Well, thus far (and with my recommendation, of course), many have stuck to relatively simple biomorphic subjects. And again, by simple biomorphic subjects, I mean simple living forms found in nature (like vegetables, fruits, etc.) With such forms, we have a good amount of wiggle room with our drawing so as not to get mired in difficult or time-consuming geometries or other complexities at this time–allowing practitioners to focus more on other fundamental aspects of the exercise. However, flowers, while still technically biomorphic, do start to usher in slightly more complicated forms, color relationships, and even a few geometries that can call for increased precision in drawing and paint application.

So get ready! Grab a flower (or two) that you feel will be an ideal subject for Flower Power! Oh, and as before, don’t be afraid to ask about any of this during the next session. It’s always important to me that the concepts I share are all well understood.

NEXT SESSION: FEBRUARY 22:

Challenge #5 Week 6

Congratulations to all on the successful completion of yet another challenge. I hope you are all looking forward to next Thursday, as it comes with PRE-MIXING!!!. LOL! Don’t get too relaxed, though. As you know, these challenges are designed to be just that…a challenge!

(As with the last session, a reminder email will be issued on Monday with links to this thread and the Dropbox gallery from Challenge #4.)

REMINDER: For those that would rather not upload to Dropbox themselves, remember that you can email your image to allaprimachallenges@gmail.com, and we will upload it for you. Again—I’d rather you focus your energy on painting instead of trying to cope with Dropbox!

Before we delve into the specifics regarding the upcoming challenge, I want to take a quick moment to share some thoughts on the exercises for those that are coming at these sessions from a “tight” painting background:

This week, we will already be 25% of the way through the Online Alla Prima challenges series. Yep—we will hit challenge 5 of 20 this Thursday. As such, I thought I’d share a little bit about why this series of challenges can be incredibly useful for painters—even if they don’t “regularly paint this way.”
Many of you have likely come across the idea of “stepping back to see the big picture.” This phrase is often used to describe the practice of changing one’s orientation to a subject, thus altering the perspective so as to appreciate broader aspects. This change in perspective moves our focus from the “part” to the “whole,” compressing the “whole” down into the visual space that previously held the “part.” From this new perspective, we can see issues that may have been very difficult to detect in close proximity.

(It’s important to note that this stepping back, or change in perspective, doesn’t mean that you can see your efforts any “better,” but rather that the perspective can offer access to new or different information that may provide great advantage in the pursuits of your goals.)

Overall, this “stepping back” is a great metaphor for a major aspect of our Alla Prima challenges. When we are engaged in our normal processes (which may stretch over days, weeks, or even months), it may be difficult to appreciate all of the ways in which some concepts or actions may be impacting our overall efforts.

By compressing your process down into a 30-minute exercise, soup to nuts, you can gain a new perspective on, and thus a new appreciation for, many aspects of your own conceptual framework and procedural components. This amplified, almost caricatured, view of your concepts and actions in this context can offer invaluable insights that may not be readily available from your “normal” perspective.

Ok, let’s look at this week’s challenge: Decadent Desserts!!!

Challenge 5 follows in the footsteps of Challenge 4 as it lifts yet another restriction for those who love their pre-mixing. That’s right; you can pre-mix as many colors as you like prior to the painting session. You will notice that restrictions get lifted and return from time to time so that you may better appreciate how certain factors may be contributing to your outcomes. (Before you get too excited, though—remember that the 5-stroke tule and the time limit will still be in effect!)

So get ready! Grab a dessert (or ten) that you feel will be an ideal subject for Decadent Desserts! Oh, and as before, don’t be afraid to toss out any questions during the session. It’s always important to me that the concepts we are exploring are all well understood.