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2020 Wrap Up

First, thanks for all your support last year. If you read a post, commented, emailed, purchased, or shared-thank you.

What a strange and turbulent year it was. Now is a great time to reflect on what went well, what didn’t go well, and what to do in 2021.

What Went Well

I’m excited to announce that Chontele is pregnant with our first child. She just entered her second trimester. So 2021 is already looking like a busy year for us.

Here are some other things that went well:

  • We moved into a new home with my own studio room. A nice upgrade from the garage I was painting in.
  • It was Chontele’s second year working with me. She has been fantastic. Many of you have chatted with her via email throughout the year. She makes sure everything runs like a business so that I can keep doing the artsy stuff.
  • I started doing more plein air work, though not enough. Travel restrictions made it hard.
  • I spent the first half of the year improving my drawing skills.
  • I had prints created for a few recent paintings. More details to come on this.
  • I wrote just over 100 new posts. The most popular were my posts on Marie Bashkirtseff: A Closer Look at Marie Bashkirtseff’s The Umbrella and Marie Bashkirtseff – Stunning Realism, Muted Colors, and Wise Words.
  • I created around 20 paintings. Most of which I’m pleased with. Below are a few.
2020 Dan Scott Paintings

What Didn’t Go Well

2020 was certainly not without challenges. Here’s what didn’t go well:

  • It was a static year. Lots of time in the house and not much travel.
  • Exercise took a hit, along with a few other good habits. Before the pandemic hit, I was training for a marathon that was to take place in July. It was canceled, but I should have continued training and run it alone. I took the easy way out and used the pandemic as an excuse to stop training.
  • My painting, drawing, and writing was erratic. I got a lot done, but I would progress faster with added structure and routine. I expect this to be an ongoing battle throughout my life.
  • I didn’t get much drawing practice done in the second half of the year. My focus was on painting, however, I should have continued doing at least some drawing.
  • Kobe still hasn’t conquered the stairs at our new home. He tries hard, but I usually end up carrying him down myself. And it’s no easy task carrying a squirming, 8-year-old golden retriever down the stairs.

2021 Goals

Here are my goals for 2021:

  • Be a great dad.
  • Create good work.
  • Become a better artist.
  • Catch more fish.

Your Turn

What went well? What went wrong? What’s next? Feel free to share in the comments.

Again, thanks for everything. It’s a pleasure to create art and share my findings with you.

Happy new year!

Dan, Chontele, Kobe, and Baby Bump


Dan Scott is the founder of Draw Paint Academy. He's a self-taught artist from Australia with a particular interest in landscape painting. Draw Paint Academy is run by Dan and his wife, Chontele, with the aim of helping you get the most out of the art life. You can read more on the About page.

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151 comments on “2020 Wrap Up”

  1. Congrats 🥳 To U & Your Wife…Expecting A Wonderful Baby 👶,
    Your Family Growing hey 👋…Happy New Year,
    Keep Smiling & 🎨 Painting 🖼
    XxxXXXxxxX 😎☮️💌🧸🔮🎭🎨🌈🌺☘️🦋

    • Maybe “JackyJill”? Congratulations! You’ll find you will have to structure your time. Been there 4 times, know what you two are in for! I also did not much. But l did start a sketch book and even painted a couple of the sketches. I’ve also tried pictures with no backup photo. One l’m busy on is a landscape at dawn with black stick maidens in colourful attire dancing as they walk from their home settlement in the distance and go off the canvas on the right hand bottom of the picture. Titled “Gyneacological Cancer Survivors”. I had such an op in October. The Surgeon’s consulting room walls are bare so this is for him. It’s like 100cm x80cm. Wish me luck!
      Happy painting the rest of this year.

      • Janet: What a wonderful project to create and to share …. the appreciation ripples will be unbelievable!!

        Dan: Congratulations on your wonderful news!! As a grandmother I am feeling the loving anticipation of your parent and those of your wife. It’s a magnificent journey!!

      • Hi Janet, I wish you every luck and good wishes as you get on with life post cancer. Although I haven’t personally had to cope with this I supported my young daughter in 2018 as she also underwent treatment for cancer and so I think I understand just how hard this is. The fact that you were able to complete a painting shows what a great spirit you have. All the very best for the future. xxsue

    • Dan,
      You do a wonderful job teaching and enlightening me about other Artists

      Happy New Year, looks like your life is booming!

    • Most of my paintings are off the cuff. esp space shots, I have a few on my face book but don’t know how to send you pictures for comment , I also have done a few scenes from photos friends have sent, some I’ve been told were quite nice. if you have the time /inclination I’m at hanoch bernath on fb. good luck on the safe delivery of your package, and as I say, may all your troubles be little ones.

    • Congratulations on your precious babe. I do so enjoy your emails. I’m 83 and still paint for my own enjoyment. I love it.

  2. Hi Dan – thank you so much. You have no idea just how much you have inspired me to paint! For me 2020 has been a year in which I have produced more than 40 canvases – not ever having painted before!!

    I am planning a local show when the Covid restrictions have been relaxed (end of 2021?) and have put some stuff on SaatchiArt.

    So thank you again – I didn’t know I had it in me until you helped me find the path

    Happy New Year – Alison Pemberton-Wright

    • I too picked up painting this year after a 25 year hiatus. Your posts and the academy were a big inspiration to me. In fact, I have sold one of my paintings. Thank you!! Also, The Umbrella resonated with me so much that I have it tattooed on my inner forearm. I wish we could post pictures in the comments. My artist did an amazing job.
      Congrats to you both for the new house & little munchkin on the way!!
      Happy New Year!!

    • Very best wishes to you and your family and congratulations. May this year be happy and healthy and creative, of course! Thank you for all your help and advice.

    • Hi Alison, wow 40 canvases this year having never painted before, that is awesome. I am new to painting but I seem to be intimidated to say the least. I guess I just need to just jump right in and go for it. I would really like to see what you’ve done this past year. Hopefully it will motivate me to get started. Maybe you could e-mail me some photos of your work, or maybe you have a website. I will check out the site you mentioned in your post. Thanks and Happy New Year. Pat

    • That’s amazing and inspiring!
      I have started painting this year for the very first time, to help deal with all the stress and uncertainty around us.
      I dream of painting more and being on a wider platform. You have brought the dream closer.
      Happy New Year!
      An ED doc aspiring to be a painter

  3. Hi Dan,

    Many thanks for your inspirational and much appreciated guidance, next year I promise to do more oils even though I love watercolors and cant resist painting them.
    My other half is an excellent photographer and we plan to have a his and hers exhibition this summer or fall .
    good luck and lots of happiness to you all

  4. Javljam se iz Croatie.Uz sve nevolje koje su nas snašle(potres u Zagrebu, poplave,Covid, stravičan potres u Petrinji), zahvaljujem bogu na modernoj tehnologiji jer se ne osjećamo tako sami.Uz sve to najviše uživam
    u vašim objavama i predivnim člancima.

  5. Thank you Dan, for all your emails through out the year and this last one! Inspiring idea to wrap up the year. I’m looking forward to all the inspiring emails of 2021. Wishing you and you’re family all the best for this year and beyond.

  6. Many congratulations Dan and Chontele on the wonderful news of a new baby. The best day of you’re lives is looming. There is nothing in the world so precious as seeing you’re newborn baby. 🍼
    Thank you for everything you have done for us throughout 2020.
    Here’s to an exciting 2021.
    Happy New Year. 🎉

  7. Congratulations on yours and Chonteles baby news.
    Trying myself to have a plan each day for the things I want to get done. I am even going to journal each day so I can stay focused. Love your art work. Have a blessed week.

  8. Thanks Dan and congratulations ! I just started painting during quarantine and that’s when I took your course. This fall I won an art contest and my piece will be displayed in Feb!!!
    Lots of mistakes along the way. But I just painted over 2 trying a palette knife for the first time. So I guess it’s still growth
    I hope to continue to educate myself and progress in my work. I believe it’s a big part of who I am and as I turn 60 shortly, I love that I can still learn new things
    Happy New Year! Hope to continue to hear from you, even with your soon to be busy schedule

    • Hello Lynn
      I just visited your website and cannot believe you just started to paint! I started about 18 months ago myself and am beginning to feel my motivation decline. It is not a place I would like to be. I love the different products you offer. What a great idea. Happy New Year!

  9. Congratulations! Very exciting news! Thank you for all your posts over 2020. I don’t comment but I always read them and I’ve really enjoyed them especially seeing your artwork and those on different artists and their work. Happy new year…wishing you and your family happiness and good health.

  10. Happy New Year to you all, baby bump as well! Thanks for all your encouraging emails and tips! I didn’t quite get round to doing as much painting as I would have liked (that’s what went wrong in 2020 for me!). So good to hear your news and have the wrap up too! Great idea! Hope, health and happiness to you in 2021!!

  11. I think the insights to the Masters was just what I needed. It is something to focus on besides the grim news from the rest of the World. Insights also with sketchbook items, and the quote from Mann about how sketchbooks are instructional for the growth of artists. I look forward to more and congrads on the coming birth.

  12. Hi Dan! Many congratulations with a coming baby and New Year! Went good I met you and your academy;)
    Good: I paint much more takin advantage from the quarantine. I did yoga and meditation keeping busy inside of home. We work a lot in allotment!
    Bad: do not travel and do not see my daughters for a long time.
    Didn’t do jag flu and postponed some health checkings
    However, I find this year fine because we survived and learner a lot

  13. Hi Dan-
    Congrats to you and Chontele. The baby will bring new and exciting adventures. I started painting in 2020 before any of the Covid came about here. I can see the improvements in my paintings over the 12 months – partly because I keep practicing, and partly because of studying. Your classes have been great as well as your posts. Painting has become my happy place this year. I have done 55 oils and probably 20 acrylics. My main goal for 2021 is to get into plein air painting. Life is what you make it. I also came from a “numbers ” career and am excited to be using the other side of my brain.

  14. Thankyou for your always interesting emails Dan. Always end up richer for having read them. Congratulations on your baby news….wishing your family a great 2021.

  15. Hello, Dan
    Happy New Year to you and your family for 2021. I’m very pleased to receive to mails. I find them really interesting, and love to read the old master’s studies. Congratulations for the baby to come and for all your accomplishments (except sport…..). It’s the first time I’ve seen the first name Chontele, mine is Chantal, which sound a lot similar… Thanks again for your e-mails. Chantal

  16. Hi Dan,
    Obviously you have had a good year in spite of the pandemic restrictions – creating new paintings, creating a new baby, moving to a new house – all these while presenting new postings on your website. Thanks for all the guidance and painting tips. Here’s my best wishes for 2021 with my sincere wishes for a beautiful healthy baby.

  17. Hi Dan,
    Congratulations to yourself and Chontele on the good news. Thank you for all great posts during this year and also for your honesty, it is refreshing to hear other people go through the same procrastination as I sometimes do. Your insightful posts came at just the right time. You inspired many others to produce works of art and in a way you contributed to each of them!
    As for myself I only produced a couple of works, an outdoor garden mural which took about 3 months, but I also wrote a genealogy book which took most of the year. This year I will focus on painting and maybe some embroidery. We are now in strict lockdown (Ireland) and as I came outside my door this morning to put out my rubbish, I could not help but feel that this lockdown is eerily different somehow.
    Please keep up the good work and be prepared for everything to take a backseat when baba comes along.

  18. Thank you Dan for all the interesting articles and great tips! For me, what made a difference this year, we renovated my art studio. Due to the pandemic there were no exhibitions but I sold quite a few paintings which were exhibited throughout a local coffee shop. What didn’t go well…due to the renovations I didn’t get much time to paint but I also hit a wall on what I want to specialize in…

    • Dan and Chontele congratulations on the new baby.
      Dan your teaching and guidance have inspired and enlighten me. Thank you so mush.
      I started painting by end of 2019 and since then painting has become the centre of my life.
      I wish you and your family happy new year

  19. Congratulations to you and Chontele! The baby will be such fun and a whole new adventure! Thank you too for all of your posts and articles and wonderful art tips. I hope to continue plein air painting this year. Like you, travel restrictions have limited my outdoor painting to around my home and town. I have worked with watercolor and acrylics for years but have set a goal to start working with oils this year.

    All my best to you and your family and to a happy and healthy new year!

  20. Congratulations to you both on the baby! Love your resolutions Dan 👍 Thanks to you both for the great newsletters etc, much anticipated and enjoyed.
    Happy 2021!

  21. Wishing you a wonderfully creative 2021. Congratulations on the new baby to arrive this year. I am sure you are both looking forward to it. May all go well for a lovely healthy little addition to your family. I am not so sure about Kobe!! He is going to have his nose out of joint watching someone else being carried up and down the stairs.

  22. Baby bumps are wonderful . Our golden retriever is only 8 months old so difficult and demanding in the opposite way to Kobe. My daughter’s bump/peanut became a granddaughter and they made 2020 a truly WONDERFUL YEAR for me. Isolation and shut done of all the tedious things in life, opened up time and internal energy for painting. I have tightened up my practices and used a lot of new techniques and perspectives. Thanks you for the tips and pointers. Painting totally alone is not as productive. 2021 will be all about producing most finished paintings and maybe some baby drawings as she develops.

    Best Wishes to you all for your 2021 adventures

  23. You are a genius at educating us in art appreciation and developing skills to increase our own work. Your love of your vocation and joy of life is evident in all your presentations. I wish you all the great joys of becoming a parent. Cannot wait to see your portrait of your first child. Blessings to all 3 of you.

  24. Thanks for sharing your personal journey too.Have been diligently reading your posts .Your sincerity shines through them..All the best

  25. Congratulations on the new baby bump – very exciting! Your posts have been very inspiring and I have enjoyed and learned from all of them.
    What went well in 2020 for me – I couldn’t work for 6 months so I stayed home and painted. I had only painted on odd occasions before, so it was a big learning curve for me and I produced a lot of paintings from my locality.
    What was not so good in 2020 – the recent poor weather in the UK has meant less opportunity for getting out to paint or take photos; we’ve had so much rain. So I lost my way with painting a little – blue skies make everything so much more paintable!
    Thanks again for sharing so much with us and wishing you a joyous 2021.

  26. Happy New Year and congratulations on your family and new home. I spent more time at home which was actually a blessing for me. Worked on drawing practice, color charts and theory and completed a few paintings I love and have gifted to someone that also expressed they liked them. Plan to work through more lessons and continue drawing practice through the winter. Also start an indoor herb garden and do some studio reorganization.

  27. Dan you clearly have a gift for distilling and explaining clearly and eloquently important features in art. Your posts are not only informative but also inspiring.

    We have spent much our year at our vacation home in the mountains, and I’ve had time to appreciate the breathtaking beauty of the Blue Ridge and National Forest around me daily. But I have missed learning in classes and workshops and painting with other artists. Sometimes I worry that painting alone so much simply allows me to reinforce my mistakes! However without the pandemic o wouldn’t have searched for online resources and wouldn’t have found your excellent site.

    Good luck finding time to paint with a baby in the house. After resting three sons I have concluded that whether you have one or six, they take up all of your available time!

  28. Thanks, Dan – always appreciate your posts! “…drawing, writing, painting” – maybe you could take a stab at a post on balancing those activities or others to keep our artistic lives in balance – or perhaps you’ve done that. Anyway, here’s to a very Happy New Year in the year ahead! (Those retrievers can be wiggly!) LOL

  29. Thank you for sharing, Dan. Congratulations to you both on the new baby! You have so much to look forward to: discovering a love that will overwhelm you both and last a lifetime, seeing the world through new eyes, and a joy that can’t be described, to name a few. Another bonus – you will have a subject for your painting who will inspire you immensely! I love being a part of the Facebook group and seeing the wonderful paintings everyone creates. I haven’t been painting in a bit – one of my resolutions this year is to put up my easel and get busy. 2020 was a year of disorientation as well as disorganization for me. I didn’t get all the things done that I wanted to and so this year, I want to schedule my time to allow me to work on my painting among other things.

  30. Congratulations to you and your wife Chantelle on the upcoming birth of your first born. Quiet will never be the same. ☺️I have saved all your post and refer back to them with the guidance. I love painting landscapes, oceans and waterfalls. I have probably painted 15 canvas paintings and some other crafts this past year.

    The lay-off last March because of the pandemic gave me a lot to time for rediscovery and new paintings. Some were great some ok. 😆

    Thank you for your tips and guidance along the way. God bless you and your family! ☺️❤️👩‍🎨

  31. Congratulations! Enjoy your courses and emails. You are an excellent teacher. I’ve learned much and taken bolder risks with my art, along with practicing drawing and venturing into portraiture, Thank you for the encouragement and for being generous with your time and knowledge.

  32. I have just completed my 18th painting in acrylics. It was a medium I swore I’d never use…lol! I have been an artist all my life without managing to make much money at it! Now I have to set up a website again…ah well.

  33. Huge congratulations to you & your wife! There is no one park of art more beautiful & more important to this world than a child. Blessings to you both. Your lives will be forever altered, richer, busier & BIGGER! I’m happy for you. Congrats on your new home too. You’ll use every inch of space for all the art you are creating together & fir your painting. 😉. Thank you for your gracious & excellent instructions. You have enriched my life.

  34. Sounds like Your 2021 is filled with excitement and anticipation! Congratulations!
    Thanks for your ongoing emails. You are a gift yo so many! I’ve learned a lot, but have saved them in a file to study again an be motivated to explore more.
    COVID certainly allowed me more time to paint, create and get my business to a new level. I’m really looking forward to the new year.

  35. Wonderful news about your new arrival. Congratulations and I hope Chontele is keeping well and that you have a safe delivery. Exciting times ahead. You might find yourself more organized once
    your baby arrives …They like a routine! We were blessed with our first grandchild in July last year!
    We have a little grandson called Albie …We don’t dare travel to see him in the UK… we live in
    France, until we are vaccinated. Our family live in London and stats make grim reading😢
    I love your posts and look forward to reading your emails. Always inspiring, full of key points.
    Wishing you all the best for this year Best Shirley

  36. Thank you very much for all your help this year. I have saved all your email for reference and inspiration.

    Congratulations to your family on the new addition.

    Stay safe.

  37. Your emails have opened my mind to so many ideas and practices that are making a real difference in the quality of my art. Thank you for the time and energy you commit to these communications.
    And…Congratulations on your new baby on the way. I was pleased to see “Be a Great Dad” at the top of your list for the year. I hope you study how to be a great parent for the rest of your life. Like studying art, there are teachers out there who can make a real difference in the quality of your achievement as a parent. It’s an investment of time and energy that comes back to you and fills you up with the true joy of being human…love.

  38. Congratulations to you and your wife.What wonderful news to start the year!
    Thank you so much for sharing your knowledge and painting tips which is greatly appreciated .Wish you and your wife a Very Happy New Year

    • Thank you for sharing your painting expertise. Your kindness for sharing your visual and painting skills is appreciated. You helped me look at art with different eyes and challenged me to try new techniques.

      May you have a Blessed safe New Year and Congratulations. Enjoy your family!

  39. Congratulations and Happy New Year to you and Chontele. I am impressed with how productive you both are. I appreciate all of your work and generosity in sharing.

  40. Your greatest creative work is this baby!! He/she will rock your world and you will wonder what you did with all your free time!! 😄 Wishing you both a healthy wonderful year! And thank you for sharing your ups and downs with us. Your reality is so appreciated! All the best, Julie

  41. Blessings for the new year. Thanks for your inspiring and educational newsletter. Looking forward to drawing and painting this year. Much of 2020 was consumed with pandemic concerns. I learned a lot about filter fabrics and was pretty productive sewing masks. Blessings the little one has such a talented father and mother and loving family all its livelong days.

  42. Happy New Year and Congratulations!! Great way to start a new year and wish you the very best in all your endeavours. I savour every post from you, they’re very educational and inspirational and I’ve learnt a lot from them. Thank you for your generosity!

  43. Congratulations! There is nothing like a baby to change many, many things in life. It’s a wonderful, terrifying experience!
    Last November I challenged myself to do twenty paintings and evaluate after that whether I should continue. That challenge took a year, put on pause by a broken ankle and rotator cuff surgery. Good things happen, though. I can now paint with both arms!
    I’m seventy-one and painting almost daily. My first paintings were awful. Number nineteen showed promise. Number twenty-one is amazing!
    Thanks for your posts. The are always a good read.

  44. Dan and Chantelle , hearty congrats for the baby n the making, wait until he/she arrives, and rest assured it will bring joy and excitement never experienced before and change your life for ever……for the better. It has already brought improvements in life, made own arrangements with a new and better place to life, plus it shifted you from a garage to your own studio !
    Your write ups are so comprehensive yet brief, which have become collectables as references. Best thing is you share and inspire others by your expert evaluation. Personally learned so much from them and seen improvements in own paintings after understanding the technicalities.
    Love to, and have copied, works by Master artists, to learn what goes into them that they achieved attention of the world. Example: Monet, Van Gogh, Munch, Pissarro, Renoir and Caillebotte. Couple of months ago, did Monet’s “Sunrise” which started the movement, and gave the name “Impressionist”. But after reading your article on the same topic, corrected few things.
    In 2020, completed 18 paintings, Oil on Canvas 24”x30”, 24”qx36” on various topics, apart from own Abstract , in acrylic.
    Thank you Dan, from bottom of my heart.

  45. Congratulations on your new family member! You were one of the two painters i kept in touch with and looking forward to your classes next year. On line kept me going. Hope to do more next year. Learned that i must work in the morning and not get distracted.

  46. Happy New Year, new beginnings here. First thank you for being you and your artistry. I thrive on the updates as we have been in the process of relocating and finally moving in on January 15. Every email is saved. Can’t wait to get back to your wisdom, encouragement and painting. Best to all in the comments for 2021.

    • Dan
      Congratulations to you and your wife. I am a retired pediatric dentist. Here’s some advice,after feeding the baby wipe the gums. As far as 2020 goes, I had 3 cancer surgeries but I was able to paint a little. Enjoy your new baby

  47. Thank you Dan for the reminder of fixing mistakes that may not really be mistakes. I enjoyed your course and advice. I especially liked your list of potential mistakes. I definitely will take a second or third look at my “finished” painting. Great advice! Have a wonderful “new” New Year and a happy life with your new baby. Carrie

  48. Hello Dan,
    Congratulation to you and Chontele! I can already predict that 2021will be a year of new beginnings for you in many regards.
    Thank you for sharing your struggles, successes and goals. I feel better knowing I am not alone. You are an inspiration to many and I so look forward to your emails.
    Wishing you and your family joy, hope and health!

  49. Thank you for the inspiration you have provided this past year. I am a novice painter, and have learned so much from you. I even had the courage to share some of my paintings. Congratulations on baby bump!! Parenthood is an amazing journey! All the best in 2021!

  50. You are providing guidance that is far superior to what mostly appears on the internet
    posted by others…..keep up the good work.

  51. First of all congratulaitons on the baby! Second I want to thank you for the year lasting support and incentive to restart producing my painting works.
    All the best for you and your family during this and the upcoming years!

  52. Congratulations on the baby! I’ve started painting again after a year off and 6 moves. I am in a small 2nd bedroom, but it’s my happy place. I’m also learning so much from instructors like you – thank you.

  53. Congratulations Dan and Chontele. Wishing you a very Happy New Year. Thank you for all your inspiring emails that I look forward to. Joining the Academy is amongst the best thing I could have done. Thanks again. Wishing you and your growing family the very best. Love.

  54. I always enjoy your very organized posts, Dan, and to my way of thinking, you’ve accomplished a huge amount of work in 2020. Don’t beat yourself up for quitting your training. COVID cancelations did through a horrendous monkey wrench into everyone’s gears this year. You can always pick it up again and train, even just for your own health and fitness, whether you run the marathon solo or not. And congratulations to you and Chontelle on your growing family. You’re right, life will change vastly with a child in your home. Much joy to you and yours in 2021. Blessings, Jean

  55. A very big congratulations. My son and daughter in law are also expecting their first baby and entering the second trimester. Exciting times. Thank you so much for all of your tips and quality advice throughout the past months. I discovered painting through my daughter who was battling quite a serious illness towards the end of last year and much of this year. Painting provided a much needed diversion for us both during illness as well as the impact of Covid. My daughter has since recovered and has moved on to other projects and work. I’ve discovered a lasting passion for painting. Just lose myself in it. Your painting course has also been of immense help. The downside lately is that Christmas has taken so much of my focus. But I did get a French easel as a combined family gift and have set it up in my study/studio/room of one’s own! Although I’m still not sure whether I prefer my dining table where I can spread out and make a mess!
    Best wishes to you and Chontelle in the months ahead and thanks again for helping us through a difficult year.

  56. Dan, you are such an inspiration to me, especially with your most recent email. I know how valuable it is to acknowledge one’s achievements and create goals for the future. I will now do mine and finish my second hydrangea painting. Thanks to you, I am painting with more confidence, making fewer brushstrokes and fulfilling my desire to not overwork my art.
    All the best to you and your family. I am grateful to have you in my life.

  57. Congratulations on your new baby! I find you inspiring and enjoy following you. I love painting and drawing and your posts encourage me to keep improving with practice.

  58. Happy new year and glad ti hear the good news!
    You have been an inspiration to me and continue to be. But that is not the most important thing. The most important is that you helped me to put some order in my priorities and realy start puting on canavas some of my ideas. Above all, you helped me doing it on a routinely way, putting aside the commissions that, as you well put it, don’t add up to my creativity. You also helped me in judging my work softer and being constructive, by retaking subjects and doing them better.
    So I wish you and to your beloved ones, a good year, full of inspiration and with lots of patience for your new role as a father.

  59. Congratulations to you for all the great news! Having a baby will be a wonderful 2021 event and I predict it will enhance your artistic journey like nothing else could! Glad you have a studio room in your new house! Thank you for your great teaching. You have inspired me and made 2020 a better year because I started painting again after many years of not. Best wishes and hope to continue receiving your posts!

  60. First quarter of 2020 very active teaching in remote villages in Honduras where I am a missionary. Second quarter slowed down due to pain developing. June 14 medivaced to Florida where I was diagnosed with multiple myeloma in the bones. After a period of uncertainty whether I’d survive, chemo therapy worked. Am now in maintenance program to keep the cancer from returning. Once I was more capable, started painting after a looong hiatus from the craft. Shaky hands affect detail work and my paintings are a bit primitive, but I am painting. Hey, Grandma Moses made primitive style famous. Also found your website, which has enriched not only my work, but my life. Thanks, Dan.

  61. What an amazing year you have had Dan, and now prospect of being a Dad! Life changing
    experience I know, being a Mom that is – 2 kids. One became a very accomplished artist,
    not in the sense of world famous but she has had one and two person shows, and continues
    to work -SAFELY – in her own studio here in Toronto these days. Her name is Patricia Whittingham
    and her work is on Facebook. As for me, has not been a banner year. Really lost ‘the muse’ maybe
    because of health challenges but I am sure when and it WILL come Spring comes I will paint and
    draw again out on my balcony. It is so nice out there. Thanks again for all your good news and by the
    way of all the paintings your posted I loved the mountain scene. It is just beautiful.

  62. Congratulations on such great news for you and your wife! Its a fantastic journey for the both of you.
    You are definitely an inspiration to me and I hope to be able to get out of the doldrums of 2020 and have a better outlook in 2021. Thank you for providing me with your wonderful instructions and inspiration.

    Marcia Julson

  63. How wonderful — congratulations on Baby-to-Be! We are expecting our first grandchild next month, and are SO excited (it’s a boy!) Despite the obvious and distressing world events and US politics, we personally had a good year in 2020.

    What went well: Focusing on a new direction in my energy (healing) work I can do remotely, good family karma, new good friends, quit a PT office job I’ve been wanting to leave for years. Also, I sold a commissioned painting, and I sold a canvas print of one of my other paintings : )

    What went not-so-well: I did NOT get to start your Oil Painting class that I purchased almost a year ago now! ARGHHH!!! I bought all the paints and supplies which call out to me every time I pass by them (which is daily) and absolutely WANT to do this class! I expect/hope/endeavor to be ready to start by March.

    Happy New Year to you and Chontele, and Baby <3

  64. Congratulations! The next few years will be the best of your life – treasure every moment. Thanks for all your sharing – I so look forward to your posts and I share many of them with students.
    I, like any others, have had to work at keeping my enthusiasm alive but if It has been a lesson in anything, the last year has been a lesson in discipline. As such, I have resolved to a paintings goal and also to draw every day, even if only for a few minutes.
    Better times ahead!!!

  65. Congratulations on your upcoming of a new babe! You both sound like very caring and thoughtful people. Lucky child! I so enjoy all of your posts. I have learned so much from your comments on your own artwork (which is so good, by the way:). I especially look forward to the artists you have introduced me to. Many of them were unknown to me but I recognized and admired some of the paintings. I have been through a few art galleries in Europe and will look for those you have mentioned in the future. I am a watercolor painter but I have learned so much from your postings. I do plain air sometimes, too, but it much be more of a challenge with acrylics or oils, me thinks.
    Keep posting and I know you will both enjoy your new babe. All the best in 2021!

  66. Thank you so much for the update and especially a big thanks for all your emails full of such wonderful and helpful information! Congratulations on the new baby, I’m so excited for you both! You are an awesome artist, writer, and teacher! Thank you again, so much. Happy New Year!

  67. Wishing you a happy new year . . . and thanking you for all that you do especially for those of us who are new artists.

  68. Thanks for all the posts – I appreciate the time and energy it takes. And, you’ve introduced me to some painters I hadn’t heard of before.

    I have painted about 40 pieces this year which will (hopefully) be featured in a solo show in New England this coming summer… but we’ll have to see what COVID has in store for us. You can view the artwork at:

    Congrats on the baby bump! The above mentioned book was written by more than 200 Moms and might be of interest to you!

  69. Congratulations Dan and Chontele on your wonderful news. It has made 2020/21 a whole lot cheerier knowing the cycle of life continues. A big thank you for sharing your art theory knowledge and very practical tips. Wishing you both a happy and healthy 2021

  70. Hello from the damp and cool Pacific Northwest Washington state! I’ve truly enjoyed following you this last year. Thanks!
    My goals are,
    1-Stay safe from the virus
    2- embrace retirement from a job with the public
    3- do more art!!
    4- stop read and watching and actually painting!
    5- learn French and Spanish so I can travel and actually converse with locals on our next trips.
    6- love fiercely and promote peace in our world!


  71. Congratulations to you and Chontele on the coming baby. How exciting! As for Kobe….Sometimes the best way to “give a dog courage” is to have a peer of his go down the stairs first. You model for us how to paint and who does it especially well. Maybe Kobe needs the same technique. Often when a dog who is afraid to go up and down the stairs watches another dog make it look easy, they follow the lead. It may take a few tries but It might just be the ticket. Give it a try and let us know how it works. You go, Kobe!

    I agree with you that it has become more difficult to schedule my time during Covid. I need to get back into a routine. I’m a pet sitter and since March , nineteen of my clients’ trips have been cancelled since the travel industry has slowed way down during Covid. I look forward to smoother sailing in 2021. Thank you for the excellent tips you share with us. I have learned so much from you. Here’s to a productive and much improved 2021. Best wishes!

  72. CONGRATULATIONS!! Looks like things are going very well. I am happy for you and family. And thanks for great emails. You’ve been very kind to share so much. Grateful for you!! marilyn benkler art studios at

  73. Congratulations on the baby! Being a dad is a wonderful experience.
    I retired on December 31 after 44 years in healthcare. Plan on doing a lot more painting.
    Dan your lessons are great and your a good teacher. I took some lessons before the lockdown and been painting landscapes from photos.
    Took two Big Brush painting workshops and plan to do more. We all hope and pray 2021 will be a good year.

  74. Firstly congratulation! It has been a challenging year for everyone. I missed life drawing and found it hard to work on line. We hard a very hard lock down in Melboure and The Arts really suffered. Looking forward to a creative year.

  75. Congratulations on the new baby! Such fantastic news. Thank you for all the wonderful emails over the year I always look forward to receiving them and learning more from you, as you explain different artists. Thank you for your honesty of sharing with us your struggles as well as your great achievements. You are a really gifted teacher and I do appreciate all you do for your students so we can also learn from your experience. I pray 2021 is a year of amazing new adventures, a beautiful new baby, and great painting for you.

  76. Congrats on your coming bundle of joy. Please covey this to Chontel as well! 👼🤰🤱🧑‍🍼 I agree that last year was a bummer but we have all made it through without contracting COVID-19. I thank God for this Blessing. I haven’t picked up a paint brush in over a year due to discouragement and lack of confidence. I am looking forward to 2021. I have joined your Painting Academy and really looking forward to getting started on the lessons. I joined last week but wanted to wait until the holidays were over so I could really focus on the lessons. I’m a 69 1/2 year old retiree so I’m a late bloomer but I am hoping for some success. Thank you for making these lessons available to us who have never had any formal training and encouraging us to learn from you. 😃🦮🎨

  77. Hi Dan & Family,
    1st CONGRATS to you and Chantelle on your coming arrival!
    2nd, thanking you for being a wonderful motivator and teacher.
    You teach in such a beautiful, uncomplicated manner.
    No LONG PAGES OF WORDS, to the point , easy to relate to.
    I have struggled this year.
    Have accomplished some goals set for 2020 then……I struggled.
    Have had the longest BLOCK!! Which saw me contemplating not doing my art anymore.
    Your latest ” Creativity Kickstart 30 day ” has really helped with understanding what is happening to me, assessing , thinking, & giving me direction, which I will follow.
    Have been watching tutorials, subscribed to some online classes in different mediums , 2021 is now time to ” DO !”
    2021 is the year to renew my passion, apply structure & delegate time , most importantly find “my style” Thank you and all the very best to you for 2021.

  78. Thank you for all your coaching.
    Note re the stairs, our elderly dog could not manage them. We bought rubber backed industrial carpet that we could cut up and lay on the treads. They don’t move when in place. The dog can now manage the stairs fine as she has something for her paws to grip.
    Best wishes for 2021!

  79. Thanks for everything! Now a tip for you – carpet your stairs for the dog. Traction won’t be so scary. Then tempt him with a treat, a little at a time, giving reward along the way.
    Next tip – email me for anything child related . No joke 😊 Happy New Year !

  80. Grazie , mi hai tenuto compagnia durante tutto quest’anno e mi hai insegnato molte cose.
    Ti auguro tanta felicità per il 2021

  81. first happy new year to you and your family and congrats for the new family member hopping things will proceed very well until confinement with a peaceful and cheerful delivery.
    Thank you for your dedication and contribution in all artistic matter and your valuable advises to all followers which work really needs consistency and commitment which is highly appreciated.
    we also like other countries and communities , we could not really enjoy the planned artistic events and activities due to Covid-19 .
    We shall be looking forward to much better year with full optimism
    Best Regards

  82. Congratulations to you both. That’s great news!
    Thank you for all your emails and for sharing your highs and lows, successes and failures.
    You are an inspiration.

  83. Dan, Enjoy your blessings, your growing family, being able to run, and having a great dog.
    I have a 10 year old that is a special part of my life.
    Your emails and post are very special and inspiring and you ask so little in return. Keep up
    the good work you are a blessing..

  84. I have really enjoyed receiving your inspiring emails and learning from you. Thank you very much . With best wishes for 2021 and Congratulations!

  85. Congratulations 🎉 👏🏻 Thank you so much for all your expertise encouragement. I’m a sporadic painter stained Glass experiment or love just doodling. Doesn’t get much done soo I need to structure my time as well. But I do love reading all your blogs. May 2021 be a really happy successful year for you both and may all go well with your first arrival.

  86. Congratulations to you and Chontele!!!

    You are doing a Great job! I enjoy seeing your emails in the new mail.

    I need to put my list together. Thank you for sharing your list!
    Happy New Year!
    We all need to reinvent the simple Good experiences and appreciate all the little benefits we are blessed with.
    Think of Anne Frank shut in a dark space with out all the outlets available to us!

  87. Happy 2021! We are in the midst of winter here in Eastern Canada, snow and all! Usually this is my down time of the year to paint and relax, but the pandemic hurried that along. I actually painted alot this fall and am learning new things. I have to restart the lessons I purchased through you – I am making that a priority this January-March….then I will be antsy to get out into the outdoors and do projects…like I am every year 🙂
    Congrats on becoming a Dad!

  88. Congratulations to you and your wife! I bet the new addition to your family will inspire your art in many creative ways. 2020 gave me heartache in that I lost my sister, not to Covid thankfully, she passed in her sleep. However, her death has inspired me to paint with much more emotion, not just sadness or fear, but joy! Joy in remembering the good times we had.

  89. Thank you so much for the informative and beautiful information you have provided in 2020. You have truly inspired so many people, myself included. Congratulations on the new baby. I too have just found out I am to become a grandmother for the first time. 2020 certainly wasn’t all bad news! Best wish to you and your family. I love the sound of your dog being scared to go down stairs. I too have a golden and I can relate!

  90. Dan thank you so much for your postings in 2020 I have learnt alot from you. Also big congrats for your coming family addition and good luck with Kobe and the stairs, that’s a real challenge. 🙂

    All the very best for 2021 and I look forward to your regular posts.

  91. Thank you for your posts – They are very informative and I have learnt so much. The introduction to new artists and an explanation of what makes them so special has also been very instructive. I have been inspired to paint again after retiring from paid employment.
    All the best for you and your family in this new year.

  92. Thanks for personalizing these posts. I feel as though I know you. The irony of 2020 (like perfect vision) has thrown so many people off. It has been an adjustment, and it’s been challenging. But, I got to thinking that there are so many challenges in life, adjustments too. Some are good and others are not so much. I decided to focus on the good things in spite of it all. It has kept me focused and thinking positive.
    Even though the year has been anything but “perfect” like we would our vision, I found that focusing on the good things has readied me for the challenges that lie ahead, and the good that has taken place in the past year.

  93. Hi Dan, so nice of you to share so much with us. Congratulation on the pregnancy. Great news.

    Last year I took the Creativity kickstart. I am very pleased I did. I am pleased to say that for the first time I have a ‘studio’ in my garage!. It feels great, it’s like been away from everything and feels so peaceful as well. There changes I am making…. gradually, but I am happy . Once I settle with the changes, then I would like to take the course you are offering at the moment.
    Thank you and again best wishes for the year ahead


  94. Congratulations on the Baby Bump. As a Grandmother you will still achieve your goals if you set your mind to it! But still find time to enjoy the baby years.
    2020 was challenging for so many people but being lucky and living in the bush in Australia I personally enjoyed the time to practice painting and drawing in between work . Thank you Dan for all your inspirational notes repainting and artists.
    Yes I am behind in your courses but this is the start of a new year.
    All the best to you and your family
    Lindy Hardie Qld Aust.

  95. Hi, this is the 1st time that I reply.
    I don’t follow your home-life but occasionaly I read your comments on painting.
    I recently picked up a new course in painting. I used to paint pretty detailed paintings. I want to paint more freely. I guess that sounds familiar to you.
    On Pinterest I found some video’s about impressionist painting. I’m quite excited. So, in the future, I’m gonna follow your comments more closely.
    Thanks a lot and have a good 2021.

  96. Hey congratulations regarding the baby! I know you will make a great Dad. And thank you for all of your great posts. I look forward to reading them. They are always insightful and inspiring!

    Happy New Year!

  97. Congratulations!!🎈I have started portrait painting. My husband coaxed me into trying it. I started out with the back of children then progressed to facial features but eyes closed then I tackled a painting of my granddaughter. I’m almost finished. Pleased with it so far. This was really out of my comfort zone. I know I haven’t been on your website as often as I would like to but thanks for all you tips and help

  98. Congratulations on the baby. Thankyou for the posts. I am recently retired (70). Spent 30 years in print media as a graphic designer and art director ( yes some quite a few years before computers) then 16 years in nursing. Am slowly getting back into my painting so am a little rusty. You articles are helpful. Thankyou again. I look forward to new posts.

  99. January 4, 2021
    Thank you for your “Wrap” and I am using it to outline my own activities over the year. I too became quite scattered in my activities and thoughts and did not get what I wanted done but when I look over my paintings that I did complete I do have a couple of favourites. It was a different year that is for sure. I started The Master Landscape Class with great amibitions but got derailed with my husband illness in the summer which repeated itsefl again in october. We end the year in good health though and I look forward to getting back on track.
    Thank you so much for sharing all that you do. Your style is so warm and down to earth. Congratulations as you look forward to the birth of your first child.

    Happy New Year.
    Penny Perrier

  100. Congratulations for your upcoming baby. Thanks for your honesty and the update. If you have open stairs- dogs do not like them I was wondering about that since you are carrying him on the stairs
    The best to you and yours,
    Happy New Year
    Cindy Mulcahy- Farris

  101. Hi Dan
    happy tidings for this year and all the years ahead!!!
    congratulations on the good news of becoming a father it is going to be a busy time
    have you ever done a portrait of KOBE? would love to see it if you have,I had done one for my nieces’ retriever looked more human than a canine but was fun
    with best wishes

    • Hi Gargi

      Thanks for your comment. I keep asking Dan to paint Kobe but he hasn’t done so yet. Hopefully soon 🙂


  102. Congratulations on becoming a dad! Wishing you lots of happy moments with the little one.
    Happy New Year! May we find joy in the basic, align simplicity, value our good health and treasure the happiness that’s captured in the days and months ahead.
    May 2021 exceed your expectations and hold incredible opportunities.

    Thank you for all the wonderful posts. I really learned a lot!
    Stay kind, stay calm, stay safe!

  103. Thank YOU Dan. U have given all of us so much of your time & talent. U r one of a kind.
    Congrats on Baby Bump & your new home. I have a special board on my iPad just for your stuff. A lot of bad info on the net, I know I can trust yours u will b a get dad , u r kind & patient Thanks for everything.

  104. Congratulations on your exciting news and I wish you all the best for 2021.
    You are about to embark on the greatest adventure, that of being a parent and you have so much to look forward to. Thank you very much for sharing your knowledge so generously. I look forward to your posts, I have learned so much from you. Best wishes Anne from Cape Town

  105. Congratulations! Hope it all goes brilliantly.
    Thank you for much for your tips and sharing of your work. It’s wonderful to get your emails and your sharing of knowledge, of which there was a lot I didn’t know, so thank you.
    Look forward to a brighter year and for my drawing and painting to continue to improve.
    Best Wishes
    Christine from Perth

    • Your basic
      posts have helped wean me away from the Harold Hill method of training for an art (thinking instead of doing) and I have actually sketched a little and picked up the paint brush for one sketch. This new year can only get better. Master studies also immense help. Many thanks Diana D

  106. Congratulations to you both on the news of your baby!
    Some tips for Kobe… To encourage him, try putting treats or even his meal at intervals down the stairs.
    We have a 13-year-old beagle (14 later this year). He used to run up and down the stairs when it caught his fancy. But now with age it has become almost impossible for him to time his steps. If the first step goes wrong, he gets stuck and is unable to go either up or down. We found that placing something he likes to eat along the way makes his instincts to kick in, enabling him to automatically pace his steps. Might work for Kobe too.


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