How to Paint Water Lilies like Claude Monet

I created this version of Claude Monet’s Water Lilies to teach at Paint Nite.

I’m providing the steps for other Paint Nite master artists to teach their own version, or for you to have a sneak preview of how easy it is to follow along at Paint Nite.

View more of the paintings I teach on Pinterest!

Step one pthalo blue green white acrylic paint
The first step is starting with pthalo blue ragged streaks across the top of the canvas, than green, than white. Then light blue to the bottom of the canvas. The more ragged and streaked the better, so you don’t need to wash your brush between colors. Use lots of paint so it stays wet.
How to paint reflective water
While the paint from the last step is still wet, sweep your brush back and forth across the canvas to drag the paint back and forth and flatten the reflections.
How to paint water lilies
How to paint the water lilies: Using blue white and yellow, mixed, dab ovals in groupings across the canvas. Mix up the paint in different quantities so some are darker and some are lighter and some are brighter!
Dabbing color on the lilies
Start adding blue and yellow dabs on top of the lilies.
Paint lotus flowers
Add red and white W’s wherever you want to paint the lotus flowers.
Paint nite tickets
Your completed water lily painting. If you’d like more instruction and all your painting supplies provided, look for this painting on the Paint Nite website – use code SEATTLE for $25 tickets!

The Red Door Acrylic Painting

A dark figure kneels beside an organ and a pile of cardboard boxes. A door glows like an ember behind them. An inexplicable red dot hovers over the bench.

I created this painting in 2006, one of the darkest times of my life, alone in Vancouver Canada with a hostile roommate, a part time job and a bleeding bank account. Even then, hope glowed, appearing in my artwork as this door of glowing light.

I painted this on the living room floor of my apartment, using the floor to ceiling windows in the apartment as a reference. I am the darkened figure kneeling on the floor to paint.

The Red Door. 2006. Acrylic on Canvas. 18x24" Painting by Katana Leigh
The Red Door. 2006. Acrylic on Canvas. 18×24″ Painting by Katana Leigh

I thought I was using a purple and yellow palette. I was painting in a dim room, which means I couldn’t see the range of colors accurately. I realize now that the painting worked out because the dim light desaturated the colors and I was painting by value (the range of dark to light) instead of hue (ROYGBIV the fully saturated colors of the rainbow).  The colors were substantially different when I moved out of the dark room and into the light. Teal and orange are now one of my favorite color schemes.

I consider this one of my best works from this time period and sold it for $325 in 2007. I see in it the beginnings of my current series Gates of Lights.

Gates of light monarchs
One of my more recent Gates of light paintings. Into the Light, 18×24″ Acrylic on Canvas 2015


Water-Coloring Page MerGoddess

imageThis Mer-Goddess is a drawing I did a few years ago. I decided to have it printed on some watercolor paper so I could create a watercolor painting.

Painting the blue background of he mermaid first.
Painting the blue background first, then lining up the brush to cleanly pull the green into the tail.
Coloring page for watercolor paint
It’s like a coloring page but for paint.
Mer goddess watercolor painting by Katana Leigh
The almost finished  watercolor painting “Mer Goddess”

A good drawing yields a better quality watercolor painting and so preprinting the drawing made my painting/coloring more relaxing. I was happy I didn’t have any problems with the black ink running. It stayed put while I gently painted in between the lines.

Mermaid goddess painting framed and finished
The mermaid goddess painting “Mer Goddess.” 

I’m going to be bringing this mermaid goddess to Spring Mysteries: I’m going to be one of the vendors this year. I think, framed and finished she will sell for $85 once I’ve signed it.

Would you like to paint or color this image? Order this coloring page printed on watercolor paper from my etsy shop. 

Hekate at the Crossroads Painting Progress

I’m sharing some photos of the progress of Hekate at the Crossroads, a new painting I’m working on that is not finished yet. I plan to add silver stars and possibly dogs.

Painting over a demo painting
New art. I’m painting over one of my demo paintings because I like to reuse canvas and my demo paintings are not completed paintings.
Black and white high contrast painting
Here I have established some of the values to create a high contrast painting. At this point I was going to have the statue’s arms raised but I changed that as I went because her raised arms obscured two of her three faces.
Hookers green Naples yellow paint field
Adding a bit of Naples Yellow and Hookers green makes the field look lit up by the moon. Love.
Almost finished painting! The colors and composition are coming together.
Almost finished painting! The colors and composition are coming together. The tree leaves are now starting to feel like an umbrella wrapping the scene.
This is where the painting is now. I need to work on the flame more and add some stars. Possibly a dog or two but I haven't decided for sure if I want that.
This is where the painting is now. I need to work on the flame more and add some stars. Possibly a dog or two but I haven’t decided for sure if I want that.
Hekate statue detail from Hekate T the Crossroads by artist Katana Leigh
Here is a detail of the Hekate statue. I love the lighting here.
Hekate painting by Katana Leigh
I’m having a difficult time getting the blacks in the tree to photograph. The top of the tree is truly black. The light bounces off of the art and I can’t seem to get a good photo.

Tulips in a Vase

Four tulip paintings
Four tulip paintings made with art love light and acrylic paint!
Bright colors abstract tulip painting
The first painting of tulips is very abstract and all about the bright colors.
Tulips in a vase painting
The second painting is much more controlled and the vase defined.
Tulip acrylic painting
The third one started out in greyscale and color was added on top while the values were still wet.

Tulips in a vase
The fourth version of these flowers is my favorite. I utilized my drawing skills more here and I love the soft colors of this painting.
Miniature tulip painting by artist katana art love light
Mini Tulips painted from memory after the first four.
Flowers and pie
The actual Flowers with my birthday pie.

For me flowers are a gift that keep on giving- for my birthday last year my husband bought me tulips and I got a bunch of paintings out – I really enjoy doing little flower series in different mediums. (Hibiscus in Oil pastel, watercolor, pen and ink)

Sold and currently in St Louis MO. :)




Mermaid Moon Gaze Acrylic Painting

Water. The Tarot Card suite Cups. Greens and blues. Undines. Mermaids. Emerald green ripcurls and a full moon at mid day.

I painted her upright to get the proportions. I should be painting with a model but sometimes you have to paint with what you have; that is, an imagination.

Mermaid paintings, undines
Mermaid, Moon Gaze. Acrylic on Canvas 18 X 24″

On Etsy

Into the Light Painting

To the light art love light monarchs
Butterflies float out of ashes like Phoenix and float toward the light.

This painting is dark, with scraping black paint revealing fiery colors underneath, as though just out of the frame are roaring flames. Butterflies drift up, floating towards the light at the top of the stairs where the open door welcomes you…

‘Into the Light’ is currently on exhibit at the Hub Event Space in Tacoma. The painting is 18×24″ acrylic on canvas.

Why Beginners Are Good At Painting

Every week I see people paint. Some beginners, some with drawing experience, some who are artists and some who haven’t painted in years. Their skill doesn’t correlate to whether or not they will create a good painting.

There is something beautiful in each one, the more I look the easier it is to find those moments. They are often surprises; those opportunities where paint suddenly transforms and becomes more than just a mark.

Good painters keep painting until they reach such a moment. Good painters are willing to try something new; they switch gears- sometimes scraping away extra paint and going for another round. Good painters have many rounds of failed moments and they kept working at their art. Good painters sometimes spend hours and hours painting, good painters find painting to be rewarding even if they go unrecognized. Good painters are willing to let their ability, where its at, to be enough to enjoy painting itself. Good painters play with the paint, and fuel their painting with their feelings. Good painters Paint, and the process is the painting.

Good painting is not about achieving photographic images or pleasing every viewer or even pleasing the artist. Good painting isn’t perfection and organization and order.

Beginners are open to possibilities and to play, so beginners are good painters.



Art Collaboration

Yesterday I was painting on my demo paintings so that I could reuse them my stepdaughter Aranna was drawing in a sketchbook and interrupted me to tell me I should do something similar to her favorite things.

I told her if she drew it for me so that I could understand her idea, I would do it. This is her drawing:

Anime style art
My stepdaughter Aranna composed this drawing for her commission.
And here is my impressionist interpretation of her Anime style.


The Best Art App for iPhone and iPad

When I was using Sketchbook Pro, which I’ve previously lauded as one of the best art apps for iPad, I’d get lost in my work – I loved the app, it did essentially everything I asked it to. But my exported videos would show when I’d zoomed in or out, which meant there was a lot of blank gray space in my videos. And when I was busy working, when time disappeared and things were going great – ZAP! suddenly the app would shut down and I could lose hours of my work.

So I kept looking for a great art app that would let me use my tablet or iPhone just like a sketchbook and I finally found the One. I use it with a regular tablet pen.

The Procreate Pocket interface, which is the iPhone version. The iPad version has more functionality for the bigger screen. I own both apps.
The Procreate Pocket interface, which is the iPhone version. The iPad version has more functionality for the bigger screen. I own both apps.


All the illustrations commissioned by Diamond Montessori were executed on the Procreate App, which means it more than paid for itself - it also paid for the cost of a new device! 
All the illustrations commissioned by Diamond Montessori were executed on the Procreate App, which means it more than paid for itself – it also paid for the cost of a new device!

My favorite app – the one that I use a lot, that I’m using to create my tarot cards, that I use to create all my digital illustrations – is now exclusively Procreate. Even when Procreate suddenly shuts down, all my work is automatically saved. And every stroke I make is recorded so I can export my whole drawing process as a video when I’m done- here’s a truncated version from the Temperance tarot card I posted to Instagram:

More small changes #tarot #temperance #art #process #procreate

A video posted by Katana Leigh (@katanaleigh) on