Ten Canadian Artists | Ten Styles of Painting


The 20-Minute Workout | by Eileen Hennemann

About a week or so ago I came across Mary Gilkerson’s 20-Minute Paint Challenge (on Facebook) and thought - what the heck, let’s have some fun - and fun it was! Normally an artist finds a composition that inspires, then sketches a study, designs and sketches again, transfers the sketch to canvas or board (this could be in studio or plein air), inks it in, lays the foundation colour, then starts working on establishing the impression of that scene with paint. Well, that’s how I work but it’s likely not far off what most artists do. And it most certainly takes more than 20 minutes!

But an exercise like this pushes you to make quick decisions once your scene has been selected and a rough sketch is in place. The challenge encouraged us to make a quick choice of subject (keeping it simple).


Since you only have 20 minutes you have to decide which colours to mix (using a very limited palette), ensure you stay true to your focal point and values and apply your brushstrokes with speed and confidence. No dilly-dallying while the clock is running!

Stressful? Yes, but a good stress. No matter what level of artist one is, it’s a terrific daily habit to get into, that is, a 20 minute sketch, or a 20 minute painting, or 20 minutes writing a short story or poem or song… whatever creative endeavour interests you that you know doing it every day will increase your skill and your confidence.

The five 20-minute paintings are included in this post. A couple of them will be used as a study for a larger painting. It was also a surprise that there were five random “winners” of this challenge of which I was one of them. Everyone who participated surely gained a lot. Thanks, Mary!