Leslie Saeta, host of the Artists Helping Artists Podcast, starts the 30 in 30 painting challenge on the 1st of February 2018; a challenge hundreds of artists around the world join each year, with the goal of producing 30 paintings in 30 days. It’s worth noting, it doesn’t matter if the challenge has already started, you can still join in :)

I don’t normally paint, I’ve only produced about 12 paintings since I started drawing, so I have very little experience, but traditional painting is something I’ve always wanted to jump into, but truthfully, I’ve always been scared and overwhelmed; Thinking too much about stuff like:

  • HELP!

My heart’s been wanting to start playing with colours for a while though, so that’s what I’m going to do :)

I’m going to play along with this 30 in 30 painting challenge, via oil paints, I haven’t used them before, but I remember Proko saying something like one of the best types of medium for a beginner painter is oils, as they’re more forgiving.

I’ve been raiding my cupboards and working out a blueprint for how I’ll tackle the challenge ever since signing up; the blueprint’s simply to stop me getting overwhelmed. I’m not going into this painting challenge expecting amazing paintings, all I want, is to HAVE FUN … oh, and to make a bit of a mess, aka LOTS OF MESS :)


I already had a lot of tools actually, and it hasn’t been that expensive to fill the gaps with new equipment. Like most Artists, I buy supplies, than stick them in the cupboard saying, “I’ll use that one day,” well, that day has finally come for my paint supplies :)

I didn’t really need to buy anything, but in typical Sophie fashion, I couldn’t help myself. I watched a few YouTube videos for advice, and picked up a few things. Below is most of the tools I’m starting this painting challenge with.

30 in 30 Painting Challenge 2018, Art Supplies with Artist Sophie Lawson


  • a tin of Gamsol Oil
  • a table top easel
  • 16 canvases
  • a box of oil paints
  • brushes
  • disposable palettes
  • and a pad of oil paper
30 in 30 Painting Challenge 2018, More Art Supplies with Artist Sophie Lawson


  • a big tube of Titanium White Paint
  • a tub of White Gesso
  • a tub of Black Gesso
  • an Apron *wahooo, I’ve always wanted to wear an Apron :) *
  • some More Canvases
  • a silver Palette Knife
  • strong Tissue Paper
  • a White Fabric Sheet for the ground
  • a Glass Pallet
30 in 30 Painting Challenge 2018, Mona Lisa cleaning brush tank with Artist Sophie Lawson


I had a glass jam jar in one of my cupboards for cleaning brushes, but on a YouTube video they said about cleaning brush tanks. I searched online and found this Mona Lisa Cleaning Brush Tank by Speedball, which seems pretty cool. After the challenge I’ll write a little review about it :)

30 in 30 Painting Challenge 2018, Standing Easel with Transgender Artist Sophie Lawson


I saw this second hand easel advertised online, with a big 30 x 20 Canvas board, for only £10. I couldn’t resist picking it up, proper bargain! The lady was moving abroad so had to get rid of it quickly, she even threw in a drawing book for free :)

Makes me feels like I’m becoming a proper Artist working on this thing, especially in the Apron. Aha, I’m so excited!

That might look and sound like a lot, but the truth is, it was relatively cheap. The most expensive thing was the tube of Titanium White, which cost about £14, everything else was bargains. The glass palette for instance, is just an old photo frame I had under the bed, with some tissue paper to create a grey background; so that was free. The big white sheet I got, was in the second hand shop for 99p :) The Apron was £4.85 on eBay, the Gesso was £7 and £12, the cleaning brush tank was £8, so, in total I’ve spent about £60.

I’m only going to be working on small canvases, but I expect my paints will run out pretty quickly. I’ve found some 500ml tins for £15, so I’ll be picking up a blue, red and yellow one next week when I get paid, and hopefully that will last the 30 days :) I’m only going to be using those three primary colours, and white, as I’m going to try and mix all my own colours. I already had a book on my shelf called Colour Mixing Bible, so hopefully that’ll help too :)

Leslie says it’s good to have a theme for the 30 in 30 painting challenge, to help with focus. I’ve been thinking the past week, and I came up with five ideas, but I couldn’t decide, I kept going back and forth when I thought, do all of them, apart from one of them, which was lilSOPHiE paintings, but who knows, I may throw her in near the end just for fun, but my blueprint now is:

  • WEEK ONE : Abstract Paintings based around a different colour each day
  • WEEK TWO : Still Life, using my Heels, Dresses and other various girlie bits (eww, that sounds rude lol)
  • WEEK THREE : Figure Painting, using some of My Photos as reference
  • WEEK FOUR : Landscape Painting, on location at Saltrum (the local woods)

Abstract Painting I think will be freeing and fun, a good way to start. Still life should be creative creating the compositions, but than technically challenging trying to paint what I see. Week three I feel will be the toughest challenge, trying to capture the essence of the photo, while still having it be technically as good as I can made it, while week four should be a nice way to end the challenge, out with nature just going for it, painting what I see :)


While doing all this painting, I’ll also be putting together a weekly blog post, detailing how I’m finding it with photos … a bit like The Digital Dream Challenge I did in 2017. I find writing as you’re learning, a really good way to truly understand what you’re learning. I’ll also be recording a daily audio diary type thing, which will take the form of the first five episodes of the So Free Art Podcast, episode zero should be on the site soon :)

I’m really looking forward to this painting challenge, but I’m also realistic enough to know MY PAINTINGS WILL MOST LIKELY SUCK lol But If I end the challenge having had fun, it’ll be happy :)

The 30 in 30 Painting Challenge starts on Thursday 1st February 2018 … I hope you play along too :)

Until next time, I’ll leave you with this Bob Ross video … which always makes me happy.

YouTube player


Bob Ross