How to Get the Most out of This Book This book is a bit different than other how-to painting books out there. It is inspired by my popular online course, A Year of Painting, and includes the work of many of the wonderful artists who participated in the course, so you’ll receive an array of approaches and styles as examples for each monthly lesson. My mission is to keep you motivated to paint all throughout the year—and the lessons can help you do that. I also work in a free-spirited way, one that is without too much structure yet still gives you plenty of techniques and ideas for creating your own work. My suggestion is for you to take what moves you from the lessons and make it your own. Some steps you may totally leave out; others you may develop more deeply. Trust your gut and listen to your intuition when creating. This is what intuitive painting is all about, and with my years of practice it’s certainly become my favorite way to create. You may want to practice a bit in your sketchbook (I suggest one with thick paper that can take a variety of water-based media) to practice on before moving onto nicer surfaces. You must put in the time and allow yourself to play for hours upon hours. This will help you develop your own personal style, and it will become stronger with time and practice. From the time you spend while painting you will suddenly become comfortable and inspired by your own aesthetic and style. So look to the corresponding lessons to awaken the muse within you at the beginning of each month. Take in my examples and those of the other participating artists. Notice what ignites you visually, what stirs that longing to create. Pay attention to that because it’s important. It may be certain color combinations or use of line; it may be the implied texture in a work or the use of pattern. Certainly don’t feel bad if you want to mimic a work you see—you will still make it your own and your style will grow stronger with time.