Angelic Warrior Joins Me to Fight Arthritis!

Children have a wonderful way of being open to ideas and welcoming of new experiences without expectations.  Think about it…we all began that way! Yesterday, I was reminded of how fabulous it can be to experience painting with the heart of a child.  Join us for this fun watercolor art lesson.  It’s great for young kids or the “young at heart”.  

It was my privilege to participate in the SC Arthritis Foundation’s Fundraising Project for 2014. I was asked to work with a child from Myrtle Beach who has been diagnosed with arthritis.  My role was to help her develop a piece of art which could be sold for fundraising purposes.  With that in mind, I met this little Art Angel…

Arianna Sanchez is READY!!!

This little Art angel is a warrior!  

She is in a battle with arthritis.  

But she is not about to let that stop her!

She came to my studio along with her sweet mom and brother, and we set off to CREATE something!
Perhaps you’ll enjoy her journey as an artist and want to share it with a child in your life.  In fact, maybe your Inner Child will be so inspired that you may want to give it a try…I hope so!  We all had fun with it, and you may too…

Rebecca Shows Arianna some of the materials they will use
I showed her some of the materials and gave her lots of verbal instruction. Given her age, I approached it as a color exercise.  Our First Step: Crayon lines as “wax-resist”… we made random lines and got loosened up with some mark making on the page. 
Adding a bit of yellow watercolor

Then I had her use large hake brushes and with a pure lemon yellow color, she created a winding path of yellow on a wet piece of watercolor paper.  You can’t see the crayon lines, but they added some “resist” to the watercolor, creating white or relatively light lines. 

Setting a pure Manganese blue in beside the yellow and then helping it find a path to the edge was the next step. Try not to mix the colors, just set them next to one another. As I often say: 

“Water paints better than I ever could.”

Next comes blue and then comes pink!

Along the way, I had her note what colors resulted when blue merged with yellow (green).  Then we added some pretty Opera Pink, but the stipulation was…add it next to any color except “Green”.   When she added the pink, we noted what color resulted when it merged with Blue (purple)  and when it merged with yellow (orange). She and her brother had big fun naming the colors and figuring out where she could put them.

We continued to add strong mixes of watercolor, all the while placing colors next to one another rather than mixing them together.  Instead, we sprayed with water to encourage their mixing.  We continued our guessing game about what color would result from our additions.  We added Winsor Red, and avoided placing it next to “Greens”.  We added American Journey’s Arctic Ice, but avoided placing it next to “Orange”. Then one at a time, with instructions of what colors to avoid, we added more pink, blue and yellow.  (Avoiding the complementary colors helps to keep the colors bright.)  As she did her additions, a variety of beautiful colors emerged on the paper.

How about some RED! 

Once the page was full of color, we added some salt for texture in places where the paper was not as “shiny”.  At least for a while, we were able to restrain the application of salt to the dry areas…then it was so much fun pouring salt, that things got a bit salty!  But that’s ok, we have to let go and have some fun along the way, right?!

Then it was time to paint with the blow dryer.  Some of the deep wells of color could be moved in lines with the force of the blow dryer.  Things also need to dry before we could move on…soooooo

Painting with the blow dryer!

After blow-drying our paper, and blow-drying her brother, and lest we forget, of course we had to blow-dry mom… 
After everything was dry, we ended up with a beautiful bright page full of color and texture.

Next came the lines….To add the lines, we made big sweeping gestures with Elmers Glue.  Once the lines travelled around the paper, we added more salt…(oh yesssssss!) but we did so by pinching a bit between our fingers and dropping it directly into the wet glue lines.  Here we are doing this step.  (Since Arianna’s arms were a bit short for our big painting, I gave her a had with the glue)  We all helped put salt into the wet glue.

Once the glue lines were salted, we set about adding the same colors next to one another along the lines.  This requires a gentle touch.  Simply touching the glue lines with a loaded soft brush full of paint works best.  There were so many lines that Big Brother, Christian needed to lend a hand!

Beautiful colored lines begin to form all over the page…so much fun!

Then it was time to get out the blow-dryer again…watch out mom!

After drying completely,  it was time to do a little coloring with American Journey Watercolor Sticks.  They are a fun water media product that goes on like a crayon, and dissolves like watercolor.  Arianna used those to intensify some of her colors and create a few strategic dark shapes.  I limited her choices to ones which would keep her out of color trouble, and encouraged her to search out a shapes that had been formed by the lines we had created. I had her color till she was tired of coloring in each shape, and then spread the color the rest of the way  with a wet brush.  She liked being able to quit on a shape when she felt like it, and just letting the water do the rest…

Once she had a page full of beautiful colors and lines, I thought giving her composition a calm border might be nice.  So together, we added a white acrylic border along the edge.  
 Finally, the painting needed her signature.  She looked at the piece from all directions and decided which way it should hang.  I suggested a place for her to sign it and she used 2 pieces of paper as a guide for placement, and for how large to write her signature.  I had her use graphite, to make it easy to write her name.  She did it perfectly! 
“Keep On the Sunny Side” Painting by Arianna Sanchez
Mixed media of Watercolor and Acrylic on Paper.  18″X24″
Painting will be available for sale 

Don’t you just love her painting?  Comment here and I will share those comments with Our Art Angel and her sweet family.  If you’re inspired to help her and other kids like her, join us in the fight against Arthritis, and attend the Masquerade Event in Charleston, SC follow this link:

August 3  Gallery Show to celebrate each piece created this year at Lowcountry Artists Gallery 1-3pm Charleston, SC

September 6 D’Vine Affair Masquerade Gala Benefitting the Arthritis Foundation. at Memminger Auditorium  Theme: Masquerade–Faces of Arthritis, 7 pm
Charleston, SC

Rebecca Zdybel
Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor
Art Lessons in all media
Myrtle Beach, SC

Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art!

Feel free to share any of this blog post on your own blog or website, but I ask that you you include:
Rebecca Zdybel is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC.  Follow her and see her work at

“Like” my facebook page: Rebecca Zdybel- Artist
Join me on Google+ Rebecca Zdybel Google+ Profile

Author Rebecca Zdybel

Artist, Instructor, Art-Travel Instructor - Spread Light, Share Love, DO Art! Rebecca Z Artist (Rebecca Zdybel) is an artist and instructor in Myrtle Beach, SC. She blogs and teaches locally and internationally. Sign up for her blog, classes, workshops, art travel tours, or see her work at

More posts by Rebecca Zdybel

Join the discussion 6 Comments

  • Anonymous says:

    Rebecca thank you so much for doanting your time and helping my little warrior create this beautiful masterpiece. She was so comfortable with you and you made her realize that even with Juvenille Rheumathoid Arthritis there are no limitations as to what she can do as long as she sets her mind to it. Thank you again!

    • rzdybel says:

      Chronic illness is a challenge that so many deal with…quietly, heroically…they just chin up and try to make the most of a good day. I'm so glad we got to spend the afternoon together. Let's hope we can raise awareness through our efforts. hugs

  • Gail D. says:

    What a wonderful lesson in the art of giving! Thanks for sharing this. More hugs to Arianna! Beautiful and a definite masterpiece, Art Angel!

  • Keith says:

    Very cool, Rebecca! Donating your time to do this is really special. It looks like she had a lot fun!!!

Leave a Reply