Holidays in Mixed Media 2023!


For the past several years, I've posted a Holidays in Ink challenge for those who wanted to play along with an easy-to-travel-with medium and sketchbook during the holiday season. I've been getting asked when I'd be posting the one for this year. I'm sorry that it is so delayed; there's only a week until I plan to start. I did Inktober this year for the first time, so I wasn't really interested in doing another ink challenge so soon. I'm up for color and using lots of different mediums. Therefore, this year I plan to do Holidays in Mixed Media! Feel free to change it and make it your own. I'm doing it with a few friends who have helped set the parameters for a holiday challenge. Here are the optional "rules" we plan to follow.

Dates: November 20-December 31, 2023. (42 days) We plan to create art at least 30 of those 42 days, whether it's for 10 minutes or 10 hours. We might create 30 pieces/sketches during that time, or just a few. They might be postcard size done in a half hour, or full sheets that we've worked on for weeks. We are not counting pages; instead, we are experimenting with processes throughout the dates of the challenge. Holidays are filled with gatherings and interruptions. We are allowing for those by planning only 30 days out of the 42.

Paper: We will be working on loose sheets of assorted types of paper, varying size, color and texture. We want to explore how various materials respond to specific papers, and the effects that creates. I also want to be able to put everything up on my studio walls as I work through the project, to analyze what I've done and guide me from one piece to the next. If I need to travel over the holidays, I can just bring a few pieces of paper with me. It's easy, and I won't be size-restricted.

Media -- Choose at least one from each of the three groups below for each piece/sketch. Of course, you may additionally use collage and anything else you wish. There is no set order for using the materials, nor a maximum limit to the number of different mediums you can use.

  • Group A. Waterproof and permanent -- This medium should be waterproof and not move once it's placed down. Examples include waterproof inks and pens, Posca or other acrylic markers, acrylic paint, etc.
  • Group B. Water Soluble - This medium can either be wet or dry, but should remain water soluble once dry. Examples are watercolor, gouache, water soluble inks or graphites, water soluble brush pens, watercolor pencils with water applied, water soluble crayons with water applied, etc.
  • Group C. Dry Media -- This can be water soluble or not, since that's not a factor when applied dry. Examples include colored pencils, oil pastels, soft pastels, graphite, charcoal, etc.

The painting at the top of this post used all three types of media. I toned the paper with very diluted yellow acrylic paint. Once dry, I painted loosely and transparently with gouache, then used violet Posca markers. Toward the end, I sketched with assorted dry media over the top. 

A note about prompts: We are not doing a prompt list this year. I might use only a few reference images, and do some series with them. Differences in materials and approaches provide variety, and for me, inspire experimentation. Those series might be interspersed with assorted sketches of different subjects. Or I might change my mind! I like the idea of leaving all my subject options open, and going with the flow this time around!

*** Since my blog subscription is no longer working, please help by sharing this project with friends and other artists. I'm not on social media these days, so I'd appreciate anything you can do to help spread the joy around via social media or email; it's always more fun and inspiring doing these things in a group!


  1. Thank you, Jamie! This is inspiring (as was brainstorming with you), and I am eager to get started next Monday!

  2. Thanks, Jamie! Should be fun

  3. Anonymous7:36 AM

    Thank you, Jamie. I'm looking forward to it! Johanne Morin

  4. Melissa, Peg, and Johanne, I'm glad I won't be on this particular journey alone, because it is totally outside of my comfort zone!

  5. Anonymous9:01 AM

    Thank you Jamie, I look forward to this year’s journey😊