Online Challenges

Art Share: What’s in Your Sketchbook

Rocky Neck Art Colony’s newest virtual exhibition is called: Up Close: Sketchbooks by Martha Swanson.

Martha (Marty) was RNAC’s Artistic Director for the past 8 years and we thought this would be a great way to honor all she’s done for Rocky Neck — and all the art directions she’s explored.

So…what’s in your sketchbook? Send submissions to, be sure to include a brief bit about what we’re looking at. And your name, of course.

From Judythe Evans Meagher

Ed. Note: Be sure to drop by Judythe’s studio on Rocky Neck this summer.

From Linda Bourke:

From Pamela Stratton:

This was a sketch for a mosaic honoring my ceramic pot that I purchased from Ruth Worrell. It is the inside of the vessel.

—Pamela Stratton

From Lynda Fatalo

These are drawings from my drawing-a-day 2020 (366 leap year!) series. 
The first group are drawings from the alphabet series. 
The second group are drawings from the number series (1-100).
I posted a drawing a day for the year on instagram @artonomous_art
I’m continuing posting a piece a day this year as well . — Lynda Fatalo

From Matt Cegelis

All the excitement about sketchbooks has motivated me to start a digital sketchbook, and Loren’s wonderful video has inspired me to begin a daily sketchbook practice.

Not a day without a line!

My “First Page” is attached. The fun has begun! My sketchbook medium is digital, using the painting tools in Adobe Photoshop 2021 – Matt Cegelis

From Neta Goren:

In Italy, 2019
Ruins in Brit-She’an, looking east towards the Jordan mountains, 2017
Umbria, Italy, 2019
The 3rd Lockdown, 2021 (all images by Neta Goren)

Online Challenges

My Favorite Thing — Art Share #1

A little different this time. Instead of you creating a new piece of art, look around your house or studio — which one piece is your absolute favorite, the one you would have a hard time living without. It could be a piece done by you, your kids, your favorite artist. It just has to be really important to you.

For this “Share,” you can add a few words about why it speaks to you. But try to keep it to under 50 words. Send to RNAC.workshops@gmail.

Ken sent this in without a title. But do you really need one? By Ken King
Drawing, by Jake

This charcoal/pastel drawing was made by my son, Jake, many years ago. It shows the strength, balance and resilience that has made him into a fabulous, caring adult!

—Karen Ristuben

I was touring artists residencies in California when I met a family of potters from Jalisco, Mexico, who made beautifully unusual works. The entire family works together and was enjoying the Montalvo residency in Santa Clara. The father, Gerardo Ortega is the heir of three generations of potters and is considered a Grand Master of Mexican folk art.
I fell in love with this joy-filled car depicting Mary, Joseph and the three kings taking the happy baby Jesus out for a ride.

—Kathy Archer

The Celeste Burrill, by Arthur V. Gregory

Painted in 1897 in Australia by marine artist Arthur V. Gregory, it shows my sea captain great grandfather, my great grandmother, and my then 9-year-old grandfather aboard the ship Celeste Burrill. From Australia to Nova Scotia to Minnesota and now to Massachusetts, it connects me to 10 generations of mariners.

— Paul Trefry


This is a taxidermy bird I love. I’ve painted it many times. His name is Petie. Looks exactly like my childhood pet bird.

— Joyce Roessler

Storm Warning, by Kevin Magnan

This is a painting by my son Kevin Magnan. He grew up around the ocean and has painted a number of seascapes, capturing many different moods. This is one of my favorites.

—Ray Magnan

Walt Whitman Portrait (1969, 4/25), by Antonio Frasconi

I fell in love with this the minute my father brought it home. Walt’s been with me a long time, and so have my favorite lines of his:

O to be self-balanced for contingencies, 
To confront night, storms, 
hunger, ridicule, accidents, rebuffs, 
as the trees and animals do.

—Janice Brand

Online Challenges

Basic Black — Art Challenge #26

We’re at 25+ weeks of Art Challenge, which has been a great run. I’m sensing a lessening of enthusiasm or at least of submissions, so I’m going to ease up for a while and consider this the Fortnightly Art Challenge. It’s getting colder and there’ll be fewer options for distractions, so maybe things will pick up.

So, you’re not off the hook yet! This fortnight (two weeks), draw with white on a black surface. Simple, but powerful.

Rules are simple:

  • Black & white (okay, I added some color)
  • 2D or 3D
  • Any surface, any medium
  • Draw from direct observation preferred where possible

Deadline is November 7. Send submissions to If you have some killer ideas for new Challenges, send those along too!

“Who are we, where are we from, where are we going…” to paraphrase someone else, by Ken King
Black Self Portrait, by Joyce Roessler
Ebb Tide, by Pat Collins
September 30, by Linda Bourke
Wet Street, by Pat Collins
Floaters, by Matt Cegelis
Charles River Bridge, by Ray Magnan
White on Black Paper, by Neta Goren
Buster, by Janice Brand
Wiggy, by Linda Bourke
Online Challenges

Break with Tradition — Art Challenge #25

For this challenge, put aside your pencils and brushes. Make an image using a non-traditional drawing tool (stick, fork, your roommate’s toothbrush…). You can also use a non-traditional medium. Please identify your materials.

Otherwise, rules as usual:

  • Color or black & white
  • 2D or 3D
  • Truly any surface, any non traditional medium

Deadline is October 24. Send your image to Send title, but more important this week, identify your materials.

Tool used was the tube from a paper towel roll fluted on the end, by Ed Mowrey
Low Brow Hairbrows (what happens when you start trimming your hair), by Linda Bourke
Kitchen-Printed Crucifix with plastic bags and finger press, by Neta Goren
Doodling with Wire from Chinese Take-Out Containers, by Linda Bourke
Online Challenges

10X — Art Challenge #24

Enlarging is a powerful visual strategy. Otherwise, we would not love Georgia O’Keefe’s work quite so much.

For this art challenge, choose a small object from nature– a seed, mushroom, cherry, shell, etc. Spend a few minutes observing the object’s details. Make an image in which the object is at least TEN times larger than the original (1 inch = 10 inches!). Don’t hesitate to let the image bleed off the edges of your surface to create interesting negative shapes.

Simple rules:

  • Color or black & white
  • 2D or 3D
  • Any surface, any medium
  • Draw from direct observation preferred where possible

Deadline is October 10. Send your image to Send along a title, or I’ll come up with one (and it’s sure to be wrong!).

Pebbles, by Ken King
Blizzard, by Ray Magnan
Eye of Kara, by Ray Magnan
Forsythia’s Second Coming, by Linda Bourke
Teeny Weeny Barnacle, by Janice Brand
Zinnia, by Linda Bourke
Happy Hour, by Matt Cegelis
Gourd, by Linda Bourke

Online Challenges

Subtractive Drawing — Art Challenge #23

This week’s Challenge involves removing from the surface. Scratch, scrape, sand, erase your way to an image! (Personally, I find it one of the most fun ways to attack something — break out those erasers.)

Rules are simple too:

  • Color or black & white
  • 2D or 3D
  • Any surface, any medium
  • Draw from direct observation preferred where possible

Deadline is October 3. Send your image to Send along a title, or I’ll come up with one (and it’s sure to be wrong!).

One Lonely Tree, by Michele Champion
Less is More, by Matt Cegelis
Ken’s Trees, by Janice Brand
Online Challenges

Repetition — Art Challenge #22

Let us repeat: Repetition. Using repetition can produce a variety of effect, like movement or emphasis. It can trigger memory, create confusion or just result in an interesting composition. In this challenge use repetition repetition.

Rules are simple:

  • Color or black & white
  • 2D or 3D
  • Any surface, any medium
  • Draw from direct observation preferred where possible

Deadline for this one is September 26; send to Send along a title or I’ll have to make one up.

Repetitions, by Mary Rhinelander
Knot, by Matt Cegelis
Cherries, by Christine Bobek
Balancing Act, by Christine Bobek
I am Paisley, by Jean Fogle
Angel, Angel, by Linda Bourke
Music of the Spheres, by Ken King
She Sells Sea Shells, by Michele Champion
Reflections on the Multiverse, by Ray Magnan
Birds on a Wire a la Stuart Davis, by Janice Brand

Online Challenges

Go Wide — Art Challenge #21

Someone mentioned football season starting? We can do that — here’s the challenge: think wide, think panoramic format. (Okay, not the easiest thing to take a picture of, but give it a whirl.)

Rules are simple:

  • Color or black & white
  • 2D or 3D
  • Any surface, any medium
  • Draw from direct observation preferred where possible

Deadline for this one is September 19; send to Send along a title or I’ll have to make one up.

The Headlands, by Matt Cegelis
After the Swim, by Karen Matthews
Stoney Cove, by Joyce Roessler
Rocks at Folly Cove, by Linda Bourke
Plum Island, by Linda Bourke
Summer of ’75, by Ken King
Elizabeth Bishop the Traveler, by Neta Goren
Online Challenges

Merging 2D and 3D — Art Challenge #20

Enough summer laziness. We’re back! This week’s challenge is to merge the 2D world and the 3D world. It’s easier than you think — or not.

Rules are simple, as ever:

  • Color or black & white
  • 2D and 3D
  • Any surface, any medium
  • Draw from direct observation preferred where possible

You have until September 12 for this one. Send submissions to with your title or I’ll make one up!

Can Do, by Judy Robinson-Cox
Rosie, by Karen Watson
Swimming in the Quarry, 9/12, by Sally Waite
The Angelic Monitor, by Cornelius Sullivan
SOS (Save Our Seas), by Donna Caselden
Beached in the Grass, by Alev Danis
Tail Feather, by Linda Bourke
What Mice? by Janice Brand
Bottle Cap Snout, by Linda Bourke
Online Challenges

Big Tiny — Art Challenge # 19

Big Tiny is one of our major fundraisers for Rocky Neck Art Colony and you can help make it a success. The Challenge is to make a gorgeous image in a tiny 5×5″  painting, photograph, mixed media or print. This will be a piece you can deliver to us per instructions below for inclusion in the fundraiser.

Here are your marching orders:

  • After matting the visible area must be 5 inches x 5 inches.
  • Work on a 6“x6″ piece of watercolor paper, bristol board or photo paper. Need paper? We can provide 6”x6” 100 lb. Bristol stock. Call Mary Ann McCormick at 978-317-6803 to arrange a pick-up time at 4 Hatch Way on Rocky Neck (not the Cultural Center). 
  • All 2D media accepted, including photography, collage, drawing and painting.
  • We do the matting. Just remember the visible area must be 5×5”.
  • Sign the BACK, not the front. One of the thrills of Big Tiny is the buyer doesn’t know who did the piece until after purchase!
  • Submission Deadline Update: Final Art due September 7. No excuses now! Please deliver or mail artworks in protective packaging to Mary Ann McCormick, 4 Hatch Way, Gloucester MA 01930.  Artwork pickups can also be arranged.

See the links below to YouTube videos for some inspiration on how to make your tiny masterpiece:

Barbara Moody

Ruth Mordecai

Kat Masella

Loren Doucette

The Big Tiny is all-virtual this year, so people can view and buy online. The website (we’ll post the URL here when it’s up) will be live for three days, Oct. 10 to 12. The artwork will sell for $150 the first day, $100 the second and $50 on the third. We are also offering framed Triptychs of three pieces that go together.

If you want, you can send your image here to Art Challenge for posting (I won’t be running your caption info): More important, though, is to send the completed piece in to the address above by August 31.

Here’s another idea: Repurpose some of your past Art Challenge work for Big Tiny. As long as it has the all-important 5”x5” internal dimension, you’re probably good to go.

Anonymous for Big Tiny