Anne Shopp is an emerging artist living in Broomfield Colorado. She loves acrylic portrait painting and drawing, and creating handmade art journals. This is the second installment in her 4-part series as Artist Strong’s Resident Artist. You can find Anne on her instagram account @art4anne.


The Digital Art Residency in real life, real-time; I was out of town last weekend and did not do as much sketching as I had hoped. I’m not sure if others think they will be able to do more each week, as it’s been a challenge to maintain that frequency of sketching. I continued painting on my first painting, and I’m close to finishing it.




I took a long time with the underpainting, which helped the following layers go smoothly. I have toned some other canvases and will start the drawing process this next week.


This week, I drew four sketches, which I posted on Instagram @art4anne. Here’s my favorite from the week.

While traveling, I was able to shop at Dick Blick! The nearest store is 500 miles from my home, so it was a treat to shop in person for art supplies. I love art supplies of all kinds and creating in various manners. My garden has a full spectrum of colors and textures. I love bookmaking, natural dyeing of fabrics, art journaling, stitching, and anything else that catches my eye.

When painting portraits, I am slowly focusing on what art supplies work for my lifestyle. By slowly understanding how I work, I have been able to narrow down specific paints I want to utilize in my painting. As most of you know, paint is expensive! And I hate to waste paint. If I have paint on my palette, I keep painting no matter the time or other obligations. This is not necessarily a healthy or feasible process. My studio lacks ventilation for oil painting. I love the look of Watercolors; however, they are not forgiving and require a level of planning and patience I lack. So I choose to work with acrylic paint.

I have started to paint with Golden Open Acrylic paint and a Mastersons sta-wet palette for the past few months. What a game-changer for me. Even in the extremely dry heat here in Colorado, the palette and paint stay wet for weeks! This allows me time to slow down, step back and notice the painting; I appreciate looking and deciding on the next brush stroke or color.

There is a learning curve with the Golden Open Acrylic paints as they do not dry on the canvas as quickly as traditional acrylic paints. Water can also pull the paint off the canvas, even the next day, which can be both a help and a problem. Not painting with too wet of a paintbrush or a just washed paint brush helps. There is much to learn about these paints’ properties. I’m looking forward to playing and learning with them. 

Another challenge in painting portraits is having reference photos. I am not at the point of hiring a photographer and models and doing photo shoots. Nor am I ready to commit to life painting classes. I feel it is ethical and correct to use copy-right free images. I am currently using both Unsplash and Museum app for inspiration.

On both platforms, I have created accounts and saved inspiring pictures. Finding a theme or series of reference photos enables me to keep painting and not always look for the next idea. Decision fatigue is real; by picking several pictures at one time, I can work on 2 or 3 paintings simultaneously. I currently use a projector to draw out the image on a canvas. Sometimes it’s a toned canvas, and sometimes it’s white. 

I also like working with a limited palette. I am still experimenting to figure out what colors I want to use. Frankly, the limited palette helps me not make a mess, and gives the painting harmony. I was able to look at the range of colors of Golden Open Acrylic paints and think about what other colors I would like to try for my limited palette. 

The Broomfield Art Guild hosts public art displays. Last week, I submitted two paintings to hang in the community center. I have never shared my art in a public setting, so I am thrilled about the opportunity. There are a couple more opportunities this month in which I will also submit paintings. The Digital Art Residency is helping me just go for it and share my art, whether perfect or not. Given there is no perfect, it’s fun to let go of the judgment and hang up my art. 

To follow my art journey, check out my Instagram @art4anne

Thank you for being on this journey with me!

Every month, 1-3 artists show up in our Artist Strong community to share their artistic process, journey, explorations with us over the course of a month.

The goal is to normalize the MANY, VARIED experiences of being an artist.

And if YOU  want to apply to be an Artist Strong Artist Resident, subscribe to our weekly updates to hear about the next time applications are open.