Buttons and Clouds
This week in my classes our "warm-up" was painting a few small white buttons.  I can't take credit for an original idea here.  I saw buttons done in watercolor posted on Pinterest and followed  it back to the blog of Jane Minter. 

In yesterday's class, we each took a few buttons, sketched them, and started adding shadows and detail and background.  That's the one on the top right.  Today's class did the little paintings by painting a very wet wash without mixing the colors up too much, and leaving some white of the paper in a few spots.  We lifted some color here and there to leave some lighter spots for more buttons.  This is the one on the bottom right.  When the wash was dry we lightly drew some buttons, and then added a little detail and some darker shadows around the buttons.

The buttons at the top left were done in prismacolor pencils on Mi Teints paper in my sketchbook.
Bottom left -  everyone in the class is working on a different theme, and this was a little demonstration for one of the students doing clouds.

The buttons have me thinking that it might be fun to do a series of very small things grouped together  -  thumb tacks, sticks of pastels, pen nibs, corks, combs and barrettes, pretty stones .  .  .  what else?

I hope this will inspire you a bit.  I think we all need a little help this time of year to keep our creativity going and our brushes moving.