Art as Adventure: Tap Into Your Intuition & Paint an Abstract Garden | Marie-Noëlle Wurm | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Art as Adventure: Tap Into Your Intuition & Paint an Abstract Garden

teacher avatar Marie-Noëlle Wurm, Artist, illustrator, HSP

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

12 Lessons (28m)
    • 1. Art as Adventure: Let's Paint!

    • 2. Before We Begin, Release

    • 3. Dive In & Plant a Seed

    • 4. Spruce Up Your Garden

    • 5. Sprinkle Some Abstract Magic

    • 6. Build a Story, Yours

    • 7. Self-Doubt + Art as Adventure

    • 8. Diversify

    • 9. Let Out Your Inner Wild

    • 10. A Watercolor Tip

    • 11. Plants All Over

    • 12. Keep Growing

  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Feeling stuck? Wanting to get out your paints but you don't know what to paint?

If Nature inspires you and you want to learn to tap into your intuition while you paint, join me in this short & sweet creative class about going with the flow, and letting a garden grow at your fingertips.

I'll be using watercolor (and even include a small tip to better use it) but you can use whatever type of painting or drawing materials you like best! You're going to be painting an abstract floating garden while learning to let go, jump off cliffs, fill your garden with a varied collection of plants, and learn to trust your own artistic intuition. 

At the end of the class you'll have practiced how to

  • Let go of your expectations
  • Quash that pesky fear of the blank page
  • Create variety & visual interest in the different types of plants & leaves you'll paint
  • Melt into the moment & enjoy the process
  • Flex your creative muscle 
  • And create your very own magical abstract floating garden using watercolor or the art materials you love best. 

If you want to do a deep-dive into drawing different types of leaves, check out my class Drawing Plants & Leaves: Grow Your Unique Style Through a Visual Library

If you'd rather do a deep-dive into your own creativity, I created a 14 day drawing challenge to jump out of your comfort zone & find your style:  Fearless Art Jumpstart: A 14-Day Drawing Challenge to Unlock Your Creative Self

And here are all my other classes:

A Fun Game to Spark Creativity: Play, Break Rules, Make Art

Live Encore: Using Art to Learn About Yourself

Colorful Creatures in Gouache & Mixed Media: Explore Your Creativity

Color Collector: Explore the Art of Color Mixing With Gouache

Overcoming Artist's Block in Art Challenges: Creatively Respond to Prompts

Abstract Watercolor Painting: Explore Through Freeform & Planned Process ( selected as a Staff Pick)

Mood & Marks: Brush Pen Adventures Through Lines & Textures ( selected as a Staff Pick)

Secrets, Tips & Tricks to Finding Your Voice as an Artist

Unleash Your Creativity: Draw Without Fear in 5 Simple Exercises

Music by Epidemic Sound.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Marie-Noëlle Wurm

Artist, illustrator, HSP

Top Teacher




See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Art as Adventure: Let's Paint!: Hey everyone and welcome to this class which is going to be all about creating a little abstract floating garden. My name is Marie-Noelle Wurm. I'm an artist, illustrator, and top teacher on Skillshare where I teach a lot about creativity, how to unleash it, how to tap into it, and ways to counter the inner critic that we all face. In this class, we're going to be working on creating an abstract floating garden as a way of trying to explore all of those things. I'm going to be using watercolor, but feel free to use whatever medium it is that you love the best. I'm super excited and I'll see you soon. 2. Before We Begin, Release: Before we start, I'd like us to begin by allowing ourselves to not make anything beautiful. You might find this a little absurd considering we're here to, in theory, make something beautiful. But I find that doing this before you start painting, it really releases you from a lot of pressure and quiets down the inner critic so that you can really focus on the process of painting. So free yourself from any expectations of making anything beautiful, we're here to fall in love with painting, with ships, with colors, and the result, even though it can be great to make something awesome, is not really the most important thing here. 3. Dive In & Plant a Seed: I know a lot of people usually like to start by sketching, but I want to invite you to simply begin with painting. You'll see here that I have prepped some of my watercolors with a little bit of water. I want you to simply choose the color that most speaks to you, no thinking, no judging, which is the one that you want to start out with. I'm actually going to go for this one on the right, which is a purply color. The reason I'm not starting out with any sketching and I want us to really just dive into the painting is because often taking that first step is the most difficult. By placing something directly onto our page, we're immediately showing our brains that I'm here to paint. I have done something already. I might as well keep adding to it. It's just a fun way to get yourself moving, painting, and especially if you're dealing with any art blog or not sure where to go, this is how we start. We're not going to think too much here. You can just start creating a shape or a line. Since we are going to be making an abstract floating garden, I can already start to envision plants. I want plant shapes or things that are plant-like without the pressure of making anything realistic. I have a few plants here around me. You can take some inspiration from those if you don't have any near you or simply just think about, I'm going to make a leaf shape. I'm going to add another. There's no real pressure here to make anything realistic. The point here is really just to start creating and to enjoy the colors. You can decide to add more of the same plant. Rather than trying to make them all look exactly the same, the leaves I mean, or the flowers, or whatever plant-like elements you're doing, I'd like to invite you to actually embrace the imperfections because plants and nature is actually quite chaotic. Yes, there are shapes that you will find that are repeated, but having a little bit of variety is going to help make your garden shine even more beautifully. You can also add some grasses. This is something that I often like to use in my own work just because I personally love lines. I find lines fascinating. Obviously, grasses are very much a part of nature. We can absolutely use this as one of the elements that you're going to add into your garden. I'm working with a very, actually, big brush with a very thin tip. I like the variety that it gives me. But just in case I want something a little bit more consistently thin, then I have a second one that is a little bit more thin. 4. Spruce Up Your Garden: One of the ways that we can construct a garden is by trying to envision different kinds of plants. As you can see here, I made the leaves alternating from side to side. I could imagine a plant where actually the leaves are connected to each other along a stalk. That would be one other way of creating a little bit of variety. But another way of creating variety is by varying the sizes of the leaves that you're creating along your plants. Whereas these were quite big, I'm making very, very tiny ones here. You see, I put some of them right next to each other as though we were looking at them like this. But you can also alternate and make some that look like they're almost disappearing, which actually makes them look like they're moving forward or back. Don't be afraid to have them overlap either. Again, nature is chaotic and even though there are these repeating shapes, because of depth and perspective, it really gives you a lot of freedom to play around with the imperfections that your brush can create. Since this is a very small plant with very small leaves, I'm going to add a few here just for a little bit of visual interest. Again, the key here is not really to focus too much on result, but rather to enjoy the process. You can also vary the levels of water that you're using in your plants so that you can move from something quite transparent to something a little bit more opaque. As you can see, the one behind here, I created a bit more opaque compared to these purple ones. You can also decide, well, I'm just going to pretend that this is bushy. You can't quite see all the leaves, but you might see just a few poking through. Shapes are really this opportunity to create a little bit more variety and depth to your garden. 5. Sprinkle Some Abstract Magic: Don't be afraid also to sometimes put a leaf that doesn't seem connected to a stalk. Since we're creating an abstract floating garden, realism is not the goal. That also means that we can move away from what is realistic and try to add in just visual elements that are interesting and fun to play with. When I create floating gardens, it's something I really like to do. I'll start making these plant shapes, these flower shapes, and then sometimes I'll veer off the railroad tracks and just add little tiny elements, for example, pollen or thin lines. You don't need to know exactly what it is that you're making in every moment. It can also just be colors and shapes, and that infuses a magical quality to your garden. 6. Build a Story, Yours: If you feel like at any moment you want to add, I don't know, let's say a figurative element. Let's say a tiny house or a tiny person or I don't know why I'm saying both of them are tiny and they don't need to be tiny. But if you feel like adding any figurative element to your garden, please go ahead and do that. The point of creating this garden, of course, this is a starting point because I find nature very inspiring. Personally, this is something that I'm really drawn to, but of course, we all have different interests, different fascinations. I think the key here is also to use and tap into what it is that you find interesting and fascinating. Let's say, I'm going to just use some random example, but let's say that you're fascinated by planes. Well, you can add a plane element in your drawing, and that already creates a story because you have this garden and then you might have a plane somewhere, and so that means that when the viewer looks at it, you're engaging the storytelling part of the brain which is trying to figure out why is there a floating Garden? Why is there a plane? How do they connect? Where does this work? That's why I invite you if you'd like, you can add any figurative elements. The most important thing for me is you start tapping into what it is that you're interested in making. What are the colors that appeal to you? What are the shapes that appeal to you? What are the objects that appeal to you? Or even what are the patterns that appeal to you? If you feel like really just veering off the railroad tracks completely and just adding some random patterns, yes please, add those in. 7. Self-Doubt + Art as Adventure: I might seem like I know exactly what I'm doing, but on the contrary, I don't. I see painting more as an adventure. It's something that brings you places. So allow your painting to bring you to a place that you might not have visited before. In the beginning when you start doing this, it can be actually pretty nerve-wracking. I know that I have battled with a lot of self-doubt and a lot of fear when I was painting. If you are feeling any of those things, that's okay. Understand that that's a very, very normal part of the process. The important thing is to keep showing up and to keep practicing so that you can show your brain that it's okay. It's not the end of the world. If you create something not beautiful, it's not the end of the world. If you experience fear while you're painting, it's actually an opportunity to try to work with those things and to find new ways of facing your blank page so that you can come at it in a healthier, more loving way. 8. Diversify: You can also decide, so for example, I don't know if you can see here, but this plant that I have has leaves that are almost like circles. Not quite circles that are, I'm terrible at describing these shapes. It's like an oval with a pointy end. But you have a ton of other plants. For example, you have leaves that are circular or leaves that are triangular. Please don't be afraid to play around with all of those different kinds of shapes. It doesn't need to be complicated. You can do something really simple, but by varying the size of these shapes, then you can create an interesting garden that has different types of plants in it. Whether they're inspired by something you've seen or something that you completely invented. I'm just going to add in some circles here. Just so you can get a sense of that. There is only going to be one leaf per stock. They could almost turn into mushrooms. You might have some seem to slightly overlap or go underneath each other. Make this one bigger. Having different elements that are different sizes creates a lot of visual interest. Don't be afraid to have elements that are tiny and others that are much bigger. Again, you can see here the difference in size that I did isn't that big. But I could if I wanted to make something really huge, and that can be fun as well. 9. Let Out Your Inner Wild: At any point, I can decide to, and I often do this, I'm going to be honest with you in my own work, to really switch it up and just do something bold and random, seemingly, and just try to figure out what I'm going to do with it. This is the fun part. It's like jumping off a cliff. You don't really know where you're going, but you never know you might develop some wings on the way down. You can play around with having different colors. This is where you can start really having fun with abstraction. 10. A Watercolor Tip: One thing to know with watercolor is that it doesn't really like to be overworked. What that means is when you go into your watercolor a lot of times moving your brush around. What that does is that it moves the pigments too brutally, and in the end, when it dries, you end up really seeing these streaks of pigment where your brush went. One recommendation that I have is to really just trust the strokes that you create even if they don't go as planned. When you do that, then you allow the water to move the pigment in the way that it likes best, and that's going to give you some really beautiful results in terms of granulation or simply just the flow of watercolor in the water. 11. Plants All Over: Another thing that you can do here is to add plants at any other part of your floating garden. Since it's a floating garden, that means that plants can grow every which way, whether that's underneath, on the sides, and of course on top, as we initially did. You can see here that I'm taking inspiration from some of these first plants that I made. That's one way of bringing your garden together is by repeating shapes, and finding ways of echoing the different types of plants within your garden. 12. Keep Growing: Congratulations. If you've followed along, then hopefully, you have your own little abstract floating garden. I hope that you learned a few little things along the way. If you're happy with what you made, then that's awesome, and if you're not, I'd like to invite you to take this as an opportunity to explore what it is that you could learn from the painting that you just made. What did you learn in terms of your own process? What did it uncover in terms of how you approach this process of improvising? Because that's basically what we've done. I hope that you'll remember that it's okay to not like every single painting that you did. If you don't like what you made, take five minutes just to try to absorb the lessons that this painting may have taught you. Maybe it's in terms of your process or in terms of certain shapes or colors that you like to put together or colors that you decided, "I don't really like it when those two are together." There's so much to be learned with every single piece that we make. I hope that you've learned at least a few little things along the way. Thank you so much for joining. If you want to connect, I'm on Instagram, and I'm also on Patreon. There are plenty of ways for us to keep painting together, and I look forward to doing that. Bye.