The Vanzant Brush Twitter Feed

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Philadelphia Sketch Club May 5, 2018

Philadelphia Sketch Club, April 2018

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Donations to Houston - Check!

A great thanks to @phl2texas for driving this worthy cause for Houston. Special thanks to my buddies Barbara Jenkins, Maureen Schruby & Alicia Anderson who all donated to our Houston sista's.

Bad pic of me but not beautiful Destiny who helped me with my donation @couturebookboutique drop-off today!

Thank you and Bless the citizens of Houston & Florida.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

New Painting!

I love when my rhododendrun blooms in the spring. It is not there for long but it is so pretty for as long as it lasts.

"Spring" by Monica Vanzant

Saturday, June 24, 2017

First Wine Glass Painting Party

Thank you to Flora Maxwell for opening her home to host the first Vanzant Brush painting party! I had a great time with friends painting our beautiful glasses. A donation has been made to one of my favorite charities

Think Creatively!

Saturday, April 22, 2017

Bob Ross "Who Was He" by Simon Whistler

Greetings All! Found this great video about Bob Ross. Have great memories of sitting in front of the TV watching him paint his happy, happy trees. Visit his website for more information. Think Creatively!

Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The Day After Election Day 2016

Well, not much to say right now except tomorrow is another day. God Bless America.

"Lest We Forget" by Monica Vanzant

Monday, September 26, 2016

Book Recommendation 1 - "Creative Workshop" by David Sherwin

I was at my local library and was leaving when I saw the book. I think it caught my eye because it was so colorful. It was called “Creative Workshop” by David Sherwin. I looked at the back cover, scanned through it and was hooked. I checked it out. When I got home, I immediately started reading my new design bible. The author Mr. Sherwin has brilliantly put together 80 design challenges to teach and motivate you into learning about maximum creativity.

 So, first let me tell you what happened and why I think this book is so awesome. I read the first challenge and knew there was no way I was going to be able to complete it within the 30-minute time frame given. I decided to give myself the best advantage by using the tools provided by Mr. Sherwin in the Introduction. Well, long story short - I did it! One of my main challenges is coming up with ideas within a given time frame. There are times I have an idea but it might take days/weeks to flesh it out on paper. So this exercise showed me that with practice I can hone my design skills in all areas of my life and for that I will be forever grateful to this talented author.

Moving on, I got a little busy after the first Challenge and had to renew the book. I worked on Challenge two, finished it and again ran out of time before I could start the next challenge so I decided to do myself a favor and just buy the book. So now I am working on each challenge and having a great time learning new things. One thing that I found particularly helpful were the techniques Mr. Sherwin provided to help with time management and structuring your ideas, such as:

Time Boxing – Allocating a time period for each activity.
Mind Mapping – Using a diagram to visually organize information.
Word Listing – Using words to visually organize information.
Picture Association – Using pictures to visually organize information.
Brute Thinking - Using attributes attached to random words or pictures to find an association.

There is so much more and I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did. This book should be used to teach students how to create and document concepts on the clock and it is not just applicable to art.

Think Creatively!

Monday, September 5, 2016

Gold Hill, Shaftesbury England

Two weeks after September 11, I traveled to England. One of the towns on my list of places to visit was Shaftesbury England, specifically, Gold Hill. I stood on the hill after a two hour train ride and only hours after I first set foot in England. This steep hill had the most beautiful cottages and I was so happy to have made it! When I got home, I wrote this poem about it. I hope to one day see it again.

Gold Hill – Shaftesbury, England

By: Monica Vanzant

A quiet moment on a hill
of man made stone and crafted skill
I stand in awe, my mouth agape
Amazed at finding heaven's gate
For what I see is beauty wide
My soul is full and swells with pride
A scene with cottages askew
All shapes and colors, none are new
Atop a hill in Shaftesbury

Broad images that touch my soul
I wonder at their stories told
A long walk down, I stand and sigh
This journey will my strength defy
But I must go, I know that now
Way down Gold Hill I do avow
And so I start my trek downhill
The easiest part and needs no skill
Atop a hill in Shaftesbury

With little breath and steady heart
From this long hill I do depart
Some happy greetings come my way
From friendly locals I survey
Their nods and smiles at me so sweet
I'm more surprised each one I meet
Three times I hear, “It looks like rain!”
I find myself refreshed again
Atop a hill in Shaftesbury

With shaking legs and beaming smile
I look up at my traveled mile
Well not a mile but it feels so
The distance from that place I know.
From awe to dread I pick my way
O'er cobbled roads where children play
For now I know the time has come
To turn again, so I succumb
Atop a hill in Shaftesbury

With labored breath, I start my walk
My legs move slowly as they mock
My foolish pride that drives them so
Beyond the length they want to go
But on I push to higher ground
Until the top is once more found,
With gods good grace I have my end!
Up steep and winding path to wend,
Atop a hill in Shaftesbury

My panting breath comes back to me
As I turn back and there I see
That I have filled my latest dream
I've walked up THE GOLD HILL - I deem,
As sure as rain will come today
I know I will return and stay
For though my own land's miles gone past
It feels as though I'm home at last
Atop a hill in Shaftesbury

Monday, August 22, 2016

Visit Me At - Arts In The Park 2016

I will be participating in Arts In The Park this year at the historic Smithville Mansion this year and I am so excited! Please join me and other artists on Sunday, September 11, 2016. I will be accepting pre-orders for selected prints and the originals will be there for viewing. Look forward to seeing you there!

Historic Smithville Mansion
803 Smithville Rd, Eastampton Township, NJ 08060
Sunday, September 11, 2016 - Bring the Family Rain or Shine!
10:30am - 4:30pm
Click for Flyer Info

Monday, July 18, 2016

A Quick Word About My New Painting, "Death Of The Charity Box"

Oil on Board 

I saw a donation box one day and incorrectly assumed it was a charitable donation box. But as I kept looking at it I realized it was actually a donation box from a company that collects and resells used items. I did a little research and apparently there are quite a few of these companies that use these boxes for commercial retail purposes (they come in multiple colors). I am assuming that most, if not all, of these companies are legal, but somehow this just seems...wrong. And judging from the hits I received after I researched, I am not alone.

Now, I am not saying you should not give items to these companies (after all, everyone's gotta make a living), but I would ask that if you are donating items for the purpose of giving to charity please make sure that you read these boxes carefully to ensure that your donations are being used for the purpose you intended.

Think Creatively!

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Limiting Your Brushstrokes May Just Increase Your Creativity

I was talking to a young artist the other day and she said that she was having a problem with an oil painting. She said she kept painting the same area over and over again until the paint was too thick and she had to scrape it off and start over. Oh, how I remember this problem! I went through this same thing when I first started painting. Not only is this frustrating, because you have obviously lost your original concept (or maybe you never had one to begin with) but this also gives your paintings a tight or overworked look.

I told her about a fun challenge that I came up with to help me.  

Start with a small sketch and pick a certain number of brushstrokes it will take to complete it and try to stay within that number to finish it. Simple! For example - if you only had ten brushstrokes to finish a small landscape do you think you might be a little more conservative with your choices? Most definitely. You could also, of course, try this with bigger paintings and you might not always finish within the estimated number but I believe it does help the artist to focus on what is important. This little exercise helped me to make every brushstroke count and to stop “torturing” my artwork. Good Luck!

Think Creatively!

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Is Our Society Lost?

I usually only write about art on this blog but I have been watching entirely too much TV news lately and felt the need to post this piece I wrote years ago. Besides, as an artist, I am allowed to occasionally be whimsical.

Think Creatively!

Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning.”
Our world seems to be on the brink of a major transformation. A kind of energy is brewing just beneath the surface that may signify change on a massive level. Can you feel it? I am not referring to changes in global environment, nor the recent powerful upheavals of Mother Nature. I am talking about us, human beings and our thoughts and actions as a collective society.
We have moved into the information age at an incredible speed. Knowledge is literally at our fingertips, yet as a people we have not grown spiritually as rapidly as we have technologically. I am not talking about theology here. When I say spiritual, I mean working on our minds and hearts to evolve into better human beings and using this knowledge to advance society to a greater level of humanity. Though more physically connected through numerous electronic devices we seem much less emotionally connected. It is almost as though we had to make a choice between external stimulation and internal personal growth and the iPod won.
War, genocide and amazingly unbelievable greed – traits that have destroyed previous societies still live with us today. Possessing moral character seems secondary to living a self-fulfilled life, as if we must give up one to have the other.
A colleague and I were having a conversation one day and she said “The Holocaust could never happen again. We’re too evolved now...”
A deep, deep sigh from the bottom of my soul escaped me and I said, “Do me a favor. Google D-A-R-F-U-R and then let’s pick this conversation up later.”
A dyed-in-the-wool realist, I know that “paradise” is only another word in the “P” section of the dictionary. I am not predicting some fantastic utopia where we are all barefoot, wearing robes, growing our own food and greeting each with daisies. Nor am I arrogant enough to make yet another “startling” end-of-the-world prediction just because I fear the current state of affairs. But I believe, absolutely, that we must build our future using a solid foundation of what not to repeat from the past.
Do I believe that this is the end of us as a society? Of course not! I believe this is just the beginning. I believe in the power of wisdom, compassion and strength of character, and I do not feel that I’m alone. I sense the energy of those who, like me, burn to leave this world a better place than they found it. I feel a turning point has been reached in the evolution of our world and I hope this will continue. Maybe we can come up with a color to signify that we are going to treat our fellow man more considerately, compassionately and fairly. Maybe we can call it “going blue” and wear ribbons that signify our unity of purpose. Yes, this may sound silly, but I think you get my point.
Leaving a legacy of honor and a sense of purpose can last so much longer than a trust fund.
With so much yet to learn, we are still, as a race, in our infancy. To put this in perspective, if the world is really billions of years old, it could take a hundred, maybe even a thousand lifetimes before we finally “get it right”. Our possibilities are limited only by our thinking. Each generation has a chance to do better than the last. And even though we can not count on future generations to mend everything that we have broken, we should expect them to make the effort and should prepare them to succeed.
As human beings on a seemingly endless road towards emotional and spiritual self-discovery, we must remember and cherish the good of what was, enjoy that which is and optimistically look forward to what can be. This is how I feel that we will evolve as a people and as a society.

Sunday, May 29, 2016

De-Stress With 10 Minute Meditation

Please enjoy this 10 minute relaxation exercise from the website On Being.

Have a Creative Day!

Thursday, April 21, 2016

The Drawing Tools of Leonardo da Vinci


I saw a short but interesting video on Leonardo da Vinci's drawing materials on the Royal Collection website. Enjoy.

Think Creatively!


Friday, December 4, 2015

The Vanzant Brush Tip #2 - Copycat - The Best Form of Flattery?

I just completed a study of Daniel Gerhartz painting titled "Green Velvet". I fell in love with this painting from the moment I saw it, (which was just an image on Google when I was looking for something else). When I first saw it I thought is was from an older master painter, but after some research, found that it was done by one of my favorite contemporary painters, Daniel Gerhartz. When I finished it, I realized that what was drawing me to it was not only the composition but also the muted tones which makes it look mysterious.  

So, If you are in between paintings or you just want to challenge yourself to learn something new, try honing your skills by copying a painting by a master painter. You will be following in the footsteps of previous academically trained students who had to copy master paintings as a major part of their academic education. As a matter of fact, it was not only accepted but was demanded as an important learning tool of the students learning process.

Just a heads up, Mr, Gerhartz has many instructional books and DVD's available on his website. I watched his video "Her Mothers Locket" years ago and and it was a complete learning intensive video.

Think Creatively!


**This idea is for practice and learning purposes only. If you copy paintings of other artists for commercial selling purposes, make sure you look into the legalities of obtaining the proper advice/permission to distribute.  

Study "Green Velvet" by Monica Vanzant after Daniel Gerhartz

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Vanzant Artist Paint Brushes Now Available!!

3-Boiled Bristle - Multiple Shapes & Sizes Available

Choose Shape and Size
3-Broiled Bristle Set of 9 (1 Round - size 8, 1 Script - size 1, 1 Fan - size 8, 3 Filbert - sizes 3,5,7, 3 Flat - sizes 3,5,7)

Take Me Home - $21.57
Sample Set of 3 Brushes ( 9-Layer Squirrel, Boar Bristle, 3-Boiled Bristle)

Take Me Home - $14.61

Saturday, October 10, 2015

A Different Art Form - "Neighbours" (1952 Film)

I sat in the museum in Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, stunned. I was watching an artistic movie short with a concept that I had actually thought of two years before. Except this wasn't mine. It was an art piece made 64 years before by the Scottish-Canadian filmmaker Norman McLaren

My idea was going to be a short story about two people who were the only two left on earth. They both ended up in this beautiful area of land that they split. The size, flora, fauna were the same on both pieces of property and everything was idyllic. Until one purple flower grew right in the middle of their properties. And that is when the trouble began. That was the basic synopsis for my story but of course I never did anything with it because, well, I'm no writer. And I'm a bit of a procrastinator. 

Yet there I sat, in Canada on my vacation years later, looking at my story on film, yet not my story but the product of someone else's imagination, another artists creation made years before I was even born. A part of me was proud that I had thought of something that had been conceived by an artist of Mr. McLaren's brilliance. But another part of me wondered how unique any of our ideas really are.

So I sat there, on that small wooden bench and watched the second loop of the film "Neighbours", since the first viewing was interrupted by the egotistical meanderings of my own thoughts. That is when I realized how this film was making me feel.  I was horrified and unbelievably sad. 

Norman McLaren had the guts to show what no one really wants to admit. That there are some of our species who will never be satisfied with anything. They will always want what they don't have (even if they don't really want it!) and heaven help those who possess what they want. These are my feelings about this film – I'm sure you will have your own.

Friday, October 9, 2015

The Vanzant Brush Painting Tip #1 - Resurrecting Ruined Brushes

Hello My Creative Minions!

This is a new addition to my blog that will have painting tips that I have learned through the years. If any of you have something you would like to share just send me an e-mail and I will add it along with a giant kudo to you!

**No product manufacturer is paying me to advertise for them so, if I ever recommend any product, it is from my own personal experience in using that product. 

Vanzant Brush Tip #1

If you have paint brushes that you left out by mistake without cleaning and you think they are ruined , think again. Try Winsor & Newton Brush Cleaner and Restorer. I can honestly say this stuff is fantastic. I have used it with oils and acrylic and it has saved me a lot of money. You can visit the Winsor & Newton website here to learn more. 

Hope this helps!

Sunday, June 21, 2015

How Do I Love Thee...

I love paint brushes! Last week another artist and I were discussing our love of brushes. I buy new brushes all of the time but I especially love using a brand new brush when I start a new painting. That anticipatory feeling that something special is about to happen is mirrored in the beautiful shiny wooden surface and the bright - never to be seen again - clean bristles of a wonderful new brush. (I know, I have issues...)

Have a Creative Week!

Brush Types and Anatomy - Monica Vanzant - 2015

Friday, June 5, 2015

Next Exhibit - Philadelphia Sketch Club

Please join me at the 2015 PSC Benefit Juried Art Show to benefit the The Philadelphia Urban Creators. My paintings "Camden Overpass in Winter" and "Hudson River Valley Pasture" will be on exhibit. Hope to see you there!

Reception Info   
Sunday June 21, 2015, 2:00 – 4:00 PM 
The Philadelphia Sketch Club:
235 S. Camac Street
Philadelphia, PA 19107-5608 

Camden Overpass In Winter - Oil on Board

Hudson River Valley Pasture - Oil on Board

Monday, May 18, 2015

Scarves Are Now Available for Purchase!

Hi Everyone!

Some of my artwork is now being offered on beautiful '57 x '57 scarves on Redbubble . Below I am wearing Smithville Park. You can view it and more in my Redbubble landscape gallery located here.

Thanks and Have a Creative Day!

Original Painting - Smithville Park

Monday, March 2, 2015

Proportional Calculator

I know it has been a while and will actually be a bit longer. This is just a quick re-post of a great reference link to an on-line proportional calculator that I found years ago and that I use all the time. I have never found another as simple and easy to use. Thanks again to Scripty Goddess for creating this!

Have a Creative Day!

Proportional Calculator

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Just When You Are About To Give Up...

I am writing this blog about Vincent van Gogh because I am struggling a little with a concept for my 2013 exhibit. I have always felt an affinity for van Gogh, not only for his unique painting style but most importantly because when I look at his artwork his struggle as an artist is palpable. His early work was, well, average. I particularly like the example below which shows two of his sketches. The one on the left of a simple figure, strangely proportioned and two years later the one on the right vastly improved and beautiful.
Vincent van Gogh
I know from his biography that he loved art and was a plodder like me. He kept painting until he was satisfied and even if he wasn’t satisfied he kept painting anyway. He started painting late in life and continued on to become one of our most admired master artists. Mental illness may have ended his life prematurely but surely he lives on in the wealth of artwork left behind.

So the next time you struggle with a composition, a subject or a concept, please keep trying. And trying. And trying…

Best Regards, 


I Am Marble by Monica Vanzant

Lily - "The Icon Prize" Finalist

A huge thank you to Lane Von Herzen, author of "The Unfastened Heart" and the Icon Prize committee for allowing me to be a part of this wonderful project.


Set To Music...

Creation of still life "The Two No One Wanted"

Fine Art Paintings by Monica Vanzant

Video of Black and White Photographs

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Video Skyscape - Heavens V

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Video Skyscapes - Heavens IV

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To learn more about the singing/songwriting duo Elise Bellew and Blake Ryan and or to purchase their music please visit

Video Skyscape - The Heavens

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Video Skyscape - Heavens I

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