I’d like to invite you to join me for the second annual Nature Spots Challenge! It was so much fun last year that I just had to host it again!

It’s super simple to play along: just get outside and do a nature spot a day in January. If you’re on Instagram, please tag your post with #naturespotchallenge2024 so that we can inspire each other.

The goal is to take 5 minutes to connect with nature each day in a meaningful way. I’ve found this practice helps bring me so much joy and I hope it does the same for you! It’s also a great way to kickstart your sketching practice — I’ve found that once I have my kit out I don’t want to stop.


I was surprised to find lantana blooming in December!
I put together a list of Instagram reels to inspire you:
My e-booklet, Nature Spots, is filled with even more inspiration!

Peek Inside the Nature Spots eBooklet

I wrote this eBooklet to inspire everyone to start painting Nature Spots:

Nature Spots is available as an instant download via my Ko-fi Shop — sorry, no hardcopy books are available at this time.

Please don’t feel like you have to purchase this eBook to take the challenge. It’s just meant as a way to inspire you (or gift it to a friend!). Your purchase will help cover some of the costs of running my website, and I truly appreciate your support.

Topic Ideas

  • The sky! It would be amazing to do a nature spot of the sky each day in January, maybe at the same time each day — or do sunsets and sunrises
  • Critters, birds, bugs, butterflies — all those things that move too fast and can be intimidating to sketch. Do a nature spot instead!
  • Focus on all the evergreens in your area — such a great way to practice mixing greens
  • If you’re in a warm climate, do flowers!
  • If you have snow, do nature spots of the colors of the shadows (I’m hoping we get some snow — just not too much like the snowpocolypse of 2021.)
  • Do a nature spot of the first thing that speaks to you each day — this is what I plan to do!
The sky on December 26, 2022 was an amazing blue.


  • Paint: a Pocket or Demi Palette from Art Toolkit. Fill it with your favorite tube watercolors. I like to switch up my paints with the changing of the seasons or if I know I’ll be visiting a certain place.
  • Paper: I stocked up on my favorite mini Hahnemühle zig-zag books to use for the challenge. I love using these little books as the paper is thick enough so that you can use both sides without the color spot warping the paper. You can also make your own booklet, or use loose pieces of paper — whatever works for you! This would be a great way to explore different brands of paper, or 100% cotton vs wood pulp papers.
  • Brush: a water brush is a game-changer. If you haven’t heard of a water brush you’re in for a treat. It’s a brush that has water in the handle — nifty, right? A light squeeze gets the water flowing. I like the large size by Pentel
  • Paper towel or shop towel for cleaning the water brush.
  • A 4×6″ piece of Coroplast or cardboard to use as a support board is super handy to have, but if I’m using a mini zig-zag book I just hold everything in my hand.
  • Something to keep your kit in: I have a fanny pack that I use for my walks in the neighborhood and a phone pouch on my backpack for when I’m hiking.

I can’t wait to see everyone’s nature spots! Happy painting! — Lisa

Share Your Nature Spots!

If you’re on Instagram, please tag your post with #naturespotchallenge so that we can inspire each other.

Categories: Nature Spots


Bob Cochran · December 27, 2022 at 10:02 pm

Hi Lisa, I will certainly try to follow along with this and participate. I assume the starting date you have in mind is January 1, 2023, am I correct?

Do you prefer participation by Instagram? If so, that is a bit of a problem for me. I think I deactivated my Instagram account after getting far too much advertising. I’m really active on Facebook, however. Perhaps a Facebook “group” is possible? Or perhaps some other way to participate? Perhaps participants can postal mail prints of our Nature Spots to a Post Office Box. I know, that is so 1960s! It does show financial support for the United States Postal Service. Emailing photos of Nature Spots would be much more “2020s”.

My understanding from the context of your post is there are no prizes being offered for participation. Participants are sharing their work out of mutual interest and expect no form of monetary reward.

In closing, I want to express my deepest gratitude to you for all your wonderful posts of 2022. I’m looking forward to following your adventures in 2023 and to participating in your Nature Spots Challenge.


    Lisa Spangler · December 28, 2022 at 10:39 am

    Hi Bob! YAY! I can’t wait to see what you do!

    I thought about your comment regarding instagram and that made me think of Padlet! So I set one up and added it to the post. Here’s the link:

    It will be so awesome when it fills up! You’ve got my wheels turning on a reward — stay tuned! But mostly it’s for the joy of doing it. These nature spots have really meant so much to me and I wanted to share that joy with others.

    Thanks so much for your comments, as always! Wishing you all the best in 2023!

      Bob Cochran · December 28, 2022 at 11:37 am

      Hi Lisa, I will give Padlet a try. This is my first introduction to the product. Thank you for coming up with a unique solution. You sure do know some very interesting ways to communicate artistic work.

      As to a reward…I recommend against it….just conduct this so others can share the joy. Very often, the true reward to doing something new is in the experience itself — in the personal growth that happens. I think I will grow as a person as I work with Nature Spots. That is a bountiful and wonderful reward. It is also a sufficient one. I will enjoy the experience. ….Bob

Quinn · December 30, 2022 at 12:31 pm

Hey Lisa,
This is brilliant! The simple activity of painting a spot of color from an observation frees up all the pressure to paint something representational. It is perfect for those of us with a strong inner critic, perfectionists, and prone to “painter’s block.” And, of course, it solves the issue of “not enough time to paint.”
I am excited to participate as best I can. I have to travel some, and that may make things more interesting. I will have spots from dark and grey to sunny and bright places! Thanks again for all the inspiration, Quinn

    Lisa Spangler · December 30, 2022 at 12:50 pm

    Hi Quinn! I couldn’t have said it better myself! Can’t wait to see your nature spots!

Bob Cochran · January 7, 2023 at 3:24 pm

I posted my first nature spot today, using Padlet. Is there a way to edit my post? Perhaps I need to have a Padlet account in order to do that? I looked at all the Nature Spots that I saw on Padlet today and I love them all. I wonder if there is a way I can comment on the Nature Spots. I have a feeling I will need a Padlet account. Judy, I like the details you add to your Nature Spots. I think your comments are very nice because I feel this same interest in adding written details to the Nature Spot. My next submission, I will try to emulate you.

Bob Cochran · January 8, 2023 at 4:47 pm

I wonder why my posts on Padlet (as shown above) list me as “anonymous” but other posts show the name “jdfcrew” or “Lisa Spangler”? Do I need to have a Padlet account for this, or will my posts always list me as “anonymous”? Thanks so much….Bob

My 2024 Nature Spots Challenge Kit – Lisa Spangler · December 31, 2023 at 11:59 pm

[…] second annual Nature Spot Challenge starts tomorrow — are you in? I spent some time today putting together my kit and thought […]

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