What are nature spots, you ask? They’re spots of color to mark your observations while out in nature.

Nature Spots of bigtooth maples at Guadaloupe Mountains National Park.

Be it a flower, butterfly, amazing rock formation or magnificent mountain, nature spots are a great way to document a subject without taking up too much time.

Fill up a journal to document a hike or time spent at a special location. They’re a satisfying way to scratch that itch to paint, yet so simple that you can do them in five minutes tops.

Making color spots helps me connect with nature in a way that snapping a photo just can’t match and I wanted to find a way to share this joyful practice — so the Nature Spots ebooklet was born!

Peek Inside the Nature Spots eBooklet

Get Your Nature Spots eBooklet

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


One of the best things about Nature Spots is that they need so few supplies — you can always have them with you!

Here’s what I have in my kit:

  • 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 or sketchbook. I like the mini Hahnemühle zig-zag book as the paper is thick enough so the you can use both sides without the color spot warping the paper. You can also make your own book.
  • Waterbrush. 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.
I keep my supplies in a shoulder pouch on my pack so I can get to them in a flash.

Use code LISAFAN10 for 10% off your purchase of an ArtToolkitpalette, or mixing pans. Full disclosure: I’m a Brand Ambassador for Art Toolkit and I’ll receive a small commission at no charge to you if you use the code — thank you so much for your support. I’ve been using these palettes since 2018 and I truly love them. Reviews here are my own.

Take the Nature Spots Challenge

Hiking the Bush Mountain Trail at Guadalupe Mountains National Park with my Nature Spot kit ready to go!

Join me for the Nature Spots challenge! It’s super simple: just do a nature spot each day in January and post a picture with hashtag #naturespotchallenge2024  on Instagram, or add yours to the Padlet below.

Here are some ideas to get you going: do the color of the sky each day, tree bark, birds, rocks, landmarks — anything you like! The goal is to spend 5 minutes reconnecting with nature. Hope you’ll join the fun!

Share Your Nature Spots!

If you’re on Instagram, please tag your post with #naturespots2024 so that we can inspire each other.

January 2024 Challenge Nature Spots


Bob Cochran · December 9, 2022 at 4:21 pm

Hi Lisa, oh, this is very interesting. I will tell my friends about Nature Spots. This might also interest some of my family members, especially my sister. A mention in Facebook seems to be in order. When I look at the last slide of the “Peek Inside” sample shown above, I am drawn to your handwriting. I notice what you write, how you are writing it, and how the writing appears. There is plenty of variety in your handwriting — and it is as interesting as the painted spots.

Dr. Jude A. Rathburn · December 11, 2022 at 8:33 pm

Hi Lisa and thanks for sharing this e-booklet. I love the idea of Nature Spots and plan to add it to my nature haiku practice. I am new to watercolor and am interested in your paint color choices, but the link in the ebooklet doesn’t point to any color palettes. Could you share some of your selections? Thanks so much for the inspiration.

    Lisa Spangler · December 12, 2022 at 10:29 am

    Hi Jude! I’ll add it to the core color palette one — great suggestion. I’d love to know more about your haiku practice— I started writing some this summer.

Linda Dailey Paulson · December 27, 2022 at 7:53 pm

Hello Lisa! It’s here! I’ve been anxiously awaiting this e-book since you mentioned it in a video sneak. I, too, am new to watercolor and I’m excited to start on a practice with intention. Consistency has been lacking. Purchased the teeny zigzag book on a whim and am happy I did. Could you also show how you make your own sketchbook for this practice, please, Lisa? Need to get a portable palette made. Very excited to start reading your book, which is what has prompted the reckless use of exclamation points. Thank you! — ldp

Madge · December 27, 2023 at 11:29 pm

Thanks Lisa… for setting this challenge up again… last year was great fun. I did nearly all my naturespots in my studio because it is so cold and wet here in the foothills of the Cascade mountains in January. But it only takes a pebble or a twig to study and not only do a color study and for me one of the most interesting parts is investigating the natural history behind the rock, tree, lichen etc. Fascinating! Again, thank you for hosting! I’m all in!

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