Watercolour New Zealand Five Day Painting Challenge

Saturday 3 August to Wednesday 7 August 2019

His event is now over. WNZ challenged members once again to paint for 30 minutes daily for 5 days and share their work on Instagram.

In early August members were challenged to paint for 30 minutes daily for 5 days then share the results on Instagram. Participation was up on last year’s first-time event: 32 artists posted 129 paintings, an increase of 45% in the number of artists and nearly 70% in the number of paintings.

Artists appreciated the opportunity to participate:

Sarah Godfrey @sarah.godfrey.art
“Thank you to @watercolournewzealand for this challenge. It gave me the freedom to just give watercolour a go and see what happens. It has become a new tool for my sketches. What others did in the 30 min time allocation was amazing. There are some very talented watercolour artists out there!
Loved the challenge. Can’t wait to do another 👍 ”

“this has been such a fun challenge, and my art has really benefited from trying a different approach”

Beth heatlie @bethheatlie
“This challenge was a learning curve of planning, preparation and concentration. “

Sharon @pixyminxy “Been having fun times playing with watercolour painting 30 minutes a day for 5 days for #wnzchallenge”

Janey Lovell-Smith @j.lovellsmith_artist “It’s been a delight to take part in this as the idea of fast and loose has always been appealing in this wonderful medium. “

Anya Godwin @anyagodwinartistry "I’ve really enjoyed this challenge and I think I’ll keep it up a few more days."

Kirsty @kirstymfaulkner “So good to be challenged to paint quickly and then move on.”

Judy @judyp583 "I just want to keep painting now thank you wnz for challenge! Judy."

Some of those new to Instagram experienced hiccups with the technology. On the other hand, tech savvy member Neli Chaneva posted time lapse videos showing the process behind her striking 30 minute portraits.

Committee member Hannah Martis did a great job of organising the challenge, which attracted artists from Auckland to Te Anau as well as from overseas.

To view the paintings please explore #wnzchallenge paintings on Instagram Maybe you’ll be motivated to give it a go next year!

Here’s an easy way to keep your brushes wet and colour flowing during a winter week. Encourage friends, family members and co-workers to participate too – there are no prizes, no winners or losers, but pure fun!... and sharing of watercolours.

The “rules” are simple:
  • Do a watercolour painting a day for five days
  • Time yourself: 30 minutes maximum for each painting
  • Photograph or scan and share your painting with others, use #wnzchallenge if post on Instagram


The 30 minutes is for paint application. You can draw and mix colours before starting the timer. Stop on time! You’ll get another chance tomorrow. Paint fast and loose!

How to photograph your painting

Find a place where there is even light, with no direct sunlight or deep shadows.
If you are using a camera: lay your painting flat. Take a stable stance so you can look directly down on the painting. Position the lense above the middle of the painting. Zoom in. Ensure the edges of the paper line up with the edges of the screen, to avoid tapered edges. Hold the camera still while you ‘click’.

If you are using a mobile phone: place the painting vertical – perhaps tack to a wall. Locate the lense on the back of the phone and position opposite the centre of the painting. Hold the phone parallel with the painting to avoid tapered edges. Hold still when you ‘click’. You may wish to use an app e.g Snapseed – to edit. (Snapseed is free and includes a tutorial.)

How to share your painting

You may not wish to share via the internet. Instead, how about sharing your daily paintings with a friendly neighbour or family member, or sending to an artist friend for mutual comment.


We’ll share on Instagram because it will feed directly to the Watercolour New Zealand website and create an instant gallery.

Register for an Instagram account if you don’t have one yet. If you’ve never used Instagram, start by downloading the app. Instagram is available for smartphones, tablets, and computers.
Launch the app, and create an account in one of two ways:
Option 1: Sign up with your email address or phone number, and then enter a username.
Option 2: If you have a Facebook account, you can log in with the same information and link the accounts.

Already have an Instagram account? Just sign in, and start uploading.
Note that images on Instagram are square by default, so you can click the expand arrows or pinch the image in the lower left to fit the whole picture on Instagram.

You can also share a description and some notes.

Important: Please add this hashtag - #wnzchallenge This will ensure your paintigns is featured in the WNZ Five Day Painting Challenge gallery.

If you are photographing your painting on your phone and uploading direct …. Then the above is all your need to know!

Uploading from your desktop PC

Many artists like to use a camera rather than a mobile phone, so they can edit their photograph before sharing it.

Uploading from desktop PC to Instagram works best on Google Chrome.
So, open the Chrome browser and log in to Instagram.

Right click with your mouse and choose 'Inspect', to bring up the Chrome developer window (you can safely ignore gibberish code.) Hit the + icon and you should be able to browse your computer to upload an image. And that’s it!

Watercolour New Zealand Five Day Painting Challenge-2018

Sunday 1st July to Thursday 5th July 2018

This event, held in July 2018, challenged members to paint for 30 minutes daily for 5 days and share their work on Instagram. The idea was to motivate people to paint when winter days might easily be leaving their brushes dry.

We were delighted with the response. 77 paintings were posted, the work of 22 artists, while others painted and shared with friends, rather than online. An exciting aspect was ‘connecting’ members. Catriona from near Manapouri enjoyed seeing paintings by Judy in Rotorua, Jan in St. Arnaud and others across New Zealand. We even had three members participating from the south of France, Ali painting the English summer and Charlotte contributing from China. The technology was testing and many took pride in mastering it. Others hauled in the grandchildren as tech assistants and found they became interested in their grandparents art!

Rob James describes his experience: “First of all, thanks Sue and anyone else who was involved in getting this organised. It was one of the best things I have done all year and very motivational. I can sometimes procrastinate and experience “white fright”, thinking it’s going to be a huge effort to get everything out and get started. This made me grab my basic travelling kit and just do it, whether it was in spare time, lunch break or evening.

The biggest advantage for me is that having a set time limit gives you permission to just start and work naturally, leave mistakes alone and know that anyone who views the painting is aware that you worked quickly. It made you focus on the essential information to convey, rather than fussing over minor details. For me, getting the lights and darks right, using pure unmuddied colours, and having the confidence to be bold and take risks, were what helped produce a painting that wasn’t overly played around with.

Working like this teaches you more than having lots of time to cogitate. In just 5 days my painting
has become less hesitant, more experimental and instinctive. Indirectly, it has also created an interest in painting within my work colleagues, as I did my last painting sitting at my desk while eating my lunch and they have said they would like to give this a try. Thanks, yes, please to doing something similar again.”

The event will certainly be repeated!

Watercolour NZ


Copyright © Watercolour New Zealand Inc. and its contributors. All Rights Reserved.