Javan tree frog (Rhacophorus margaritifer) & 2023 goals

Javan tree frog

 (Image credit: Kuritafsheen via Getty Images)

image reference:

This is my first painting of 2023, so I have an opportunity to decide how I want to do my painting and art notes this year.

I make art because:

  • it immerses me in the creative process.
  • I spend time in a “flow” state – totally concentrating.
  • It challenges me to improve as skill (mouth painting).
  • I get to find beauty, both in the original image and in my portrayal.
  • I get practice in self-compassion.
  • It’s a quiet environmental activism.

Art notes format

I like the format of inspiration, creation, insights.

When I finish a painting, I’m very critical; I see mistakes I’ve made – ways the painting doesn’t match the photo. That’s only useful if I learn from it to improve my skills.

I don’t think the “first I did this, then that” travelogue is very helpful or enlightening. Creation can be about what bugged me and what I’m happy about. Insights can be about the process as a whole and how this image/critter speaks to the theme.

Goals for this year:

  • ENJOY the process
  • be INSPIRED by the subject
  • MAINTAIN TRANSPARENCY (in the paint)
  • improve SEEING SKILLS


Since this month is about joy, I was looking for a smiling animal. This creature attracted me, not only because of the grin, but also the beautiful colors. (It will be a challenge to capture the coral color.)


it bugs me that:

  • this frog appears to have five limbs. Looking at the photo, it was hard to sort out the arrangement of arms and legs.
  • The frog’s left eye should have been angled differently. Once I made his mark in black, there is no going back.
  • The frog’s body is a bit overworked..

I’m happy about:

  • as I was making snippets, I discovered that the feet really do seem to be sticking on to the log surface.
  • The frog is smiling!
  • I really enjoyed painting the moss under the frog and the background purple. The physical sensation of putting on the paint was a happy one.
  • The photo background is green, but I chose purple on a whim. I’m really glad I did: it’s sets off the frog (and gives me ideas for the future).


  • let go of how I think it oughttabe and enjoy what is.
  • get the animal parts sorted in my mind before I paint.
  • concentrate on the eyes early in the process.
  • Do more of the connected stippling and connected slow scribbles that I used when painting the moss and background.
  • Consider letting go of photo background.
  • Smiles bring smiles.
  • Color is fun!

Posted on

December 19, 2022


  1. Charles Wolfe

    I’m trying to figure out it it’s the frog’s left eye, or the eye on the left side of the painting with which you are not entirely happy.? The eye on the left side of the painting looks more artsy and less anatomically correct, the eye on the right side of the painting looks more anatomically correct…. but that one is the frog’s left eye!?

    (And it doesn’t bother me that they don’t match–sometimes nature looks a bit lopsided, and uneven–at least to my eyes!

    • Kate

      You are right; I wasn’t clear. I think the eye on the right side of the painting (which is the frog’s left eye) should slant so that it mirrors the other eye. I have portrayed a wall-eyed frog and probably there are some. As usual, my perfectionism leaves me with less joy than I would otherwise have. Another lesson from this little frog and you. Thank you!


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