The Dancing Brush • one of my favorite brushes in the world!

It all started in 2010 at a demo, when artist Peter John Reid handed me a unique, crazy extra long rigger brush, that he though would lend well to what I was painting at the time. It was obvious I had way too much fun painting with this brush, and with a gentle smile, Peter so generously gifted it to me. From there on in, this special brush has become an exceptional tool in my work.


Almost every artist I demonstrate this brush to has wanted it and asked for the source. Back then, I had saved a link for the original one, but since the brand is now obsolete *sorry!* the good news I have found that DaVinci makes a very, very similar brush! The biggest differences are the tiny handle and more bulk from the belly to the tip (which has more of a point), yet the bristle length is the same (55mm long) made of synthetic filament (imitation Squirrel hair) and has results that are similar enough to make me *squee* with joy while using it!
DaVinci Short Stroke Brush, pointed tip | Series 706
This brush allows me to ‘let go’. You can of course us it to effortlessly create perfect, pin-stripe lines – but with jiggles and wiggles (think, a jazzy groove!), it adds playful abstraction with unpredictable variegated lines and peculiar, out of the blue dashes!
It is available on – although not cheap (DaVinci is a high end brand), it is worth every penny if you keep it in your usual brush kit, reach for it often, and take care of it.

Here are some examples/inspiration for you, or works that benefited from The Dancing Brush!
Enjoy xo
The dancing brush was used to create impression of foliage 'scribbles'

The dancing brush was used to create impression of foliage ‘scribbles’

The Dancing Brush was used with the Interference Gold accents in the background.

The Dancing Brush was used with the Interference Gold accents in the background. Subtle, nice touch🙂

The Dancing Brush is THE BEST for pin stripes!

The Dancing Brush is THE BEST for pin stripes!

Many elements of this mixed media piece were created using The Dancing Brush, from gestural scribbles, to dots!

Many elements of this mixed media piece were created using The Dancing Brush, from gestural scribbles, lines to dots!


Using The Dancing Brush with Interference Turquoise, this piece came alive!

Using The Dancing Brush with Interference Turquoise, this piece came alive!



Courage + Experimentation = Evolution!

tree drawing_process


Almost a year ago, I started a drawing of trees on a wooden panel, and after 48 weeks of abandonment, I just mustered up the courage to experiment on it – and I’m super excited with the result! For as long as I can remember, I’ve drawn trees without leaves. Perhaps it was simply a love of simplicity, or a fear of layering or losing the intricate structure of the drawing (where shapes eliminate precious linework), but any of those reasons no longer serve me now… I have an itch to let go – to trust & be creatively reckless – to evolve! Cheers to the courage to create!

Magical Mandalas • art class

Magical Mandalas Art Class


If you love mandalas and meditative art forms, you will love this drawing class! Delve into the ancient art of self-expression to create your own personal Mandala, and explore the sacred circle of symbols and patterns – so beautiful and easy to create – no previous art experience required!

The very act of creating a mandala can lead us to many blessings, such as the experience of wholeness and inner clarity and possibilities! The artistic process embraces the joy of colour and imaginative mark making, and with the guidance of artist & instructor Sharlena Wood, you will have a finished piece of art to hang on your own wall!

All materials will be provided. Options for prints & framing your Mandalas for any occasion will also be available through Great Spirit

Date • Wed Dec 9th 2015
Time • 6:30pm – 9:30pm
Where • RAWspace – 270 Carlaw Ave #102, Toronto ON
Cost • $55 per person – All materials will be provided.
Max 8 people • Space is limited ~ sign up today!

Email to sign up
Website •

My favorite art materials!

A reference for artists taking Painting Wildlife: Acrylic Mixed Media and Drawing Wild Animals on

The Magic of Mixed Media • Phoenix Process



Learn more about this process in Craftsy’s online class – PAINTING WILDLIFE: ACRYLIC MIXED MEDIA

Whisky Comparison

Another commission request for two portraits. Unless I’m on a path to certain insanity, my hope is that after years of drawing pets, I’m getting better. Even more so, that drawing the same reference twice, is actually the key to keeping fresh and growing in my own style. The second one always seems better…. but who’s comparing?🙂

Two portraits of Whiskey

Two portraits of Whiskey


PanPastel Colors​ just launched a wicked giveaway for three Drawing Wild Animals classes + PanPastel product kit! Check out PanPastel’s post.

I am also gifting a free link for my treasured online art class, DRAWING WILD ANIMALS! (class description at the end of this post)

Drawing Wild Animals

Simplify the steps for drawing iconic animals. Depict wild animals with true-to-life proportions, dimension, textures and features.

How to enter?

  1. Make sure you are signed up to my mailing list
  2. Caption the below photos or SHARE this with your friends 
    I will randomly draw a winner on Wednesday, and will share a funny, behind the scenes treat for mailing list peeps! So please SHARE – even if you are on the mailing list and/or already enrolled in the class xoxoxo love light
Sharlena 'Behind the Scenes' of Drawing Wild Animals #1

Sharlena ‘Behind the Scenes’ of Drawing Wild Animals

Sharlena 'Behind the Scenes' of Drawing Wild Animals #2

Sharlena ‘Behind the Scenes’ of Drawing Wild Animals

Sharlena 'Behind the Scenes' of Drawing Wild Animals

Sharlena ‘Behind the Scenes’ of Drawing Wild Animals #3

Drawing Wild Animals

Online class @ (<——this is a $20 off link to buy the class!). Learn how to draw wild animals with dramatic detail and dynamic depth alongside artist Sharlena Wood. You’ll get step-by-step guidance for depicting three beloved animals in black and white: the elephant, the panda and the leopard. Throughout class, Sharlena will teach you to work with PanPastel and charcoal — mediums that make vivid animal portraits easier and faster to draw. Start by blocking in your animal’s main shapes and get tips for drawing them with accurate form and proportion. Move on to rendering value shifts with confidence to create drawings with remarkable dimension. Then, bring your work to life as you find out how to accurately draw animal skin, fur, spots, eyes and more. Discover new techniques and mediums as you draw powerful portraits of these amazing animals.

The Craftsy guarantee

•7 HD video lessons with anytime, anywhere access
•Class materials, including supply lists and beautiful reference photos
•Hours of close-up instruction
•Answers from Sharlena in virtual classroom
•Watch classes on your own schedule: wherever, whenever you want.
•Your access never expires.
•100% money back guarantee.

Sharlena Wood creating in the Craftsy Studio

Sharlena Wood creating in the Craftsy Studio


Travel Savvy with Acrylic Paint

Hong Kong Cruise Port
Hong Kong Cruise Port

A recent trip from Toronto, Canada to South East Asia was an amazing experience in many ways, and I learned a lot, primarily in regards to travelling with all my art gear.

It was a business trip and I was scheduled to lead 3 x collaborative painting events on a cruise ship. I have packed for and performed these event experiences dozens of times, but in Canada – not internationally. So for many reasons, I had to prepare in a completely different way which included having a Plan B back up just in case my paint was confiscated or my luggage was lost.

The Overview

International Transportation Act Letter + MSDS [Material Safety Data Sheet] paperwork clearly on top of paints that are in airtight ziplock bags and packed in checked baggage.

The Research

The most helpful part of my search was calling manufacturers and artists who I know have travelled to different countries. The general advice was you should have no problems if you have MSDS paperwork on top of paints packed in an airtight ziplock bag, all in your checked luggage. The best discovery is that Golden Artist Paints has an Air Transport Document designed just for these situations. 

Of course, there are no guarantees. Artists paints are in a grey zone for Air Transport carries and security since most of the rules are vague, out of date and sometimes confusing as to what is allowed, restricted or prohibited. For example: On Air Canada’s website, there is a section about paint, but no mention of acrylic paint. It states that Tubes of oil-based and latex paint used by artists are accepted provided the material is packaged in absorbent material and placed in a heavy, plastic leak-proof bag/container.  

Some art material manufacturers recommend calling the airline in advance to verify their policies, so I called Cathay Pacific and a baggage representative explained that paint is acceptable only if it is identified as non-flammable directly on the label, even with an MSDS. Acrylic paint is not flammable, but there is no label on any brand tubes to state this … it’s on the MSDS though. So his response was distressing, albeit understandably on the side of caution and their black and white rules; yet there is no reason not to accept MSDS sheets as that is what they are for. It’s funny now, as in the end I had no problems with Cathay Pacific at all – in fact, they were fantastic! I wouldn’t recommend a call to the airline though … unless the rep on the other end is an artist, it will probably be a moot waste of time. 

example for packing acrylic paint for travel

example for packing acrylic paint for travel

The Trip

So, how did my trip go? Well with all this great advice and information, I felt like a savvy artist traveller by the time I flew out. I had done all I could do on my end, even had a Plan B just in case things went south. Once I got to the airport, I knew it was all up to the Art Gods!🙂

I’m happy to say, my bag was checked without any questions (labeled as fragile which I appreciated, and cleared that x-ray security thing both ways) and it was all smooth sailing!

All you need to know

  • All paint manufacturers provide MSDS for each specific paint line. Find it on their website or ask your local art store for it. Here is the Golden Artist Colours link. Download and print two copies.
  • Golden Artist Paints has an awesome certified document for travel! Download this Air Transport Statement and print two copies.
  • Pack a copy of each above document with your paint, and include a copy in your carry-on luggage with all of your flight info.
  • Do the same with business cards if you got ’em, and any letter of art related business such as registration for art classes, tours, meetings, lectures or demonstrations during your trip. Too much info is better than not enough.
  • Heavy Body vs Fluid Acrylic = as long as the caps close well it does not matter and should be decided based on personal preference. 
  • Remember that professional quality artist paint is packed with pigment and a little goes a long way. Limit your palette by choosing colours you can mix, then add in your essentials and favorite single pigment colours you can’t live without🙂
  • Pack paint, mediums, brush cleaner etc (anything that could leak) in a large, freezer size zip lock bag. Don’t overstuff. Use multiple bags if necessary.
  • If possible, pack all materials neatly in an organized and professional bag, case, Artbin etc. 
  • Bring used paint that is obvious it is personal to avoid paying duty taxes on new goods that might be re-sold.
  • Use clear, plain and simple words to explain your materials if you are asked to. It is best not use internal art speak – even the word paint is a buzz word! Alternatives: tools required for an art class/for drawing pictures, personal supplies, non-toxic, non-flammable, water-soluble colour that kids can use… etc
  • Be confident in yourself as an artist and take the time to know your materials so you can speak wisely, and with conviction. 

Plan B

Before I travelled, I sourced an Art Store at the destination that would have been able to serve 100% of my supply list if my luggage was lost. Popular name brands/manufacturers have International retail locations listed on their website. Always check that first, as it is much easier than to google for stores in places you have never been. Even with a list of retailers, it took me awhile, but I did find a store in Hong Kong that was close enough to my hotel, with a selection of paint, brushes, easel, canvas etc.

Travel Bag

After a lot of searching, I found a Burton Snowboarding bag (156cm) that fit perfectly for my gear! I needed a bag large enough for my easel, rolled canvas, tripod, other materials and equipment. I was delighted – it was reasonably priced and within size allowances. I also kept it under the weight restrictions to avoid paying any extra for oversize/overweight – surprisingly, I fit a Stanrite 500 easel, a tupperware container filled with paint, a bag filled with dozens of brushes, rags, and extras such as canvas pliers and tape and it was under 20 kg.

Creative Alternatives

Naturally, artists think out of the box, so I believe there must be other possibilities in what seems to be a limited International game. For example, as a professional artist with a business, I may look into designing my own label for my own packaged paint and containers, or I may re-fill and re-use the Golden containers and jars I bought for this trip so the packaging matches the Air Transport Document until more paint companies can offer this letter officially.


Thanks for reading – I love sharing, and wanted to post all the tips and advice passed on to me. In the spirit of art community collaboration – please share in the comments your own experiences, research, advice, alternatives, tips and any questions – this is an ongoing learning experience for all artists, and the more information we all have and post online, the better. love light xo

ps.  but what really matters are the collaborative paintings created on this awesome trip :) 

Shared Palette Collaborations • Celebrity Century President's Cruise Asia 2015

Shared Palette Collaborations

Shared Palette Collaborations

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