I Ran Into a Wall: The Perils of Daily Painting

Participating in a daily painting challenge for 30 consecutive days is a real challenge. I knew it would be difficult and I wondered if and when ‘The Wall’ would show up.

It did.

Have you ever committed yourself to a daily challenge for anything? …say for 30 days? I have read that a 30-day challenge is an effective way to change our behavior. For example, teachers of meditation often encourage their students to meditate for 30 straight days to help them embed the practice into their daily lives.

I may be going out on a limb here, but I believe that committing to 30 days of daily painting is different from meditating or exercising for 30 days. Why? Because of the time commitment and the problem solving required. The physical and mental demand is fairly high.

About day 10 into this painting challenge, physical exhaustion set in. The continual hours at the easel began wearing me down. Mentally, my brain was starting to turn into mush. My life was also becoming more of a drudgery. This challenge wasn’t enjoyable any more yet I didn’t want to quit!

When I started, I had this intention of expanding on my “Playful Abstracts.” I had been working on these just prior to the 30-day painting challenge.  I had prepared several canvases, as noted in my blog post “Prepping for 30-Days of Painting,” and I was looking forward to pushing myself to explore this different style of painting. Below is one of my favorites. I was liking the results and loved seeing how these paintings made people smile.

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“Tools of Joy!” 14×11 acrylic on canvas, $154.00

During the second week, I was beginning to get a tad desperate for subject matter. Because there is so little time to contemplate while searching for reasonable ideas. I began feeling as if I had to dig further than I wanted to to come up with a concept. In other words, they didn’t just pop up like hot pop corn. (Wouldn’t that be nice?)

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“My First Love,” 8×8 acrylic, $88.00.

One of my finds as I was digging was remembering my joy of sewing. I titled this one “My First Love,” because sewing was the first craft skill that I learned. By age 5, I was operating a sewing machine and creating various things with zippers and fabric. I loved to sew.

These “Playful Abstracts,” were becoming too time consuming and more detailed than I thought they would and I was missing out on important life events. At a crossroads, I decided to return to pure abstract, thinking these would flow more easily.

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I Have Survived the First Week!

The first week of the 30-Day Painting Challenge has passed and I survived it! When I started, I wasn’t sure if I would be able to paint and post a daily painting. So far, so good.

I have decided, at least up to now, to continue to explore my new fanciful or playful painting style. The ideas for subjects has not been a challenge, though I have noticed that I am always thinking of ideas.

These are my postings for the first 8 days of daily painting. Enjoy!

Day 1:

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“Stepping into the Forest,” 12×16 acrylic on canvas, $192.00

Day 2:

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“A Rose in Blue,” 11×14 on canvas, $154.00

Day 3:

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“A Winged Rose,: 11×14 on canvas, $154.00

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Prepping for 30-Days of Painting a Day

Have you heard of those daily painting challenges? It was started by Duane Keiser in 2004. The daily painting movement or “painting a day concept” is the practice of creating a painting a day during a certain time period.

Over the years, I have not paid much attention to these painting a day challenges because it did not suit my style of painting. It also seemed a tad overwhelming and I didn’t feel inspired.

Ta-da, things change! As I continue down my path of S-T-R-E-T-C-H-I-N-G my comfort zone (see previous blogs Abstracting Objects is a Brain Twister and Ever Painted with Only a Palette Knife?), I decided to combine my interest in learning how to abstract objects with this challenge.

A 30-day painting challenge requires thoughtful preparation before taking on the task. Because I really dislike the texture of canvas – I have never liked the mechanical and predictable feel of it – I need to prepare a multitude of canvases with a couple layers of gesso. Fortunately, I had a couple of boxes of small canvases and then I went and purchased more. The sizes run from 8×10, 12×12, 11×14 to 12×16.

painting a dayWith all of my paintings as you can view in my portfolios, whether board or canvas I apply 2-3 coats of gesso to create a subtle texture. Here you can see the canvases lined up ready for action. Painting a dayI like to use a large palette knife to swirl the gesso around. The gesso I prefer has a consistency of yogurt. Other thicknesses or consistencies are available, as well as colors. It is a personal preference.

painting a dayAfter the first layer dries over night, then I apply a second coat. [Read more…]

Abstracting Objects is a Brain Twister

Learning about abstracting objects was the objective of the enlightening workshop I took this past weekend from Annie O’Brien Gonzales , courtesy of Kimberly Conrad’s Gallery.

As you may or may not remember, I am in the mists of an artistic transition; this means that I am exploring different painting techniques. One of them is described in my recent blog post “Painted Outside of Your Box Lately?”. I thought it would be interesting to learn about Annie’s approach to abstracting still lifes because it would be my first abstract workshop.

Up to this point in my painting career, all of my learning about painting abstracts has been self-taught. My abstractions come out of my head while I am in dialogue with the painting. You can view them in my series “Abstracts With Depth.”  I also love to fuse realism with abstractions in my “Windows Into Your Imagination,” but this workshop was a completely different artistic approach to abstraction.

The process for abstracting objects went approximately as follows:

  1. First, a random under painting was applied to cover up the white surface. By the way, I often start my paintings similar to this. Hence, this process was not unfamiliar to me though it was a tad scruffier than I usually do. abstracting objects
  2. Then we identified a still life or photograph for our inspiration. I chose an advertisement from a magazine. abstracting objects
  3. Next I had to decide on the orientation of my 24″x30″ board. I then painted in a very rough composition using line. You can see it in yellow ochre. abstracting objects

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