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.
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.
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?)
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.
They did. I also had fun playing around with the texture. Again, however, the pressure to produce was still there. I completed several and these three are, I think, my most successful. I didn’t have time to think and contemplate what I was doing. Confession – I was also becoming a snarly person.
One of the more difficult challenges, was not being able to be available to friends and family. I was becoming obsessed and overly stressed. It wasn’t worth it.
One night as I was going to sleep, I had a hard talk with myself. I decided that I learned what I needed to learn from this exercise. It was also important to accept/realize that the ‘Painting Police’ were not out there monitoring my progress or lack thereof. 😉
Life’s events, such as a dear friend being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer, were passing me by and I didn’t want to miss them. I couldn’t maintain my business commitments, such as blogging weekly. And everything was becoming a chore….not a way to live. So I stopped painting for a few days and allowed myself to take a deep breath while returning to my world.
I have had the recent opportunity to journal about what I learned and I will share them with you in the coming weeks. By the way, I have no regrets in participating.
To view all of the paintings I completed for this daily painting challenge, please visit my 30-Day Painting Challenge Portfolio. 13 of them are of my “Playful Abstract” style.
If you have participated in a 30-day challenge of any kind, I would love to hear about your insights.
As always, please forward this blog to someone who may enjoy it. Thank you for joining the journey!