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.
With 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. I 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.
Over the years, I have developed my signature texture, much like everyone has there own unique writing style. I want it to be organic and slightly texturized. In other words, not too bumpy. Notice in the photo below that I also avoid any straight edges; this takes some finesse because the palette knife loves to make straight lines/edges.Another overnight drying and these 20+ canvases as seen below, are ready for their first layers of paint!
For those who might be interested, it took 5 hours to apply two layers of gesso, in addition there is the drying time. Each canvas has a lovely organic texture just as I like it. 🙂 By the way, most artists I know who prepare their canvases do so differently. They like a smooth surface, which requires a different stroke with the palette knife or brush. They then sand the gesso in between the layers to achieve a silky smooth surface.
The BIG question is: What will I paint? Lots of ideas running through my head. Fortunately, I have a stock pile of references as well. At the moment, the painting a day challenge feels daunting and intimidating. I remind myself that I know there will be some valuable learning along the way. (It’s even a risk telling you about it before it starts, but that seems to be my M.O. these days.)
The 30-Day Painting Challenge begins next week on September 1st. It is sponsored and lead by artist Leslie Saeta. Bookmark her blog URL to join in on the fun. I believe there are over 800 artists worldwide participating. Whew! I bet you will see some knockout paintings!
Wish me luck! This will be a very interesting ride.
And, if I am not already pushing the envelope enough, I wanted to mention to you that I will be attending the Good Life Project Summer Camp for the first time. It is a summer camp for adults only and reportedly transforming. Nervous and excited. As you read this, I am on the airplane to upstate New York for three days.
What else is in store for me? What are you doing to push your comfort zones?
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