Committing to a 30-day daily painting challenge was a new adventure for me and one that I had avoided over the years. As I embarked, I knew several lessons would be learned along the way. I could not predict what they would be and I didn’t even try to do engage in guessing. Were there any surprises? Yes there were, and I am glad that I took the journey.
Lessons Learned During My 30-Daily Painting Challenge:
- Buying and prepping all of my canvases before the start date was a smart move. If I had not done this, I doubt I would have painted as many paintings as I did. I describe this in my blog post Prepping for 30 Days of Painting Daily. It made it possible for me to work on several paintings at one time, which I started doing about two and half weeks into the challenge.
- I started out with a style of painting that I wanted to explore and experiment. They are whimsical abstracts. However, I learned that this was too broad of a theme to stay with. In addition, they took several hours a day to complete. If I were to participate in another daily painting challenge, I would identify one or two subjects to paint during the entire challenge. Before I started, I would map out exercises that I wanted to complete. For example: Taking a subject like a simple white coffee mug and painting it in several different color schemes, using different sized brushes, limiting a painting to 30 or 50 brush strokes, trying mixed media, etc. They would be more like studies.
- In choosing the style of painting mentioned above, I was learning or forcing myself to simplify my subjects. I learned that this as easy as I thought they would be, as explained in my post Simplistic Isn’t Easy: A Daily Painting Lesson. I am looking forward to working on these whimsical abstracts in the future ….without the pressure!
- My many years of painting came in handy because I was able to paint quickly and my confidence in my brush strokes was higher than I thought it was before I began this challenge. I needed this facility when I was painting the lines you see in the whimsical abstracts as well as creating various shapes in each painting. This was my favorite surprise and makes me smile. 😀
- Determining my color palette before EACH painting was critical and prevented muddy results. I do this as a regular practice for all of my work because it keeps color decision making easier and efficient. It also facilitates exploring that color scheme at deeper levels.
- Trying to complete a finished painting every day ultimately became exhausting. I was expecting too much of myself and the challenge became less enjoyable and more of chore. The hours I was spending also did not allow for flexibility when important unexpected life events occurred. You can read more about this in my blog post I Ran Into a Wall: The Perils of Daily Painting. Confession: On a couple of days, I finished paintings that I started a couple of weeks earlier.
- I can paint in acrylic! Throughout this daily painting challenge, I only used acrylics. Consequently, my skill with them increased. However, I do prefer my water mixable oils and will return to them or perhaps use them together..
Having participated in this challenge, I now have a greater understanding of what many daily painters have been doing this past decade, continue to do and why. In the future, I can see setting up shorter daily painting challenges specific to skills I want to learn or improve upon. I would create parameters just for myself. I doubt I will take on another 30-day challenge.
What kinds of daily painting challenges have you presented yourself with or participated in? Or perhaps, other daily challenges for writing, meditating, etc? I would love to hear your experiences.
Please share this blog post with others who might enjoy the artistic process.