45" x 30"
Learn how to paint this painting in my 2016 January online abstract class!
In case you missed it, three years ago I decided that I needed to paint more. So I decided to challenge myself to paint thirty paintings in 30 days in January of 2013. I happened to mention that I was going to do this on my weekly radio show Artists Helping Artists. The next thing I know there were hundreds of artists doing the challenge with me. Which, by the way, is really cool.
Since this is my seventh 30 in 30 Challenge (I host it every January and September) I thought I would pass on a few tips about how one can manage to paint thirty paintings in thirty days and still remain sane, in a relationship and happy.
First off, you need to know the challenge changed my painting career. I learn more during these months than any other time of the year. It forces you to become organized, focused, driven and productive. It's hard but it's the best thing I have ever done. And here are my survival tips.
1. Pick a theme. The reason you want a theme is it keeps you more focused. My best theme by far was "Thirty Things You Don't Know About Me". That year I had every painting planned out before the month even started. I even had ten of my blog posts written before the Challenge started.
2. Get organized. You need supplies and you need to know what you are going to paint, at least a week in advance. If you walk in to your studio with no clue on day one then you will be in trouble. Make sure you have canvas, paint, wet wipes, brushes, palette knives, paper towels, etc.
3. Cheat. I know you are thinking, WHAT???? The purpose of the Challenge is to paint. That doesn't mean you can only paint one painting a day from the 1st to the 30th day of the month. Life gets in the way. So if you have to start early or paint more than one painting a day then do it. It doesn't matter. And if you miss a day it is not the end of the challenge. No one cares. (And you are the only one who will even notice.) Last September my teaching schedule required that I would be home only five days in the entire month. Since I was painting large abstracts the entire time I painted at least half of my paintings the last 15 days in August. I had no choice and it worked out just fine. (I did paint the rest of my paintings while traveling in what I referred to as my "traveling studios". The most interesting location was painting in the alleyway behind my son's apartment in Washington DC.)
4. Don't completely ignore your loved ones. You are going to be really busy for the entire month. And a few things will have to suffer. The first things are usually cleaning and cooking dinner. I get emails all month long about this. But the good news? I can't tell you how many artists have written me that the 30 in 30 changed their lives because their spouses started cooking dinner and helping pick up the slack. One artist in particular mentioned that her husband had finally learned how to load the dishwasher. So this could be a really good thing.
5. Don't give up. I think the first few days are tough for those who have trouble uploading their photos on my blog. Sadly a few quit the challenge at that point. It drives me crazy because the challenge is about painting and not uploading. You will get the hang of it within the first few days so hang in there. The Challenge gets hardest at about Day 17. The novelty has worn off, you are tired and you start to ask yourself why in the heck you are doing this. The good news is that you have already developed a lot of great habits, you have become more focused and painting everyday is a lot easier. I think the biggest reason people don't stay with the challenge is when unexpected things get in the way. If you miss a day then just paint the next day. If you know in advance you are going to miss a day then paint ahead. Just hang with it because you will be very glad you did on January 31st.
6. Be realistic. Don't take on paintings that are too complicated or too large. Keep it simple. Paint thirty studies. Paint thirty really small paintings.
7. Hang in there. Remind yourself everyday that this is a great thing you are doing. And realize that things like frustration, lack of confidence and doubt are totally normal.
8. Try something new. This is a perfect time to try new things. Try a new medium or new subject matter or pick up a new tool (like a palette knife). Then try something else a few days later.
9. Tell the world what you are doing. Painting thirty paintings in 30 days is cool. So you need to talk about it on social media and your blog (if you have one). Post your paintings everyday. Create some hype. You will be happy with the results.
10. Have fun. This challenge is all about having fun. So don't forget to laugh and enjoy the journey. That's what art is all about!
Mom. Wife. Artist. Marketer. Teacher. Radio Show Host.
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