I’m always striving to improve my skills, to be a better artist, so I’d wanted to do the #30daychallenge for a while. This is where an artist posts a painting a day, every day for 30 days. For some reason I decided it would be a good idea to do this in November. It’s a good choice in many ways. It’s a month with 30 days in it – makes remembering the number of painting that you’re on nice and easy. I had no particular deadlines to worry about, my exhibitions were over for the year, and I’d decided to not take part in any craft fairs in 2019, but, well, then I got asked to do a fair or two and I said yes and suddenly things got very busy indeed.
So, as well as posting the art, which, in addition painting them, also included taking photos, (not easy in the low light of November in the Highlands) editing and uploading them, I was also busy making lots of things for local art fairs,
I am also working with West Highland College, UHI to deliver some creative course (more about that soon) the first workshop of which was on the 16th of November at their Auctertyre campus.
Therefore it was definitely more of a struggle than it might have otherwise been. However, despite the additional busyness, it was still a fantastically good experience.
I found that the thing about doing so many paintings is that it didn’t allow me to overthink things. That is a definite problem which I have. I tend to faff about and repaint things and then paintings can become overworked, colours can become muddy and then I can get very frustrated and disheartened. In addition, I had to trust that my skills were now good enough to manage to produce enough paintings to post on a daily basis. Of course, I like some more than others (more about my favourites later) but I there isn’t a single painting that I hate – those ones didn’t make it online at all.
I found that I was less precious about each individual painting. If things started to go wrong, I didn’t try to keep working on it, until I got more and more frustrated and ended up demoralised. I had a daily deadline, I had to do the work and then get it posted.
What I also discovered is that because I wasn’t overthinking it, because I wasn’t taking it too seriously the compositions seemed to come more easily, the brushstrokes seemed to flow and the colours seemed to stay brighter and cleaner.
I also found places that I hadn’t painted before – Applecross for example or the several paintings that I did on the East coast, places that I really hadn’t manage to get to before.
The funny thing is, that for every painting I did there are more ‘cooking away nicely’ in my brain. I have a list of places that I want to go back to and paint “en plein air” next year, and I’ll definitely share my adventures when I do go out and paint more.
I also decided to post all the paintings to my Etsy shop for several reasons. One is that I have a lot of folk who have followed me online and been hugely supportive and helpful, but they can’t come to my exhibitions, so I wanted to do something that they could view, along with everyone else. I posted small paintings to Etsy, so I could manage to make posting free as it’s easy to pop a small painting in an envelope and send it to anywhere in the world. And finally, I chose Etsy because it’s easy to share the page on all my social media platforms.
Over all I think I’m pretty happy with the collection. I like some more than others, though that’s not necessarily anything to do with the finished work (and it’s changed daily throughout the project anyway!). But, I think my three favourites are (in no particular order!)
A. Ben Wyvis from the road to Culbokie – I loved this one, because I lived on the East coast for the first ten years that I lived in the HIghlands. This mountain brings back such fond memories for me and I really liked the composition and the way the pallette came together so well and so easily. (This painting is now sold)
B. Streetlights, Lochcarron – this is a painting I have struggled to do over the years. I have tried on several occassions without success, but this time, because I didn’t have time to overthink, I found that everything just came together. For me this image evokes many memories. The streetlights go on in the evening, it reminds me of winter, of cosiness, of home.
C. On the shore, Applecross – this one sort of painted itself, it just seemed to flow. I’d had a lovely day in Applecross with friends and family and did sketches for several paintings that day, all of which I liked. But this one was the first of the three that I painted and because it seemed to come together quite easily it gave me a boost at the beginning of the #30dayproject.
Thanks for reading