A 30 day challenge is just that, a challenge.
I readily agreed to a 30 day challenge thinking it was going to be easy to do. We were to create small, 8 x 8 in. drawings or paintings and post them once a day. How hard could that be? I would do this first thing in the morning as a warm-up. The goal of this exercise was to experiment.
As it turned out, this is a harder exercise to do than I thought. The first few days were easy enough. I worked through ideas I had been wanting to try. I normally work in an abstract or semi-abstract manner but something happened in the last few months. What was coming out was landscape. The work was abstract-ish but definitely landscape. I surprised myself because I had not worked in a ‘realistic’ manner for years. Why was this coming out?
Landscape was a subject matter that I had touched on and off for years but always just as one tiny element in a larger more abstract format. Every time that I went back to my ‘old’ style, I created a mess so I decided to go with the flow and work this element out of my system. Maybe I could incorporate some of these realistic elements in my abstracts. This challenge would do the trick for me.
The goal became a blending of two loves. I would combine abstract and landscape; abstract landscape. I hate roller coasters and this seemed like one. My landscapes turning abstract. Sounded good at the time and a possibility.
So I started. I started with graphite powder. These happened when I sprinkled the powder on the paper then hosed it down. What was left was an abstract background where I often looked for hidden imagery in the marks. Landscape seemed to come out most of the time. Now I wanted looser, bolder results. Could I do this? I added bits of collage with mixed results. Perseverance is the key, I knew. Make a lot of work and the work would evolve. I kept going. I added watercolour in some then acrylic in others. I splashed paint and I rubbed out the graphite.
I kept telling myself that it was only paper. These bits of paper were just that, bits of paper. One of my past instructors had told us once that ‘Nothing is precious’. You can always redo the work. At the time, I did not believe him. This work was so ‘magical’ to me. Every time that an artist reaches a new level of achievement, he or she hangs on to these new ‘greater’ works for fear of not being able to do it again. The fear goes away. Your work continues to grow. Slowly, you let those first works go. You even realize that they are not that great…anymore. You have moved to a newer level. You have gotten better.
I kept repeating my advice in my head and slowly, I made progress. I added elements that I had not done before and the result was occasionally pleasing to my eye. I made small micro elements of progress towards my goal. Days passed and the pile of paintings grew.
The thirtieth day arrived. I stopped. Looking at the pile, I decided that I would leave the paintings alone for a few days then look at the work more objectively. I kept worrying about my progress or lack of progress. I worked on other projects and time went by. Two weeks later, I looked. Laying out all the work on a large table, I examined the end result. I saw a bit of collage here and acrylic there. This part was good and that part certainly wasn’t. I made a list of the good parts that I liked then picked out my favorite paintings. I put away the others.
Looking at just the work that I considered successful, I made a plan of what I could do with future work. This is what I discovered:
- I kept only about 20% of my exercises from the 30 days.
- I was pleasantly surprised that I had made progress towards my goal of combining the abstract and landscape themes.
- The work took a turn that I had not expected. This is not a negative. The result pleased me.
- Working consistently changed me and my work. I gained confidence in my overall plan. My work surprised me.
Convinced that a challenge is good? Here are some links for you to look at:Why You Should Do an Art Challenge
Have you guys ever done an art challenge? Will created the Draw 50 Things Challenge , it’s a design challenge where you…www.svslearn.comWhy join an art challenge?
We are currently in the middle of a 10-day art challenge in our Facebook group community called The Soulbrush Sessions…www.artiststrong.com
A challenge is a way to grow and change your work. Why not give it a try.
I hope this helps you .
Doris’ website: www.dorischarest.ca
I have creativity courses and art courses online at: https://www.udemy.com/user/dorischarest/
For more information on mixed media by Doris Charest:
All photography and artwork by Doris Charest
Thanks for reading, and please do recommend, like, share, comment, etc. Thanks.
Till next time …
2 Replies to “Creativity in everyday life – A 30 day challenge reflection”
Great post. I love your first artwork posted in this article. Thanks for mentioning Artist Strong and encouraging others to see the benefits of challenges. Another great place for challenges is a community called Kick in the Creatives (I’m not affiliated, just friends). Check them out!
Thanks for the tip. I will look them up.