We are back from an extended Christmas vacation and I’m so very ready to get back in the studio today!! This time away has made me ache for those quiet moments of concentration and the thrill of finishing a painting. I’m not one to make New Year’s resolutions. A year is usually a bit to long for my attention span… but I do love a good short term challenge; something that takes a bit of effort, and is super helpful in training my body/mind to do something well, but has a relatively short timespan. Basically, I’m a good sprinter.
But, lets be honest, you should only be in the struggle of The Challenge for spurts of time. You have to surround these struggles with sweet, sweet moments of rest, followed by long stretches of the gentle progress found in “normal life”.
If I’ve lean red anything over the past year it’s that keeping these three energies in balance is so important to my creativity & energy.
I’ve been enjoying my rest for the past few days. This holiday break has been full of relaxation, delicious food, focusing on loved ones & my little girls, and just resting. These days came after the very busiest months of my entire life and this rest is so, so sweet.
But now, I’m feeling revived and my hands are itching to get busy.
At first, I planned on doing a painting-a-day in January. But that was before thinking through how many days we will be gone in January and how many commissions I already have on the books. SO, my revised (and hopefully more realistic plan) is to complete 30 paintings by the end of February.
I’m not trying to sell these paintings during the process and my only goal is to strengthen my own creative muscles. I feel like I have been painting for others for a few months now, and it’s time to claim back a bit for myself. So, while I still have a few commissions this month and at least 3 trips planned, the rest of the days are allll mine!!
In order to practice a few things for some up-coming projects I’ll be painting mostly landscapes. But, I am going to challenge myself with my color pallet refinement, bending a little more into abstraction, and may even through in a few other subject matter. We’ll see!
I’ve done enough of these painting-a-day challenges to know that not every painting will work. I’m sure I’ll want to hide terrible paintings in my closest forever… But that is what progress is all about. Practice! Knowing which pieces are successful and which can be done better. Why do I expect my hands to wield a brush with the finesse of a concert violinist without first putting in the practice?
I’m going to be sharing the process super openly on Instagram and my Facebook page via the hashtag: #30EJPaintings
So, if you need me, I’ll be in my studio!
PS. If you’re interested in joining a painting-a-day group there is one happening this month! There are hundreds of artists participating; all sharing support and cheering each other on. Check out & join the group here: http://30paintingsin30days.weebly.com/
Photography by Chris Isham
So wise to raise this idea of mini-challenges and gentle progress 🙂 I will use it for sure ! Just what I needed in front of the big challenges, resolutions and so on…that just make me feel…to do nothing at all ,Thank you !
Great post! I love how self-aware you are. Not a lot of people can sense when they need to “reclaim” their craft for themselves, or have a clear sense of reality when setting goals. I think that there’s great humility in knowing when to rest. Happy painting!
Great mini challenge!