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Old 03-30-2013, 10:07 AM
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April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

To quote Pink Floyd from their Dark Side of the Moon CD "I know I am mad, I've always been mad."

Welcome to "April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge"
I know what I'm about to ask you to do is pure MADNESS, but it's all for fun and learning.

As some of you know, Iíve been trying to paint every day. Since I am hosting this monthís art challenge, I thought it would be fun to have one month, just 30 days, of painting everyday for an art challenge. The benefits of this are many, and I will go into them shortly.

First let us talk about size. I would suggest no smaller than an ACEO which is 2.5Ē x 3.5Ē and no larger than a 12Ē x 16Ē. My ideal size is 4x5Ē to 8x10Ē. I use Fredrickís Pre-gessoed canvas that I buy in a pad of 10 canvases. If I buy a 12x16Ē I cut a page into 4 each 6Ē x 8Ē, or I use my 16Ē x 20Ē pad and either cut them into 16 each 4Ē x 5Ē or 4 each 8Ē x 10Ē. I tape them to foam core boards with blue masking tape. I can put more than one 4x5Ē on a piece of board. You can use watercolor paper, or just gessoed board. Whatever you want to paint on or medium you want to paint with is fine. Youíre the artist, you decide. I find I will spend as much time with an ACEO as I will with a 4x5. The small size becomes a challenge, and you end up using smaller brushes, so you don't really save much time.

I realize this is a MAJOR time commitment so Iím not going to be upset with anyone if they donít succeed in painting 30 paintings this month. I know I will not be able to, Iíve got WAY too many irons in the fire (trying to get a photography business up and running doesnít leave me hardly any time to paint, not to mention working 40+ hours/ week, and trying to help my wife get the garden ready, and clean up the yard from all the damage from the snows weíve had, and then there is always posting on WC .)

If you paint fast, use a small canvas, and pick a simple subject, you should be able to paint a small painting in 30 minutes to 1 hour. TIP: Use LARGE brushes! Landscapes can be painted in 30 to 45 minutes, add a person or animal and the time goes up another 30 minutes.

Now what are the advantages of painting small? Iím SOOO glad you asked. This is from an article ďHow I Became Successful Selling Art OnlineĒ by Carol Marine, that was published in the Feb/Marsh 2013 Professional Artist magazine on Page 14 - 15. Carol says (and I have found this true in my life)
"1) Less Emotionally Involved.
2) More Inspired to Experiment
3) Quick Growth
4) Less Fear
5) More Enjoyment of the Process
6) More Confidence
7) Less Tedious
8) More StructureĒ
She explains more on each of these points. If you have a question about one, just ask and Iíll be happy to share my experience with you.
Briefly Ė if you think the painting is a failure, so what! Youíve only got a few cents in the canvas and 60 minutes of time, youíve learned, take what youíve learned and paint it again tomorrow and make a few changes to it and see if youíve fixed the problem. If not, thatís okay, try again until you get the way you see it in your mind. That is where the experimenting comes in. Try new brush strokes, add a sunset, change the composition, or improve the eye flow. By doing this, you will grow as an artist, a lot faster than you would painting 30 each 30x40Ē paintings (Think of the time and cost for each one of those, and what if it turns into a stinker?). By the end of 30 days, you will be painting faster, and since youíve learned, you will have more confidence. You will develop your process for painting a painting, and this can and will be carried over to larger paintings. Less tedious, because with a BIG canvas, sometimes you have a larger area and you have to make it interesting, even though itís all sky or green grass land. Structure Ė hopefully you will be able to set aside the same time every day to paint, that provides structure. You will get to the point where youíre looking forward to that 30 minute time of the day when you get to sit down and paint. Painting at the same time of day, has its own rewards.

Now on to the Challenge:
1) Pick 30 images from anywhere. These are just for practice, so you can copy your favorite artist, or use photos in a magazine, your own photos, WCís great IRL, your imagination, or a compilation of photos, but the main thing is to find 30 images. If you think youíll only get 15 done, and then find that many, a few extra just in case, or you change your mind about one of them. Since this is a Southwest /Western forum, the subject should be along that theme. Horses, chickens, cows, cowboys/ girls, farms, ranches, Western wildlife, scenes, the list goes on. I am not putting up any images, because it would be impossible for me to find 30 images that everyone WANTS to paint, so that is why you get to pick your own, and then share your reference and paintings with us.
2) Decide what youíre going to paint on, canvas, paper, board, and get them ready.
3) Every day (IF possible) paint one painting. If you one day you have a wedding to go to, and wont have time that day to paint, but you have time to paint two on another day, that is fine.
I know this is a break from the traditional Monthly Challenge, but I think if you will accept this challenge, you will see benefits in your personal growth in as little as 30 days. The more you paint, the more you grow.

Please share your goal, when you sign up, for how many paintings you plan to accomplish this month ( back to that structure thing).

I hope you enjoy this challenge, and I look forward to seeing all your paintings, and how much you grow over the month.
Donald
PS: I'm shooting for only 8 paintings. I would love to try for 30 but I still have to get my TAXES done! Why can't we go to just a straight sales tax and be done with it???
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Old 03-30-2013, 01:30 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Great idea, Don! I doubt I'll be able to do anywhere near 30, but I think 15 is doable . I'll be out of town for a week but it's to paint, so if I can count those it should work.
Yup - goin' to Taos. Meeting up w 5-6 other painters, staying in a house that Michael Chesley Johnson has arranged. My sister Tara (Flanagan in these parts) will be there too. Should be a fantastic time.
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Old 03-30-2013, 03:15 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

What a tremendous challenge and a wonderful idea, Donald! I'd forgotten about your idea for this challenge. Whew! Between my scratchboard, some sculptures I need to make, and spring, it may be a challenge, but I'm going to try for at least 8 to 10 paintings if I can. You realize how interesting this challenge will be for me, as I love little details. It might be healthy for me to try this! Thank you for hosting this challenge. I look forward to seeing all the wonderful paintings everyone churns out. Good luck everyone! This sounds like National Novel Writing Month - 50,000 words in 30 days! Only this time it's painting.
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:25 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Good idea, Don! I'm in - I'll try for 15. (I'll actually try for 30, but it will probably be more like 15 since I'll be also working on some larger studio pieces that will take time.)
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Old 03-30-2013, 04:42 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Great challenge, I will try for 10+ and see how it goes. Friend visiting for a week, baseball and laziness will interfere! Thanks, Donald.
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Old 03-30-2013, 07:35 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Linda, nothing says you can't paint outside your studio. Do them all plein air and I will be happy, or mix and match some out some inside. What ever gets your artist's juices flowing, and the paint on your chosen surface.

Jenna, Welcome aboard! I'm glad I'm not the only one taking up this challenge. I keep hopeing someone will have the time to try for 30.

John, Thank you for signing up! I look forward to seeing what comes off your easel.

Jo - It's my pleasure to give back to WC. I've been here for 9 years. Hosting a challenge is the least I can do for all the great advice and friends I've made over the years.

Donald
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:38 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

I hope I can join in. I don't know how many I'll be able to do with everything else going on, but maybe by trying one a day, it will force me to loosen up a little. I seem to get bogged down in little details and never satisfied with what I produce. Thanks for the challenge. I have enjoyed your dailies!
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Old 03-30-2013, 08:47 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Yes, this is pure madness indeed! I was never able to do 30 paintings/month. I got stuck early in the process when I tried last time!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Donald_Smith
Since this is a Southwest /Western forum, the subject should be along that theme. Horses, chickens, cows, cowboys/ girls, farms, ranches, Western wildlife, scenes, the list goes on.
I can't do people or animals. Plein air won't do it since I'm far away. How about plants, vegetables and fruit that grow in south-west? Could someone give a small list of fruit what grow there? Ok, all kind of cactus surely. How about pumpkins? What else? In March challenge there was a pine cone reference. Could we invent objects/ref.photos like that? Pine cones are everywhere and surely in west. How about other still life objects? How to find still life photos in the image ref. library for this purpose?

Oh, I had many questions but the challenge is interesting..

Not sure yet if I participate because I will have difficulty to find photos since I don't live in the zone but will give it a thought. If I decide 'yes' I will try to paint 1 painting/day or at least 5/week. Im still thinking ..
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Old 03-30-2013, 09:42 PM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Cinda - Thanks for joining in the fun!

Moscatel - Personally, I don't care where you get your reference photos. I barely live in the west, Missouri was the Gateway to the West. A google search, then click on Images may give you what you're looking for. Saddles, bridles and reigns, cowboy boots and hats, six guns, repeating rifles are some other suggestions.

Donald
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Old 03-31-2013, 05:54 AM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Thanks, Donald. I think I have found now reference material. This will be interesting!
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:33 AM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Quote:
Originally Posted by moscatel
Thanks, Donald. I think I have found now reference material. This will be interesting!

There is also the image reference library here on wetcanvas- you should find some useful images there...
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:42 AM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

And i should've put this all in one post, sorry.
Moscatel, if you are thinking still life subjects for southwest, then pottery is a good subject- any native american art form- mocassins, blankets, rugs, baskets, pots, jewelry, also cowboy hats, boots, horse tack- saddles, bridles, blankets, bits, horseshoes, old rustic campfire cookpots, dried corn, tractors, wagons, fenceposts, gates, so many simple subjects! Barn doors! Rustic chairs!


Im sitting here listening to a pack of coyotes howling not too far from here. Good thing the chickens are locked up tight.
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Old 03-31-2013, 06:53 AM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Moscatel - Great! i look forward to seeing your artwork.
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Old 04-01-2013, 02:24 AM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

This oughta be fun to watch, she said, standing safely on the sidelines......

Deb
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Old 04-01-2013, 09:45 AM
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Re: April Artistís Madness Monthly Challenge

Thanks Donald.

I will try for 2, 5 x 7's, a week.
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