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.
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???