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Reflection: 30 Paintings in 30 Days

It has been one week since I completed the 30 day painting journey.

30 paintings in the 30 days. Phew!

Honestly, this is difficult for me to say, but I am proud of myself.
I am proud of myself for creating 30 brand new paintings that I LOVE admiring. 
To me, each one is incredibly special. 

This journey took dedication, consistency, and inspiration. For those of you who have taken on any time constrained journey, understands the mental preparations that are involved. Before September 1st, I planned out a plethora of guidelines for myself. For anyone who is thinking about beginning any type of 30 day journey I recommend at least two weeks of preparation – preferably a month. The more you understand exactly what you are setting out to accomplish in your given time frame, the easier it is to wake up every morning and continue! 

                                     
      “The Simple Things,” oil on canvas, 7″h, 5″w                                        “Imminent Ideas,” oil on canvas, 10″h, 8″w 

One of the first actions I took was a decision on the language I would use about these 30 days. I intentionally spoke of this as a journey instead of a challenge. Language is important and I wanted this to be something that could organically grow for myself and for anyone who cared to listen! A journey to me is something you learn from, contemplate. A challenge is something you wake up every morning wanting to complete that may be difficult for you, but an accomplishment in its own right. While there is absolutely nothing wrong a challenge, I wanted this experience to be more, for me consistency can be a challenge but, the act of painting, creating my abstract artwork, this is something I enjoy. Painting literally brings me joy. The process has never been a challenge for me. In fact, I believe a real challenge would be NOT creating 30 paintings in 30 days. That genuinely might be impossible for me. Painting, creating, it runs through my bones. So, the combination of something that could be a slight challenge (consistency) tied with something I love (painting) led me to a journey. 

To set myself up for success and aid in the unfortunate event of painter’s block (is that a thing? I think so!), I created color palettes for each week of this journey. This was something new for me. I am notoriously, not a planner when it comes to my artwork, but I have truly enjoyed creating, mixing, and working with a predetermined set of colours. I enjoyed this so much, I think this is how I am going to begin paintings and collections from now on. 

Intentionality is everything. <— this may be my biggest takeaway from this journey. 

 

                                    

Once I gave myself the guidelines of a colour palette and determined I would only painting on three different sized canvases the possibilities began to feel endless. Instead of feeling constrained and controlled the more I worked with one colour palette the more I kept going “well, what if for the next one I use these colours…” OR “what if I use this brushstroke with these colours”. I began a process of exploration that I have never given myself before. Each painting led to the next, which led to the next, because each painting bred a new idea. It. was. wonderful. 

On the flipside, while everything I just said is completely true. That does not mean that there were not some hard moments. I am not going to lie, posting a painting on my website, newsletter, and social media interfaces became exhausting. I was almost always on my phone or laptop. By Day 20, I was a bit burnt out from the hustle of it all. So, you know what I did? I took a day off. What?! Yep. I painted two paintings in one day, the diptych “Curious Discovery No. 1 & No. 2”. This allowed me one day out of the whole month where I did not have to paint, to post, or to write. This act was extremely difficult for me to succumb to because I am an all or nothing thinker. Taking a day off within the 30 day journey felt like I was cheating and lying to all of you. But, you know what happened? I rested and I came back ready to take on the last 10 days of the journey.

“Curious Discovery No. 1 & No. 2”, oil on canvas, 10″h, 8″w (each).

These 30 days have shown me more than what I can accomplish with a paintbrush, a palette knife, colour, and a canvas. This journey has shown me how much I value my work and my process. It allowed me the time to contemplate how I wanted my paintings to feel. Lastly, it gave me a brand new set of tools to become an even better artist. 

If you are beginning a 30 day journey in any aspect of your life, artist or not, I wish you love, consistency, and the willingness to learn. 

Your Embracer, 

Dani

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