In case you haven’t heard (have you been living under a rock?!!?), I am doing a 100 day painting challenge. What the hell is this? Well – it is exactly what you think it is – 100 paintings in 100 days. Am I crazy? Maybe. Have I been close to burn out? 100%. Have I been happy with all my work? No absolutely not, I have produced some utter shite. But this challenge is still one the best things I have ever done in my art career.

It’s been a little over one month now, and I have managed to create something every single day so far. Which is literally the most I have ever created in my life.

So you are probably asking why I am doing this?

Well there are a few reasons.

 

Feeling Lost

I was really struggling to motivate myself to paint anything.

A lot of you already know this year has been a tough one for me. I have been living between the UK and Dubai and it has been really hard to settle into a routine . I have had no studio and for the last half of this year, very little motivation to paint anything at all. So I thought if nothing else, a challenge would be good for me mentally and get me back into painting again!

Glow up

This year it was time for a glow up. I spent a lot of last year going on courses, and building my skill set but I really wanted to use this year to grow as an artist. I decided I needed to up my skills, learn new techniques and home in on my voice. And there is literally no other way to do that than to produce and practice.

And it wasn’t just my skill set that I felt needed a glow up. It was other things, like my work ethic, how I was working, my process itself and my overall attitude towards art. 

Community

This challenge was brought to me by one of my “insta pals”. She popped me a message and said, hey me and my girls are doing this and I was in. Being an artist is a REALLY lonely job. So when I get the change to work collaboratively with people I take it.

I also felt that sharing my journey with other artists would help me, be able to help them on theirs.

Giving back

And lastly, and probably the most important reason. My dad. This year my kind, gentle father was diagnosed with a Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. It was a late diagnosis and unfortunately not curable. This news has been devastating for all of us, and I have felt so incredibly helpless since his diagnosis.

But the amazing research that has been done to help fight this disease, has given us the gift of more time with this wonderful man. So I made the decision that I would donate 50% of sales made throughout this challenge to Blood Cancer UK. Because that time we have is so precious, and if that money can give someone else the same gift, then it will be all worth while.

So there you go – that’s my why……but what have I learnt so far?

 

 

Preparation prevents piss poor performance

 

Okay, well firstly painting every day isn’t easy, especially if you aren’t prepared!

About half way through week two of this challenge, I started feeling like it was negatively impacting my life, and I was spending WAY too long on each work – with, well, not the best results.

I’d sit down at my desk in the evenings after work and stare at a blank canvas or piece of paper with no ideas what so ever as to what I wanted to create. Then I’d get frustrated, decide to make myself a cup of tea, and return to my desk feeling even less inspired than before!

After some serious soul searching, I decided that the reason why this was happening was because my process just wasn’t streamlined, and I lacked focus.

So that night, I sat down with my list of prompts and I spent two hours creating sources for the next month. I got all of my paper and canvas ready matching it to each source, and created a mini production line of creativity.

I then set aside days for drawing, and days for painting. Working on multiple paintings every day in focused “deep working” sessions.

Since then my productivity has increased, the quality of my work has improved, and I’ve even finished a painting ahead of schedule! Moral of the story: Preparation prevents piss poor performance!

 

Paint what you love

After 30 days of painting, even with my awesome production line in place, I realised that some days still felt like an uphill battle.

We had been given a list of prompts which I was religiously sticking to, but the problem was, some of these prompts were just not speaking to me. I was really struggling to get inspiration from the words written in front of me, which in turn was leading me to hate the pieces I was creating.

Whilst the prompts had started as a great way to get me focused, they were now becoming a barrier that I was struggling to overcome.

So I decided to use the prompt list a little more loosely. Instead I chose to focus more on the prompts that really got my creative juices flowing and drop the ones that just didn’t do anything for me. I created my own new prompts, and mixed up the order in which I started picking them up. This removed this barrier, and I began working harder on the works that I was creating, resulting in better art.

Experiment

I have said it before and I will say it again experimenting is the fastest way to learn new skills. The more you experiment, the better you will get at your craft.

So far during this challenge I have made some of my most successful paintings, but also some of my worst! And that is great – it means I am pushing myself and trying new things.

The beautiful thing about art (especially with painting) is that it is so forgiving. If you make a mistake, or the end result just isn’t what you wanted, you can always paint over it!

I have learnt so much about myself and my art during this challenge, and I can only imagine how much more I will learn by the end of it. I would highly recommend any artist looking to improve does this challenge, go out there and experiment, and see what you can create!

Head to my shop if you would like to purchase any of the works from this challenge.

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