Today marks the official end of my 30-days of painting challenge even if in fact I did 26 days in a row. I was inspired by Meredith C. Bullock who started the #DailyBraveryPaintings hashtag on Instagram when she was seeking to paint everyday and also wanted to share her work for sale directly on IG.
I set up a 30 days goal to start, no even knowing if I would last more than a couple of days but I did pretty well considering the many other things that came up during the same time. Here are a few reflections about that interesting challenge...
1. To be (inspired) or not to be, that is (not) the question
I never questionned myself, because even if some days I didn't feel like it at all, even if I was uninspired, tired, bored, upset, I had to dip that brush in the paint and go for it.
2. Practice makes perfect (or a least better)
I thought a lot about my musician brother during that month. He's an internationally renowned horn player. He's been practicing basically everyday of his life since he started playing french horn at 9 years old (he is now 40). To become a better horn player, swimmer, cook, golfer, hiker, pianist, you need to practice. To become a better artist? Practice. Which led me to the following realization:
3. The more I paint, the more I paint.
I tend to start a lot of paintings at the same time because of my layering method. I work on many paintings at the same time and start new ones when I'm stuck with my work in progress. I was afraid I would end up having too many unfinished pieces... As expected, I started a lot of new work but I also surprisingly completed a lot of paintings. I noticed that the more I paint, the more/the longer I want to paint which always lead to more finished work.
4. Just a little further... Just a little further...
Everyday I had to push myself a little to find new ideas. I didn't want to repeat the same thing over and over for the sake of quickly getting things done. All my finished paintings were different and even if some ideas were not the best, I ended up painting some new, interesting stuff like a teapot, a lantern, some coffee cups and the Holy Kaaba.
5. Conquering the fear
As Meredith said: "Little did I know that sharing a painting for sale everyday would be the thing that challenged my bravery the most." Even if I wasn't able to offer a painting for sale everyday because I couldn't always finish one, it was really scary to do so when one was completed. I was afraid to scare away my followers or that trying to sell directly would be seen as inappropriate or perceived as sales pressure... But I did it anyway, I didn't loose more followers than I usually do and I sold a painting!
After 26 days I was creatively kinda drained and felt like the lemon was oversqueezed so I decided to take a break. II started to paint again after a few days off and I'm glad I both did the challenge and stopped after those 4 weeks. One thing I want to keep doing is offering my finished paintings up on Instagram. And I already have an idea for the next challenge - I will just wait a few days before I commit to another one!
What do you think about online challenges? Do you feel they are motivating you? Pushing you to do more, to do better? What kind of art challenge would you like to try?