Hello friends! As many of you know, I have been participating in a 30 day painting challenge, inspired by a blog post by Judy Wise, introduced to me by a good friend. We did it together last year in December, and decided to spend our month doing it together again, with a few other friends that jumped in to the challenge this year! Basically, you start a canvas, and you work on it, doing something to it every day for 30 days, whether you feel the need to change it or not, whether you do a small touch or a total overhaul, you do something to it every day, to get you into a free flowing habit, and to see where the journey takes you.
Why do this challenge? To have a reason to paint every day…to stop the excuses. Now, I will admit, I did miss a few days over the month, but not many. And I found it to be an eye opening experience for a few reasons.
Firstly, and likely the most important thing that I learned about myself is that I don’t have a fear of the blank, white canvas staring at me, and a hesitation as to where to start. I can very easily put colour onto a blank canvas. What I struggle with, is continuing and doing something on a canvas that already has something. When I only have a few minutes and I’m coming to it cold, not in an art zone, I’m afraid to make a move, afraid of messing it up. It takes me time to “get into” my groove in order to not worry about what I’m going to do next. To get out of my thinking head, and into my “just do it” mindset.
It takes courage to get over the preciousness of a piece…to persevere when you like it and take risks to see what else can happen.
I also learned that trusting my heart and listening to the whispers creates new art for me. For instance, the bold colours aren’t new, they are my favourite to work with. However, recently with doing faces and whimsical portraits, I’ve tamed my colour palette. So this was my opportinity to play and be bold and not worry about what colours “GO” together. Also, I found that although my initial inkling was to make a face, it didn’t fit in, and I created an abstract butterfly in a flower garden. I have been wanting to paint flowers for literally months, and felt the need to finish faces I have begun already.
So this painting was very freeing. I used my fingers, I splashed around colours into blobs that became flowers. I stenciled. I had FUN. And I shared my process, even the scary ugly stages. And through my vulnerability I gained encouragement and hope and confidence. I am on the right path.
This piece, although not my favourite painting technically, is very dear to my heart. I love the words that came to me for it, and I believe them with all of my heart and soul. For me, art IS the perfect birthplace for self awareness, the messy raw kind of self awareness that you don’t want others to know about. And that awareness transforms the negative emotions and beliefs into something beautiful and inspiring. Thank you for sharing in this journey with me. All the best to you in the New Year. Good bye 2016! It has been a year of awareness and radical acceptance for me. I am interested to see what 2017 will bring. Cheers!
(My word for 2016 was “acceptance”. I believe my word for 2017 is “trust”. Do you choose a word of the year? What will it be?)