Beginning this Wednesday, 2/18/15, I'll be cranking out the paints everyday. More precisely, a painting a day and I'm writing here a couple of days in advance on my plans in case there is anyone wanting/willing/who has the time to join me!
[This is a long one, sorry, I've tried to make it skim-able]
In this post I'll be just listing out some points to brainstorm upon. Make lists, mind-maps, sketches, or whatever you can think of that will come to use. Not only will it get you amped up for the challenge you'll also thank yourself later for doing the work ahead of time.
If you decide to do this, you don't need to begin when I do. Feel free to start whenever you can- tomorrow, next week, month, or year. [Though, If you're feeling as sluggishly creative as I have been lately, you'll want to begin ASAP ]
Of course, you can just jump into this challenge without making plans. For me, I'd probably burn out quickly w/o 'em. Not to mention, the style I work with takes many hours. Even a small, 3.5 x 3.5in paint can take me 3 hours! I've seen artists who can make a fairly large piece in half that time and some peeps don't even need to lay a sketch down before painting. We all work differently so prep with plans if you want to or not, whatever works.
Here are some of the things I've been pondering on/preparing these last couple of days:
Improve Upon/New Elements: Become aware of what you want from your work. Look to some of your favourite artists. Who do you follow and how has their work inspired yours?
Personally, I watch a few artists who I really admire for their use of shapes and whimsical flow of colour and story. One thing I'd really love to incorporate into my work is more patterns and abstract dreaminess.
Make a list and sketches. Refer to these everyday you paint or put them away and forget them till the end of the month. Whichever, it'll be fun to see these new elements slowly taking form on page/screen!
Themes/Stories: Unless you're just attacking your canvas with strokes and splashes you're going to have some obvious themes occurring and sometimes reoccurring in your work!
Check it- for my own list I've simply written things like “Flying” & “Water Spirit”. These are stories I'd like to create. Themes could include, “Breaking Free” & “Unconscious Mind/Dreaming” for these stories. Sometimes you won't need to create a theme, it'll just surface by itself.
For this month, however, since I'm not relying as much on just the illusive giggling faun in the forest that is inspiration so much as I am on structure and routine, I'm going to be quite detailed with my themes.
Tis up to you to decide what you do with that~~
Characters/Creatures: Going back up to the things I'd like to improve upon, one is adding more original creatures to my work. Even just giving a touch of folksy to real animals that I draw, whether they are wearing clothing or burrowing. Interesting fur patterns, maybe more facial expressions.
I do want to begin drawing more humans and developing characters. I'm still thinking if it will be beneficial to pre-sketch concepts before the 30 days or let them develop organically in the sketch for each painting. Hmm..
Think on it- will it help with your own progress to have stock characters handy? If so perhaps spend some time sketching these characters in different clothes and poses. Maybe interacting with other characters as well.
Colour Schemes: Is it just me or is painting swatches a delightful experience to others too?! I don't know why but painting tiny colorful squares on scraps of paper inspires and makes me giddy. It may be a waste of paint/time to you. Though I've gotten great use out of having a stack of pre-made swatches handy I've also created some of my best work with just using the colours that I like. Plum, pink, turquoise, and coral red happen pretty consistently in my paintings.
During this month I know that I'll be doing atleast a few days with limited palettes, e.g. a painting with just yellow tones with shades done with dark magenta. An all blue painting with a touch of crimson.
Whatever colours I use I know that a trip to get more paint will be needed at the end of this!
Motivation/What I Hope To Gain: Hm. Work Ethic. I'm hoping that by the end of this painting daily will be hardwired in my brain. The fact that I'll have 30 new paintings lying around as well as TONS more experience are byproducts, and great ones at that.
Defining motivation and intention are key so that you'll have purpose to keep on paintin'.
Meditation: I owe most of what I've done as an artist to my deeply rooted meditation practice. Meditation, if you're unfamiliar, is basically just breathing and keeping the mind on the breath. In time you become less likely to be swept off with thoughts and better able to observe them and let them go. You can do it sitting for a more controlled environment or you can do it walking around doing errands, at work, etc.
Humans are programmed with static monkey-brains and I believe reading somewhere that the thoughts are about 80%-90% repetitive. Thinking aimlessly has an addictive quality that can really mess with reaching goals and growth.
I could go on forever about the benefits of presence of mind. If you think you're creativity would benefit google it, read some books- Eckhart Tolle, thich nhat hanh, or Pema Chodren are great starting points- and watch your cat. Become it's little padawan learner, if you will.
Star Wars + Cats? I have to google that...
Mind Priming: Which brings me to the last point. No, resist the urge to get lost on your devices! How can I spend an average 10-15 hours a day working on a painting when I'm getting lost for hours looking at pics of beautiful nanaicecream? Well maybe that's a stretch, but time getting lost on the web adds up. I've recently stopped using my cell phone and thus Instagram as well. Though it's absence has helped me focus on my work I can still easily access it through my computer to check up on those that I follow. And I don't just follow artists so this gets very irrelevant very quickly!
Even just looking at a short youtube video can affect the mood of the mind for some time after. In order to prime yourself for this creative endeavor really try your best to surround yourself with things that point to it. Keeping your work area tidy and functional, taping images to your wall that inspire you, music playing [I really love listening to movie soundtracks on Pandora as well as the Yoshida Bros when I work, personally].
For this month I'm creating a tiny list of sites for inspiration if I need it and keeping them visibly bookmarked on my browser. I won't be checking my Instagram. I'll keep in touch with my Deviantart & Tumblr inbox/feeds but defiantly for no more than half an hour a day.
Gosh darn. Just think how much we humans could get done without all these distractions, AH! These distractions are genius if we use them right! When will we learn U^U!!
So that concludes it. Tomorrow I'll probably be doing some sketching, listing, and rounding up all the thick cold-pressed paper I can find in my apartment! Oh and cat-sitting for a friend who's out of town. Two little ginger buddhas ^-^!
Bookmark this post if you think it'll come in handy and see you Wednesday for day one !!
(Pssstt, I'll be tagging these paints #30daysofpaint ! Don't forget to tag yours too if you're with me on it ~)