I've been in the midst of Project 865 for 11 days now. 12 by the time you read this. I wanted to share a few notes about what I've learned so far and some pictures of recent finished canvases.
- My "normal" painting style involves many layers... since I am doing 500 paintings this year, I need to create a finished product with less layers (at least on a good majority of these paintings). This has me breaking apart layers that I would normally add to a painting and really focusing on how to make each layer better. I am excited to see what will happen when I go back to a heavily layered style with this newfound knowledge of how to make each layer shine and stand on its own.
- I have several series of topics that I wish to explore throughout this year. Monochromatic, figure drawing, faces, collage. In addition to the usual mountains, animals and moons! Working monochromatic has struck my soul. There is something so pure, so beautiful about making shades of the same color all play and intertwine with each other in a dance across the page.
- Collage is my new BFF. For real. I am currently enrolled in Alena Hennesy's A Year of Painting course. The first lesson was all about collage... something I've never really played with using "pretty" papers (i.e. non-ephemera). And holy wow - I. am. in. love! I can see this being a medium I explore heavily this year.
- When you start to try new things, get ready to make some really shitty art. Plain and simple... you want to try something new? You are most likely going to suck at it in the beginning. It takes time to learn something new. You have to do the work. There are no short cuts. I have a lot of "new" things I want to learn. Painting faces is one of them. It is incredibly humbling to be a beginner.
- Assembly lines, FTW! Seriously! When I have a chunk of time I will create four backgrounds and maybe an art journal page using just a few colors. It's nice to have pre-prepped backgrounds to paint over when an idea for imagery strikes. It also makes me feel a little "ahead" of the game to know I have extras that are pretty close to being finished.
- The high volume and quick pace of this project has removed my inner critic from the equation. I mentioned in this post that I got into this critic cycle where I wouldn't paint for a week in between (successful or not) studio sessions. This has completely taken me out of that pattern. I finish a canvas and off it goes to the top of the pile. I have very little time to think about whether what I painted was good enough. It just IS what I painted, and either I love it like crazy OR I learned a lot from the process. All valuable, all a valid part of the experience.
- Taking a day off is the worst idea ever. I got 3 or 4 paintings ahead and decided to take a day off from painting. It was soooooo hard to go back into the studio to paint the next day. It felt like pulling teeth. Note to self: don't do it!
So far this project has invigorated and inspired me in ways I never imagined. It has renewed my love for painting. It seems the more I paint, the more inspiration that comes. The ideas are flowing like a river.
What about you? Do you have a daily practice? What benefit do you get out of it? What happens when you take a day off?
I'd love to know.