Challenge successfully completed

I am very pleased that I managed to fulfil the challenge I set myself to do 4 paintings in 30 days. I think it probably took me a few extra days – but who’s counting? I had a period of being ill during that time (that’s my excuse!) And didn’t start the first painting until almost a week into the 30 days.

The first of the 4 paintings was done on 5th November at the art group where the tutor led us through doing it. I had far too much paint on the paper and so when I tried to put on the white it turned pink because the dark colour was still wet. Not happy with it. I don’t like 5th November so probably wasn’t putting my all into it. It’s the anniversary of my mum’s funeral. A good day to be cremated we thought at the time. She would have been amused by it. She had died on All Saints Day which is definitely a good day to go.

Fireworks

Painting 2 was done whilst on holiday. I had taken watercolours with me as they are lighter and less bulky. However I am not as comfortable and I believe not as good in that medium. It is very difficult to rectify mistakes – you have to find a way of incorporating them into the picture and building on them. Or just accept less than perfect! Not easy. The picture is something I made up – not from any reference photo or real life view. I simply decided to paint something and went for it. No internet where I was and nothing that inspired me in the room. I was thinking of the beautiful Welsh mountains in their glorious autumnal colours. And I didn’t have the patience to wait for the various bits to dry. It was quick and easy – a bit of fun while my husband was out walking.

Welsh hills in autumn

My third painting was of a peacock. I started it on my day off (Friday) and wanted to complete it in a day (or two). I am glad that I took it to art group the following Tuesday as the tutor gave me some valuable advice. I knew the head was too big for the body and that my peacock looked unrealistic and a bit cartoon-ish (see work in progress picture below). I was going to accept it that way but decided to take the advice of spreading the tail feathers. I decided it should sit on the branch – one way of avoiding doing the legs! A quick use of phone and internet to find what eyes look like and various peacocks helped. I had been painting from one of my drawings that had been copied from a drawing off the internet. See below. So from original inspiration through to final picture my peacock has been transformed.

Peacock

This reminds me of the way that we gradually transform, stage by stage in our Christian journey. God takes us as we are and works in and through us. As we look back we can see we are different, changed, more glorious (at least that’s the hope) – and yet still the same person. My first peacock is still in there underneath the layers of paint and the events of our lives that have shaped us still happened and the memories may still be there but, when offered up to the Master, they become transformed. The peacock is a symbol of the resurrection. If you want to know why look here https://catholicexchange.com/peacocks-considered-symbols-resurrection

Peacock in progress
Peacock drawing with coloured pencils

My time was running out to complete the 4 pictures in 30 days. I hadn’t even remembered the day it had started, so had to look back on my blog. There were the pictures I did while on the CARM days but they weren’t proper paintings so decided they didn’t count towards the challenge. One of them though was the inspiration for a prayerful painting I did as we approached Advent (and the end of the challenge period). But again I am not sure that counts as, although it IS a painting, it was not done as a work of art but a work of meditation and contemplation. See my next blog entry for that.

My final painting once I had given myself the permission to go beyond the 30 days a little was done on Tuesday and it was another of the tutor’s sessions where he does a demonstration and we copy him (or at least try to). I was amazed at the results and bowled over at the response on Facebook. On my personal page it got 29 responses: 25 likes; 2 loves and 1 wow. On an artist’s group page it has got 105 responses so far: 80 likes; 17 loves and 8 wows with 9 very affirming comments. It’s one thing for friends to like and comment and another when fellow artists do so. It looks better at a distance rather than close up.

Walking in the rain

We chose from several print outs of a particular artist’s work. I can’t remember his name, but he is famous and his work sells for a lot of money. I picked the one I thought looked easiest.

The picture I copied

And here they are side by side when I had finished on Tuesday.

Look what I did!!!!

Our tutor had done the same picture (another reason I chose that one) but had developed it a little. My tree is the 3rd attempt. this is why I like acrylics. I painted it out twice, which means my blurred/blended light isn’t as good as it was as I had gone over it too much and was buckling. I was left with a bit not properly blended. I regretted using paper and not a stretched canvas board. Not perfect, but nevertheless I am very pleased with it when looked at at a distance….. which is how art should be viewed.

Our tutor’s painting and a canvas above waiting for his demonstration.

Reflecting on this journey of improving as an artist I feel very encouraged and affirmed. I am glad I pushed myself to do 4 in 30 days. It may have meant working quickly and not leaving big gaps between sessions. It means the paintings are not possibly as good as they could be. I know that better results are achieved when you persevere and work at something, eg the tree I did 3 times. But by pushing myself to favour quantity over quality I believe I have improved. The biggest improvements though were when I took the advice of the tutor and had his help. I am learning and improving which has been my aim for this year.

God is leading me in this direction I believe. My blogging is a way of helping me to reflect upon what I’ve done. I hope it encourages others to persevere, which is why I am sharing it. Thank you for reading thus far. May God bless you in your endeavours, be they artistic or not.

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