Monday, October 3, 2016

Painting Victory, Part One

Day 13 of the STRADA September 30-Day Challenge

As you can see from the photo above, my outdoor easel is a not ideal. I am making it work, but it would be nice for it to be a bit taller and to avoid using a bulldog clip to secure my paintings.

The thing is, I have other easels - an embarrassing number of them. But this set-up is the only one that fits entirely inside my backpack. That leaves my hands free for lunch, dog water and a bowl. I haven't weighed it recently, but it isn't too heavy when it is all packed.

But it still kind of sucks. So when I received the following email from Strada Designs, I got excited:


September is a beautiful time of year to paint and we are committed to helping artists improve their work. One of the best ways to improve is to make a personal daily commitment to painting. Beginning September 1st, do a plein air painting each day.  Post the image of your piece for that day on Facebook.  Remember to use the hashtag #stradaeasel so we can keep track and share your progress on our Facebook page. At the end of the month if you have painted and posted each day for thirty days straight (the entire month of September) you will be entered to win a STRADA Easel of your choice. 


I took the Challenge because I knew that the worst that would happen is that I would paint a lot, and that is always a good thing.

Not only did I complete the Challenge, but I actually painted for 34 days straight because I was on Appledore Island at the end of August. While on the island, I painted more than one panel a day - usually 3 or 4 - so I think the total was 40 paintings.

Strada will announce the five winners tomorrow night. But I feel like I don't need to win an easel to feel like a champ. Over the next few posts, I'll tell you about my major revelations.

The main thing I learned - re-learned really - is that I enjoy painting. That might sound dumb to anyone out there who doesn't paint - everyone assumes that artists have an undying passion that motivates them to work all the time. The truth is that painting is a lot of work and sometimes we avoid doing it. But the Challenge forced me to get started everyday. Even when it was raining. Even when I thought there was nothing to paint. Even when I was tired or busy.

I painted through two migraines, four days of agility competitions, many cloudy or rainy days, an open studio, and a reception for a solo exhibit. I also planned and carved layer one of a new 16” x 24” woodcut.

I always ended up enjoying painting, even when I really dreaded doing it.  

Rediscovering a joy in painting is Victory Number One.


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