One Year of Painting – 365 Paintings in 365 Days
When I undertook one year of painting last January I wasn’t quite sure what would happen. Would I actually complete 365 paintings in 365 days? Would I complete two weeks or two months and then never paint again? That’s happened with things before. I ran a marathon in 2001 and then never had any desire to run again. True story. But this project was different…my passion for painting took over…and I finished every single painting every single day. There were little things I did along the way to help the process but really the most important thing was just committing to do art! The collage below has most of the paintings included…but some were left out because I couldn’t stand having an odd number in the monthly collages. You can click on the picture below (or click here) and a larger resolution will open:
I started out small in January and was doing small miniature paintings and more watercolors. Some paintings took a few hours and others took just a few minutes. I made a bag of travel paints (with small portable watercolors)n so that I could take them with me. I even painted while getting an oil change one day and ended up with a very curious audience!
In January I also started my other 365 project: one button or stitch a day…which is a much more manageable project if you want to start small. Click here for that entire post or the image below:
In February a few of my favorites were Harriet Tubman and Happy’s portrait. I also was painting more in my art journal:
March came along and I started painting some larger works. I also finished up my eclectic gallery wall for Michaels.
In April I tried to go with a theme for a week (birds) and that got boring really fast. I learned a lot about my painting process during the beginning months, things I’d forgotten. I have a wandering mind and I have to be working on all different kinds of mediums and subjects in order to stay interested!
By June I was seeing my style loosen up quite a bit and I was incorporating more abstract techniques:
July was “Rock Month” and I was using all kinds of mediums. I was painting on rocks, leather, tin and paper:
Painting on rocks continued into August and I began painting more detailed landscapes too. It was a sad month though because Happy died so one of the rocks I painted was her little grave marker. That was my most liked photo on Instagram this year…I love how much everyone loved Happy.
By August I was working on several works simultaneously. Paintings often took more several days but I was committed to finishing “something” each time I left the studio. You can see most of the landscapes in more detail here:
In September I started painting even more animals. I also painted a bunch of rescue animals with proceeds going to Odd Man Inn and our local PAWS shelter.
More detail of the animal paintings here:
In October I started painting again on a much bigger scale. I also started doing some travel painting…taking my supplies along with me for a trip to Rockport and Gloucester.
When December rolled around I couldn’t believe I only had a month left of the project! I began to move into more animals and pet portraits while still doing some abstract work. I used to paint in a very layered manner way back when and that started to come back with some mountain-inspired landscapes.
What I can tell you about this 365 project is that it consumed my entire year…but in a good way. When committing to do something every day (something that I love to do and want to get better at) growth is inevitable. I took about over ten years off from full time painting and it didn’t come back as quickly as I thought it would. The key was showing up every day to the canvas no matter what the outcome. I never knew what I was going to paint until I showed up. Here’s what I learned over the past 365 days: Creativity builds over time. It needs to be revisited daily in order to expand.
Every artist is different in what they need for their own practice. One of my biggest needs is a place where I can be messy and not have to clean up every day. I saw the biggest change in my creative practice when I painted my studio floor white and began to transform the studio into a space that worked for me. My workspace is in our once-creepy-basement and after I painted the floor white it felt a LOT less creepy and I found that I wanted to be down there more and more. Just look at this transformation:
A cold, creepy underground basement room that leaks and has gazillions of spiders:
A functional and comfortable art studio:
I’m putting together a longer post about the step-by-step transformation of the art studio so stay tuned for that!
P.S. So I started out posting all my paintings weekly but that became too daunting so I just started posting highlights. You can see all those posts here!