20For20 Day 20: Completion

How I End My Painting Practice for the Day

I haven't developed specific routines for ending my painting practice yet. During this challenge, I worked for about two hours and then I stop. If I'm painting I clean up my brushes and spray my palette with water before closing it. I take photos to record my progress and I post a quick note on my blog and on Instagram.


Going forward, I will set a one-hour timer so I can take a quick break. I also want to keep most of my daily notes in a paper sketchbook rather than posting on a blog or Instagram. I think a weekly post to share a summary of what I've worked on this week will help me see patterns or themes emerge over time. I'd like to talk with other artists about their progress once a week too.


What I Learned From the 20 For 20 Challenge

I started the challenge with daily thumbnail sketches, but my interests quickly evolved into an observation of the daily processes I use to support and maintain my work. Before the challenge, I would only work when I had a class assignment to complete. I needed to have an external motivator or an accountability partner to help me keep working. Now I feel like I have sufficient interest in my own developing processes that I can direct myself.


One of the things I've learned about how I like to work is that I need to make sketches and drawings to help me understand my subject before I start to paint. Most of my problem solving within the composition occurs during the drawing phase because it's fast and easy to experiment with multiple versions and the materials are relatively cheap so I feel free to take more risks. I use the drawing phase to design my space and my shapes and plan my value structure.


Another thing I've learned is that I need to make color studies to help me learn how to mix colors and use color to support my overall design. I'm using limited double primary palettes. I want to make smaller paintings so I can try color variations and try painting with 40 strokes or less. I'm also interested in using a cheaper, faster medium like ink or gouache so it frees me up to take more risks.


But the biggest thing I've learned is that my daily practice is not just about work and discipline. It's also about love and lightness and joy. What brings me excitement when I paint? Painting is evolving into a way for me to collect my various interests together and interact with them through visuals instead of through words. I want to notice and develop more processes that bring me more joy so I can feel free to be more authentic in my work.


I need a safe place for me to experiment and play with ideas and materials. I want to be able to share work and talk through my ideas with other artists. I would like to give and receive support from artists who are interested in trying out new processes and exploring their passions using paint as a medium. I think finished work is good but not the main focus of our discussion.


Going forward, I am taking a 10-week self-portrait class with Erin Raedeke. She uses a painting approach that is much looser and more iterative. I'm also not very good at painting from observation so this will be a strong challenge for me to paint in the long term.


In the short term, I am going to finish reading "Creative Practices for Visual Artists: Time, Space, Process" by Kenneth Steinbach. I'm interested in how he recommends putting together a creative practice and applying his recommendations to my own practice.



As part of #20For20ArtChallenge2022, I am reading from The Power of Daily Practice: How Creative and Performing Artists (and Everyone Else) Can Finally Meet Their Goals by Eric Maisel, PhD. Part I of the book covers 20 Elements of Practice. In this blog post series 20For20, I write about one Element every day and reflect on how to incorporate the Element into my daily painting practice.