So starting with day 1 at the very top... the first day was while I was still in NYC, the second was done on the airplane and the picture taken when I got home. The whole challenge was to do something related to Asian-style painting (including calligraphy and sketches in prep for big paintings) every day of the month, and to take the picture of what I liked most about the work of the day and to post it on Facebook. The posts had to be done every day, but if you skipped a day, you could make it up just the next day, so they had some leeway, which I didn't take. *laughs*
There was something about the discipline of doing it every single day and having it be something publicly shown that made a difference because I painted every single day...
It was interesting to see and feel the progression as I went along. About half of these would never have seen the light of day if I were to only post or show the paintings that I actually show, but it was interesting doing it with a bunch of other artists at the same time and getting to see everyone's work every day.
It really dispels the myth of someone just being super talented and that's what it takes to paint well. It's really about the just making the strokes and making the mistakes and learning from them and creating something new from the failures of the day's work before. There were, of course, some people that just painted the same thing every day, but you could actually see the refinement of their chosen expression over the course of the whole thing.
For me, you could see me trying to develop a painting of a twisted pine, only for me to think that the first one was the best. *laughs* There's also the development of the peony layout, which started with just the head and moved on to making it bigger, with a bud, and more leaves. Next time I might do a completely different leaf arrangement to frame the blooms better. The roses were a whim to start, as I was working in the church's rose garden and wanted to represent the blood-sucking little beauties, and then went onto rearrange them better, with buds, more stems, and the really gnarly old branches that are always sticking out of the base.
I've always loved the wild orchid, and I did a few of those, but then found Ning Yeh's 108 Flowers book had a color representation, and I had to try that. The one pictured is actually the second painting, the first was done because I couldn't think of anything else, but it was much brighter and more centered. I wasn't happy with the first, and though I didn't think I had enough time, I went ahead and painted the second one, which I love, with more muted colors and the offset that really makes it for me.
The apple blossoms was the same thing. I tried it, studied what I'd painted, and then fixed what I didn't like.
That progression is true of most of my painting, but not on a scale like this, before. I haven't taken the time to just go and do this like this before, and seeing it like this, it's amazing and something I want to do more of. Being able to just go back again at it in a day or two, remembering what I'd done before makes a huge difference in how much I improve the composition of the painting. It was fun sharing the whole thing with an artist friend of mine who does nothing but abstract work. She said that the subject matter and the medium would drive her insane, but the whole idea of working out composition by painting it... that really inspired her. She's and amazingly good oil painter, and one of her works just got shown at a huge show in Denver, so it was nice to be able to share a bit with her.
And making the time to do this wasn't as hard as I thought it would be. And the failure days actually motivated the days when I did a lot better. So it might well be a good discpline for me to take into the future. Since the end of June, I've stopped painting every day, but I am now painting about every week. Before June, I hadn't painted anything for nearly two years... so I'm grateful I decided to take it up and actually do something again.
The surprising thing was the feeling that I hadn't gone all that far in a month, for all that it was more painting than I probably get into some years... and the desire to go further, so that was probably the best thing I got out of it all. And now I have to go and mount all the ones I think are worth mounting, and that's going to be quite the job.