Challenge Lessons Learned

Last Day And Lessons Learned, Day 31 #stradaeasel “From Life” January Challenge

I have learned a thing or two, (or three or lots!) over the past 31 days of the #stradaeasel “Drawing and Painting From Life” Challenge.  Update: there were about 500 artists participating in the challenge!  What fun!

I’d like to share my initial impressions of “lessons learned” for doing the challenge.  

Goal Accomplished!

But first, with this final acrylic study of my milk frothing picture, I complete the challenge!  YAY!  And, that was my goal: to complete the challenge.

Notice, at the bottom of the page there is a collage of all 31 days!  So, please keep reading!

This is not an easy goal for me.  I have tried 30 day challenges before and have not completed them.  So, its a personal accomplishment that I’m taking a moment to recognize.  Just to be able to say “I can do this” is a good thing.

Challenge Lessons Learned
Day 31 #stradaeasel challenge.

Lessons Learned.

  • Support of friends helps!
  • Plan ahead.  
  • Variations on a theme are good.
  • Work fast; don’t fuss.
  • If its important, I’ll find the time.
  • You can do more than you realize, reflections, glassware, horses.
  • I’m glad I worked small sizes: simpler!
  • Who knew painting teabags and lemons was so much fun?
  • Be flexible; figure out alternatives, like digital, or colored pencil, etc!
Lessons Learned: Teabags
Day 20 #stradaeasel challenge. Featuring a teabag!

Thanks to Friends.

Thank you to my artist friends who also entered the challenge: Kay Driver and Kirsten Meriwether.  Plus, thanks to my friends who gave thumbs up or comments to my facebook pages.  It does make a difference to have friendly support and encouragement.  

Yes, one ought to be able to do this on their own.  But, it helps when establishing a new habit to have the support and encouragement of friends.

Regarding Time.

Of all the lessons learned, I’d like to elaborate on this one.  Managing time and figuring out how to accomplish the goal of finishing was the biggest lesson learned.

I have said before that all artists juggle the same time issues.  Finding the time to do your work is a matter of priorities.  

I can’t remember where I read this idea first, I’m sorry to say.  However, with this challenge I came to understand its meaning in a new way.  This was one of the unexpected lessons learned.  To explain, I realized that I couldn’t put off my usual tasks just because of the challenge.  One has to examine time management and prioritize usage.

Lessons Learned: Do it digital!

Almost Stumbling Blocks.

Still, under the best of circumstances, there were some problems that can cause one not to complete a challenge like this one.  For example, the dreaded flu!  This January is a bad flu month, need I say more?  Sadly, one of my artist friends became ill with this bug and was unable to complete the challenge.

For me, I had two events that almost derailed my participation.  

  • The first one was an unscheduled trip out of town.  Initially, I thought I would have to bow out.  But, then, I came up with plan “A” and plan “B” for how to continue participating.  Plan “A” doing drawings from life using my iPadPro worked; success.
  • The second event was coming down with a case of shingles.  I have heard that this illness can cause a lot of pain and other problems.  Fortunately, we caught my case early and I am responding nicely to treatment. 
Day 21: Broken Seashell.
Day 21 #stradaeasel challenge. Lesson learned: be flexible; do what you can!

Planning Ahead and Variations.

This is probably good studio practice anyway.  But, I thought ahead about material needs and made sure I had everything on hand and ready.  To elaborate, when working with acrylic paint, the paper needs to be cut to size and prepared with a coating of gesso ground.  It helps to have several pieces prepared.

Regarding variations, they help in coming up with subjects.  That is to say, you just move the pieces of the still life around, add something, take something away and you are ready to paint!  One spends less time trying to come up with something grand to draw and paint.

The point: keep the pressure down!

What Next?

Stay tuned, I’ve joined Leslie Saeta’s “30 Paintings in 30 Days” challenge for February.  

Which starts tomorrow.  

Lessons Learned: All 31 Days!
All 31 Days #stradaeasel challenge.

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