We’ve just completed the second 7 day series challenge, and it was another rousing success. :)
The premise of the challenge is to create a series spanning a week in whatever medium you like, as a chance to explore your own work within a focus and time container, and discover that you can indeed make consistent art. It also tends to act as a catalyst for new discoveries and offer ideas for new work.
Here are some of the fabulous series that came from this year’s challenge – I just love the diversity of what people make. I’ll start. :)
I decided to focus on quick black and white studies for the week. I used Yupo paper, black and white acrylic paint, a blade, black oil pastel, water, and isopropyl alcohol with a dropper, a rag, a brush, a Catalyst wedge, and my fingers, obviously. :)
My subject was St Michael’s Mount in Cornwall, including the surrounding area of beaches and sand dunes covered with marram grass. I wanted to focus on abstractifying the landscape to reflect how I feel when I’m there, exploring mark making and values along the way. I worked fast and really enjoyed the outcomes; I can definitely see myself continuing in this vein – it feels very rich and full of possibilities.
“I chose to focus on my new love for watercolour and added the medium of pastels to some of my pieces. I have continued to learn to focus and have patience in my journey with art. Thank you so much for this opportunity.”
Sheree Angela Mathews
“I haven’t been posting my creations online as I’ve just been doing it for me. But I felt a calling to share now. I don’t usually share my collages. They show up in my visual journals but with these 7 days I purposely took the time and space to create them as art in their own right.
I usually use the bodies of women found in these glossy mags and change them up. I’m trying to diversify the faces we see in the media. I found this 7 day challenge manageable within my day to day stuff. I did use this time and space as a chance to switch off and energise.”
Jos Van Meel
“I so enjoyed this challenge. I oftentimes feel scattered in the studio, so having some decisions already made – a limited palette and subject matter – was freeing in a way. Tara’s series challenge forced me to focus in on a cohesive collection and allowed me to explore these moody expressions in a deeper way. I will continue on as I’m not quite ready to stop this theme.”
“I learned about Joan Mitchell from Tara’s “Artist Inspired II” course and wanted to take a closer look at her art and process. I love Joan’s larger-than-life paintings based from memory and feeling. Looking at her work got me to look at my own work differently.
I became freer and bolder – trusting myself and my own memory. I learned to care less about outcome and concentrate more on process and feelings. My paintings look nothing like Joan’s. I didn’t want to copy her, I just wanted to learn from her and grow as an artist. It was a great exercise and a real challenge!”
“I loved the 7 day challenge. It was a great way to demonstrate the benefits of daily art practice and I had a real ‘light bulb moment’ on day three, which has brought about a big step forward in my painting. I found that giving myself a focus and setting some simple boundaries such as size and palette actually encouraged rather than stifled creativity.
It was a huge learning experience and brought me to a place of ‘feeling’ my art rather than just ‘thinking’ (or over thinking) it. I now try to do something creative every day….it’s a lovely habit to have!”
“On the first day of the challenge I didn’t know what series I wanted to create. But I started to draw real objects and understood that that was my brilliant idea. This challenge gave me understanding that I should not stop on one style and if my heart wants to draw abstractly but the mind says that you need to think about real life, you have to listen to both of them.”
“I am a casual painter at this point in my life and have to work hard to squeeze out some time to paint each week. The challenge to paint a series over 7 days was interesting to me because it was short and I felt I could complete it, especially if I planned ahead. It’s one thing to paint each day and another to complete a piece each day. For that reason, I had to work in a small size (6×6).
I started a couple of days ahead by deciding on the theme (flowers), making sure I had the supplies I needed and prepping some canvases. I worked on at least a couple of paintings at a time so that on busy days I could finalize one pretty quickly and post it. I really enjoyed the challenge and will try to paint in a series again soon!”
Jeannine Chanin Penn
“I chose to keep my palette super simple as a way to make the commitment and process easier. Using black, white, Payne’s gray with some things like paper, metallics and ink mixed in is a very comfortable place for me so, that was one decision. I knew they would be abstracts. However, I wasn’t exactly sure where the inspiration would come from. In my abstracts the inspiration is generally a combination of working out dreams, nature and sometimes literally just letting it happen with the paint and making something come to life from the strokes that start happening on the canvas.
I have realized more than anything that I need to be more disciplined and that I can find the time to do painting almost every day if I make it a priority. Even if this week only produced one or two pieces that I’m actually satisfied with it felt right to sit down at least an hour a day and get paint on my hands.”
I just love how this challenge acts as a springboard, guaranteeing that no one will make the same kind of work. People really relish the opportunity to explore a specific focus, and then get to reap the benefits of that very quickly! Proof that we can all create consistent work, and that perhaps it’s not as hard as we think!
If you’d like to keep the momentum going and really embed your art into your life, making more consistent work more often, Touchstone might be a good option for you. It’s an opportunity to take a deep dive into yourself as an artist – discover the inner workings of your own process, start to deal with the demons that hold you back, and establish your art as an essential and fulfilling part of your life. Click the image to find out more, and if registration is currently closed you can still sign up to get on the waiting list and hear when doors next open.