Another round of this popular week long challenge finished recently and as ever there was a real diversity of work. What I love about this challenge is not only that it’s so doable, but also that people consistently make discoveries about their work, their process, and their preferences that help them move forward with their art, in just one week.
I like to share some of the series created during the challenge each time, so here is a virtual gallery of participant work for the autumn 2018 session! Enjoy!
Below is my series. I created seven in total but decided to just have four be the final pieces, as they felt the most successful and worked the best together. This is just one of many reasons working in multiples is so effective – if you make many, you can pick the strongest work, whereas if you’re making one at a time, each carries huge pressure to be a masterpiece.
“These are monotypes created with Caligo printing ink. The challenge was to incorporate another medium into my prints so chalk pastel, neo pastel and oil pastel were all used either during inking, after inking or before inking. Layers were built up using extender to create glazes. From my point of view I didn’t achieve the perfect medium to add to the inks but the experiment goes on. The challenge gave me permission to take time out from creating a finished piece and explore.”
“Everyday practice of a certain technique or theme did widen my artistic vocabulary. That doesn’t mean I necessarily became better at this chosen theme. It means I could find out what’s working for me and my artistic expression and what to focus on in the future.”
“I started with the concept of iconic vintage items; only realising halfway through – what I was really conveying, was a sense of timelessness. Woven through the every day. The biggest discovery was taking the subject through a personal lens, and being comfortable, going deeper. Doing the Touchstone course, previously, helped me navigate the obstacles of a personal lens, without doubting myself, or quitting at the first creative impasse.”
“I have really enjoyed participating and experimenting in Tara’s wonderful challenge. Creating a series like this was a real eye opener and it has helped me realise what is possible to create the unity that flows through the pieces. I look forward to creating more.”
“I love flowers, both in their natural environment and arranged, and thought that it would be a good plan to investigate colour, mediums and composition for this challenge with a plan to create a larger artwork afterwards. I found that 7 days is not enough for a full exploration….actually it could take forever…I am ready.”
“Sometimes I get distracted, or can’t pick just one thing to work on. As always,Tara helped me to focus on what inspires me, and what I really wanted to create.”
“This challenge revealed to me that still after nearly three years of painting, flowers and the texture of them is what I love most to paint. I have the ability to relate the textures in both mediums; acrylic and watercolour.”
“I discovered that I really can get to my studio everyday and be productive without pressure or indeed expectations when you work on a series. This challenge was brilliant, insightful and confidence building for me.”
“Each time, #mycreativetouchstones helps to look at art from the other side. I started the challenge with acrylic, but on the third day I started using pastel. The brightness and softness makes it possible to focus on the main points of painting – composition, shape, contrast. The challenge gives strength not to throw [out] the first sketches half way, but continue to search for your “voice” again and again.”
“I love participating in Tara’s challenges! They always force me to get my butt into the studio, and her insightful emails along the way are delightful and encouraging. This challenge gave me a perfect container to experiment and push myself a little farther in abstraction. Having a short challenge takes the pressure off in experimentation. If things don’t work out to my satisfaction, it’s no big deal, chalk it up to learning and experience! It helps me not take it all too seriously!”
“I have always admired the beautiful photos of coastlines and colourful salt lakes, usually photographed using drones.
We were on the last leg of our caravan trip around Australia and travelling down the Western Australian coast, when I was inspired to paint this series for #mycreativetouchstones which has proved to be a great jumping off point for me, to start a new series or experiment with something new, without the need for it to become something “real”, so to speak.
I wanted to translate the coastline, in oils, as I thought it might look from an aerial perspective, given what I could see from the ground.
The funny thing is that I find the feeling of “ having freedom to experiment” seems to relax the process and quite often turns into something much more! That is what I love, so much, about #mycreativetouchstones!”
“I found the most valuable thing for me was setting myself a specific and achievable goal. I wanted to create three finished mixed media pieces of little girls – or ‘poetic petites’ as I’ve decided to call them! – using the same process in each piece but allowing the collage underneath to intuitively guide me. I found that having a goal and a process that I didn’t have to think about too much really helped me.
A local gallery in town saw my first little girl and asked me to create up to four pieces to exhibit in the gallery for seven weeks – I managed to complete three little girls, frame them and have them ready for delivery due date, tomorrow! I’m really pleased with this achievement considering I have two babes under three! Another exciting aspect of participating in this challenge is that I had a light bulb moment for another idea to develop as part of my poetic petites series.”
“I worked on all the pieces a little each day. It really took the pressure off feeling I needed to create a masterpiece and I could just watch as they evolved … this allowed me to play and explore. I was reminded that I don’t need all day to do something creatively rewarding. Tara sets an encouraging tone with honesty about her process as she shares her work along with us. Thanks for the process, it’s a new beginning for me.”
“I used Tara’s 7 day challenge to prise me out of a 10 month creative block where I have not been able to paint at all, and it has been wonderful to have a focus. My initial idea for 7 small pieces of work, changed into a very personal “7 day cover up challenge”, where I intuitively decided to cover up an old unfinished painting I had become struck on. Throughout the challenge I stayed brave in my practice and kind to myself…. both of which I think I forget to be (and then contribute to a block).
I am now unblocked, thanks to Tara and some of the magic has come back. I am looking forward to painting with a clearer idea about what I am trying to express in my narrative. Also I am going to go back and re do Tara’s 10 day course [Tara: the free one!] just to make sure I keep going and don’t get re-stuck!”
As ever, I love how just one week can show so clearly that we do each have a singular voice, and it’s perhaps not as hard to bring it out as we think!
Touchstone remains open for registration until October 26th – click here for all the details and to join us!
“Touchstone has taken me to a new place. Whereas I couldn’t get myself into the studio to work before, I now (with great joy and abandon) can’t get myself out!! Wonder of wonders.”