What I learned painting 31 paintings in 31 Days

This past month for World Watercolour month I joined hundreds of watercolour artists in creating a daily painting practice, and sharing the daily paintings to social media.  This is a charitable program run and developed by Doodlewash which draws respected artists and painters of all levels worldwide. I knew participating would be a challenge, and also a great opportunity for growth.

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I have been called a prolific painter. I paint frequently, sketch often and complete a high number of paintings per year. However, I still only manage to produce 2 or three finished paintings per month. An average painting takes a few hours to complete. At the beginning of this project I knew that if I was going to make this work, I would have to adjust the way I paint.

For the daily paintings I painted smaller, simpler pieces, and started to loosen up and simplify my process. I have a fairly loose style to begin with, but these paintings allowed me to paint even freer and more abstractly. I also experimented and gave myself permission to try new colour combinations, papers and subjects. By day 31, I was seeing my recognizable style come out in these paintings.

Doodlewash issued a list of optional prompts for the month which I began to use early in the month. The prompts were inspiring and helped me create a few truly unique pieces that were very different from what I’ve created before. However, I soon realized that if I was going to make this work for me I had to paint from my heart, and that meant bold etherial flowers and moody landscapes.

Perhaps the biggest challenge was to quiet my inner critic. Many pieces from the challenge I never felt were “good enough.”  Several paintings I didn’t even want to finish, but I posted them anyways. Surprisingly some of the paintings I liked the least got the most positive feedback. Sometimes my inner critic holds me to impossible standards and this exercise helped me to learn to quiet it – at least a little bit.


Note: I did most of these paintings on <a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01EQHJH10/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B01EQHJH10&linkCode=as2&tag=candiceleyl04-20&linkId=b7d753c3b742b265c53df67289299e9e">Arches Watercolor Paper Pad, 140 pound, Cold Press, 9"x12"</a>""Arches Watercolour Paper, 140lb and a few on 300lb rough paper. Most were done in the studio using mostly <a href="http://<a target="_blank" href="https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B00L2E19CQ/ref=as_li_tl?ie=UTF8&camp=1789&creative=9325&creativeASIN=B00L2E19CQ&linkCode=as2&tag=candiceleyl04-20&linkId=9be2bd863465c46d173e9bc916987b39">QoR Watercolor Introductory 6-High Chroma Set</a>""QOR watercolours.

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