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.
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.