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Less is More *Sometimes

Right smack dab in the middle of tackling the #stradaeasel January 31-Day Challenge, I decided to take on another challenge. New year, new workout goals ... Artist style!

The Challenge was to paint a 20 minute painting for 5 consecutive days. This was put on by Mary Gilkerson in her Art + Work + Living Facebook group. It was a challenge that I knew would come with a big lesson... or 5.

I chose Ultramarine as my under painting color for each of the five 20 minute works.

Before diving into painting full time, I would paint when I could. Sometimes that looked like painting out in a park on Kiawah Island between meetings with Johns Island teachers as an Arts Integration Coach with a local non-profit. Sometimes that looked like taking a quick time out from licking stamps (bluhhhh that taste just came back) on my wedding invitations to crack open an egg to paint. Either way, I learned to paint quickly if I wanted to get in some painting time. I hated having to put the brush down to run off to the next thing, but looking back it was the quick painting that helped me part with perfectionism. I learned to just paint what felt good with loose, confident brushstrokes because there was no time to get it just so.

So back to the 20 minute paint Challenge...

I decided to focus on lemons. I was already in still life mode with my STRADA 31-Day Challenge. I also already knew that I really enjoy painting oranges so I wanted to keep it in the citrus family for familiarity's sake. I did have to crank out a painting in just 20 minutes, ya know. On the first day, I kept the composition simple and just studied the lemon. Each day after that, I added in a secondary subject to spice it up.

So what did I learn?

1) SIZE: 6" x 6" is the perfect size for a 20 minute painting. Otherwise, I am robbed of the hope of a 20 minute "finished" piece. 6" x 6" just feels doable.

2) SUBJECT: Still life is a good fit for this type of practice because it gives me the opportunity to paint from life (no matter the weather outside).

3) BRUSHWORK: This exercise is a sweet reminder of the fun energy that I'm ultimately going for when painting in general. There's just no time to "fuss" with a certain area in just 20 minutes. Later, perfectionism!

4) GROWTH: I am growing and having fun at the same time... the former teacher in me is screaming YES!

5) MOTTO: Less IS More (Unless we are talking about the amount of Challenges one should do at a given time... then MORE is MORE.)

I now vow to always begin a studio painting day with a 20 minute still life warm up.

Is this some New Year, new "workout" plan that will surely fade by February? No way! I'm making a "lifestyle" change!

Have you recently made a "lifestyle" change that you're excited about?

I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.

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