100 Things Wild – Why Challenge Myself?

Typically as soon as I had decided on my challenge, I started wondering why I was doing it…so I put a little thought into it and this is what I came up with.

So Why Challenge myself?

Despite the fact that most creative people would like to make work or sketch or do something every day,  life gets in the way and time passes (or is that just me). So by setting a pubic challenge I find that I can make this a priority.

The challenges encourage (force) me to make work every day, it is surprising how much my observational skills and painterly language improve when I work every day.  Also I can use the challenge drawings and paintings as warm ups for larger work that I am making at the same time and they get me quickly into my process without the time for the procrastination that I find I take part in once in a while!    They give me an aim and an achievable (hopefully) goal which I sometimes find hard to set and stick to.  This need for a goal or purpose has perpetuated my repeated return to education in order to find structure and space for development of my work.    Some people fulfil this  by means of competitions or exhibitions, I also use these occasionally but I tend to find short term goals such as these challenges very motivating, they keep my hands busy whilst my mind is preparing the next project.

Increased self awareness.

I find that I now have a reliable painterly language which I can return to if I am very short of time.  I  discovered that if I don’t intersperses  this very immediate working process with something slightly more considered I risk losing interest (but I do have a very short attention span).  Therefore the slight downside of a challenge like this there is very little time to consider the content of the work or reflect on its success or failure. I just have to get on with it and worry about it later.

Creative Development

This process lead working pattern inevitably enables work to shift gradually day by day as confidence increases and preferences, choices and patterns emerge.  The act of making work everyday moves everything forward and enables some of the wrinkles and creases to be ironed out.  In the same way as writing about creative process on a daily basis (as in morning pages from The Artists Way by Julia Cameron, here is an interesting article about the practice) It is almost impossible to tolerate the same short comings or problems every day without changing something or resolving them.

Not just about me.

Because the challenges are public I am not the only one involved and I find that the support and good wishes of everyone on facebook, twitter and my mailing list the most motivating part of the challenges and I don’t think that I could do it with out everyone else.  Encouraging words no matter what we are working on make all the difference in the world I find.

During my previous challenges other people began to join in, setting their own challenges and using them as a way to get back into their practice or their creative process.  In the same was as encouraging comments this had a huge effect on me, it felt that just by setting the challenge I was making a difference to others however small that might have been.   Donations to charity are part of my business strategy and always in my list of long term goals, it is vital to me to support worthwhile causes in any way I can, by giving work to auctions,  volunteering, running workshops, raising awareness, donating and raising funds through a variety of sales and challenges. This time I am hoping to fund raise for Compassion in World Farming, The Wildlife Trusts and Mousehole Bird Hospital.

For more information about this challenge please call in to my facebook page or follow me on Twitter or have a look at my website .

Here are a couple of paintings made in the last challenge for you to ‘critically evaluate’ the first from September 2014 and one of the last from the March Hares.

Thank you for following my progress, your thoughts and comments are always appreciated.


Time for a new challenge.

Good evening!

Last year I challenged myself in a number of ways creatively, I achieved a Masters of Art, for Illustration: Authorial Practice at Falmouth University,  By donating some sketches to sell on ebay I helped my daughter to raise over £3000 for her climbing trip to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro in aid Meningitis research and as a result of this I set myself a couple of 30 day challenges.

The 30 day challenges were far more successful than I had imagined they would be both in for my own practice and in terms of charitable fund raising.  So I would like to do it again, I have mulled over a number of ideas, 30 days of Mono printing, 30 days with a palette knife, 30 drawings standing on my head with one arm tied behind my back (ha ha )….I have a long list but none seemed particularly challenging or exciting.  So I have decided to extend it a little from 30 days.  90 days seemed a good number, so I thought about painting 90 birds in 90 days, with the added constraint that they should all be different and I should have seen them all in or around Cornwall.  I was still thinking about this today. The only problem with this is it would mean I couldn’t draw Badgers, Foxes and Hares and everyone seemed to like them…

The only thing to do was to ask my lovely Facebook followers who have infinity more understanding of my practice than I do most of the time.  However it was pretty much 50:50. So I am left having to make a decision for myself!!!

So here it is…

Starting on the 1st of September I will be painting “100 things wild”  so it is a little restrictive in that there will be no cats, dogs, pets or farmed animals…but there will be plenty to keep me busy. I am also not giving myself a time limit although I intend to finish within 100 days.

I will need lots of help in sharing the event so that I can raise much needed funds for some amazing charities…30% of the proceeds from all the paintings sold will be split, as with the previous challenges, between Mousehole Wildbird Hospital, Compassion in World Farming and the Wildlife Trusts, more specifically Cornwall Wildlife Trust.  I hope to keep the paintings very affordable, they will all be unframed and under £100, most will be around £30 – 50 for the duration of the challenge and purely because it is about challenging myself.

In the meantime if you would like to join my mailing list so that you will be the first to hear of my future plans please follow this link.

I will leave you will a few  more of my favourite paintings from the 2014 challenges.

Many thanks & best wishes