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.
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.
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.