It's day 200 of 365 days of daily painting and I am happily exploring watercolor. This is a luminous and unpredictable medium, I love the loose freshness and I get a thrill every time the colors touch and change. In preparation for today's milestone I went through about 170 paintings, sorting them into 4 piles, discard, save, use the other sides, and add pastel. The biggest stack by far, was the use the other side pile, which is fine with me. I don't expect to make 365 keepers. This project has become about turning the page each day and starting again. I just paint. I try not to focus on the final product, and concentrate on the process. I work quickly and make as many paintings as I can finish in one session and post one on Instagram. The next day I do it again. That is my only goal for this project, to paint everyday, 200 down 165 to go. Follow my Instagram - Maryann Didriksen to see how it goes.
Or more accurately, my first 115 days of the 365 days of creating art project.
I have been quietly immersed in daily painting this year. No speeches, legislation, or controversial appointments. However, many people are saying that I do watch much too much cable news.
What do I have to show for just about one third of my year long project?
I have a couple of decent oil paintings, two acrylic paintings, many watercolor studies, one sale and a small pile of art carnage. Committing to daily painting has helped me to focus and solidify my studio practice while allowing me to try new things. It's just enough structure and it encourages play and studious exploration.
I started in January with the 30 in 30 challenge, making 30 small landscape paintings.
For February I decided to continue on and work on 365 days of painting. With all the art making, I put writing on hold posting only one blog post.
In March I participated in two painting projects, A Slice of Life and Into -Yellow.
April - So far 115 days in, I have found a comfortable pace to my work. On the downside I haven't had time for documenting or writing about the project. That’s OK, there is always tomorrow. To see what I am up to daily, follow me on Instagram.
It's cold and gray outside. The holidays are a memory. I had the flu, the body aches kind and the political kind. So to force myself back into painting mode I took on a 30 day art challenge. I spent January working on landscapes using acrylic paint on gallery wrapped canvas. I chose this direction because landscape painting scares me, I hate painting small and I have lots of acrylic paint hanging around. Turns out it was a pretty good way to get in the swing of things. It also helped me:
Here are my 30 paintings. For larger images go to http://www.maryanndidriksen.com/30-in-30
I really want to be that artist who makes notes people can actually read, and nurtures ideas in a series of leather sketchbooks. Big fail. And, let’s be real. At age 51 and 30 or so years into this career, I can’t go back and document my actual process. I can only show you the haphazard pile of sketchbooks, studies, diaries, notes, essays, pages torn from magazines, and bits of writing on cocktail napkins and post-it notes. Also, who is going to care?
I kind of care, not because I want to leave a lasting legacy, lol, but because I am interested in seeing my journey, and connecting the dots so I can learn and decide what to do next. I fantasize about archival boxes, acid free tissue paper and glassine sleeves for my clearly labeled photos. All stored in a climate-controlled flat file. I will never have that and it’s time to let go. So what do I have, besides the "pile" I mentioned before? I have my art database, social media, blog posts and iPhone photos. This is actually a pretty good collection of "documentation" in my digital footprint. And all that Facebook and Instagram posting? It hasn’t been a waste of time after all.
Green is 2017 color of the year.
Actually, a color named Greenery. PANTONE 15-0343 On the Pantone website it is described as "A refreshing and revitalizing shade, Greenery is symbolic of new beginnings." I like this color and use similar colors in my painting. It will be interesting to see how Greenery will translate into fashion and décor. What do you think?
Decorating for the holidays is fun, but sometimes those pumpkins or bright Santas don't seem comfortable in front of you treasured art. Here are four things you can do to help your art and your decorations get along during the holidays.
Again after Newtown and Paris. Troubled times.
I hear myself saying, What is the point? Painting?
How does that do anything? It seems frivolous and somehow pointless.
Should I turn my brush toward expressing my political view? Trade my art for activism?
Paint doom and gloom?
I get it that artists, writers, and musicians can be reflective of what is happening around us. We need to be reflective, but you don’t have to change what you do, you have to continue. If you paint trees, continue to paint trees.
Paint the beauty. Paint the faces, the color and the joy.
Paint like it’s your job—that’s what artists do.
Really, you stop and read it over a few times. Maybe you write it down in the margin of your calendar or copy and paste it into the notes section of your phone. Maybe you print it out and tack it to the bulletin board in your studio. You might even get those words tattooed onto your arm. Because, well, you don’t want to forget them. But you do.
Sometimes those forgotten words keep following you, popping up again and again.
This quote from John Cage is one of those for me.
“When you start working, everybody is in your studio—the past, your friends, enemies, the art world, and above all, your own ideas—all are there. But as you continue painting, they start leaving, one by one, and you are left completely alone. Then, if you are lucky, even you leave.”John Cage
I love this quote!! I find it comforting and inspiring, like a push. He vividly lists the sources of the baggage that we bring to creating. I can see all of the people around my easel between me and the canvas. Then he reminds me how to get past it, telling me to keep painting and get out of the way. and sometimes I listen.
What happened when I got stuck and stopped making art?
I worried about stopping.
I was confused about stopping.
I investigated my confusion. I got information. I talked.
I made a new plan. I stopped procrastinating.
Then everything changed when I gave up worrying about getting stuck,
being stuck and staying stuck.
Now I just make art or I don’t.
Not being stuck, just being.
Even though last month was crazy busy, I decided to try a month long painting challenge. The idea is to paint every day and post a finished painting on the host website. There are no other rules.
Here is what I learned: