I liven up my studio practice by participating in challenges. Joining an online challenge gives me a structure in which to give myself permission play. Generally, this type of challenge requires you to sign-up and post your work on a specific site. Using the site you may be able to interact with other artists and give and receive feedback. You can also post your work on Instagram or FaceBook on your own.
One of my favorite online challenges was 30 paintings in 30 days. September and January are popular months for this type of challenge. I decided on a few ground rules – to make landscapes on small canvases (4x4) with acrylic paint. I chose this direction because I don’t usually paint landscapes and I had some beautiful acrylic paint I had never used. I find that focusing on a specific intention for the challenge helps me relax into playing and exploring.
In the end I didn't love all the pieces I made during the 30 day challenge and I didn't become a landscape painter. I did spend a month learning not to over-think color or composition. I thought that was a worthwhile lesson.
Sometimes the idea of playing feels formless and daunting. Joining an online challenge can give you a little structure and make it easier to get out those never-used paints you bought on a whim.