Gull, 6 x 12 inches, acrylic on canvas. Day 1, November 19, 2007.
On November 15, 2007 I had a nasty fall while carrying some framed artwork. While working towards full mobility again I got quite grumpy. I decided a daily art project would take my mind off my wounds. People familiar with me or my website will know that I often create daily projects for myself. Anything from correspondence to carvings (for prints). If one exempts my journals the longest lasting of these projects has been my Daily Dots project. For almost five years, until her death on January 26, 2003 I drew my Alaskan Malamute bitch Dottie from life daily. A selection of these Daily Dots can be seen by clicking here (use your browser to return to this gallery as there is no return link).
Throughout the fall of 2007 I had been working on loosing up my painting style, letting go of some of the minute details I get caught up in. I decided that I would paint a bird painting every day for 30 days. I knew that I had a box of small canvases left over from another project. These canvases ranged in size from 6 x 6 and 5 x 7 inches to 8 x 10 inches. All the canvases were small enough to allow me to create a daily painting within a reasonable time frame each day. Working in acrylic with large brushes would allow me to loosen up my approach.
To further minimize the time needed for the project daily I decided that I would only use sketches I'd already created. My journals are full of bird sketches and it was to those pages that I turned for reference material. (See how indexing your journals really does come in handy?)
I set additional constraints for myself. I wanted to make each portrait an experiment in color theory, thereby pushing myself to use colors I don't normally use. I wanted to push out of my comfort zone. Also to speed up the process, because I was working on canvas, I elected to use acrylic paints.
I told myself I could only use the paints I had on hand. (I did end up buying an additional tube of titanium white.) The project was done with supplies already on hand and therefore needed no preparation. I recommend this approach of just jumping in. But I also recommend limiting the scope of the project in some ways so that it doesn't consume your days. The project needs to fit into the rest of your life, including your working life and home life.
Initially I also decided that I would use some gold paint on each canvas. (I'm a crow, what can I say?) As the end of the first week approached I was running out of gold paint and facing a 2 week mail order wait. I decided that the gold paint was one feature I would let go of. It made me think about composition differently, but then its absence created interesting challenges as well.
That's the basic background to this project. I will be starting a blog in 2008 (I hope by March) and I intend to discuss this project in more detail on the blog, as well as look at some photographs taken of works in progress. I hope you will check back to see when that discussion begins.
If you feel inspired to start your own daily project I'm glad. Create limits within which you can grow; be flexible but undaunted. Remember what the goal of your project is. You might not like every piece that you create, but the experience will yield intriguing and revealing results. (Everyone who has viewed the entire group has a different favorite.)
Note that currently these paintings are not for sale as I plan to show them as a group. You may write and enquire about matted prints if you are interested. After being shown the originals will also be for sale.
And for those of you who don't already know the drill, yes bird paintings are often self portraits.
BIRD A DAY PROJECT NEXT >
Painting © 2007 Roz Stendahl; All Rights Reserved