Preparing

 Portrait of Puddin' from last year's challenge

Portrait of Puddin' from last year's challenge

For many people, December is a great time for reflection and goal-setting. And although January 1 isn't really any different than any other day, it does provide the opportunity for a (perceived) fresh start. A clean slate. A renewed sense resolve and focus for the future and I believe there is great value in reviewing and learning from the successes, failures, and experiences of the previous year.  

The past 12 months have been pretty great and 2016 is already shaping up to be one of enormous (and slightly terrifying) changes for me. More about that later, right now I am frantically preparing for my second '30 Dogs in 30 Days' painting challenge. I love to start new paintings but actually finishing has always been one of the hardest things for me. How do you know for sure when it's really done? Is it ever really finished? Doesn't feel like it because I can always see something I would like to change or improve. But tackling a painting a day doesn't really leave much time for nit picking.

So here I am, only a few days out from my 2016 challenge and I feel pretty much the same as I did last year. (If you weren't able to follow along last January you can read more below, after this post.) Except now I know I can do it. I can actually paint 30 paintings in 30 days and (probably more importantly) I have a better idea of just how much time and energy it will really take. Something I grossly underestimated last year. 

So, in the spirit of learning from previous experiences, I've spent the past several weeks preparing. I've reviewed the Tunica Humane Society's entire year on Facebook. If you follow them you know just how much information is posted on their wall and if you don't trust me when I say it's a lot. After hours pouring over their feed, pulling images, and copying stories I created a spreadsheet with over 70 possible subjects.

 Quick screenshot of some of the planning and prep work...

Quick screenshot of some of the planning and prep work...

 

From there I spent another full day narrowing down the number of possible dogs to 38, building a tentative calendar, with the extras pups as backup, and physically preparing my studio. The afternoon was spent trying to determine the best canvas size, shape, and orientation based on the images I selected and making sure I have all the necessary supplies ready to go. Which is crucial because last year, I spent an average of 8-10 hours a day on this project; from drawing, blocking in the underpainting, reworking, adding details to photographing, uploading and editing images, writing blog posts, to packing and shipping paintings.  That all work leaves little time for emergency runs to the art supply store.

So while I finish getting my ducks in a row, I hope you will share this post with any animal or art lover you think might be interested in following along. The more people who know about this fundraiser the more money we can raise.

And if you are worried about missing out on a chance to purchase, be sure to subscribe to my newsletter and blog because I will always post there first :)

Happy New Year everyone!

xo.

December 2015

Thirty paintings in thirty days. Sounds like a lot. A whole lot. Probably more than any sane person should attempt while working multiple jobs. And as confirmation of my diminished sanity, I’m going to try it.  The 30 in 30 challenge is something I’ve considered (and thought better of) doing for several months now. In order to alleviate excuses not to participate, I thought I would try to give myself a purpose. Find a reason. Maybe try to do some good. It would be much harder to back out or quit halfway through if I knew someone was counting on me. 

Finding a cause was the easy part because, as many of you know, the Tunica Humane Society is an organization I support and feel strongly about. So when I was brainstorming ways to make this challenge meaningful to someone other than myself, it only seemed natural to build it around these special animals and the people who work tirelessly to care for them.

But I was still worried. Outside of the time and cost (paint, canvas, and brushes aren’t cheap) I had (and still have) other concerns. What if I can’t do it? What if the paintings are terrible? Not just a little terrible but really awful? Or a day isn’t long enough to finish? What if they don’t sell?  What if they’re just bad? I mean, embarrassingly bad? What if I get bored, lose steam, or life happens and I miss a day (or more)? What if the whole thing is an epic failure? I could go on… Yes, all these things might happen but what did I really have to lose? Pride? Sleep? I think I can live with that. So there it is, I won’t let myself be scared, selfish, or lazy. I have a purpose. I’m committed. But seriously, what if the paintings suck? 

Worry be damned, beginning January first, I will paint 30 Dogs in 30 Days and donate half of all the sales to shelter. (Yes, I know there are 31 days in January but just play along for now.) I will feature a new dog each day and post the painting on my blog, website, Facebook page and the challenge host’s blog (Artist Helping Artists.) All sales will be handled via my website.

My goal is not only to improve my painting and drawing skills but more importantly to raise money and awareness for a worthy cause. I hope you will join me on this journey and invite others. Please share my post, blog and website with everyone you think might be interested in buying a painting, adopting a dog, volunteering, donating or just following along. 

Happy New Year everyone!

 Here a few more of my favorites from last year :)

Here a few more of my favorites from last year :)

See you in few days.