And just like that, the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Passion Color Joy challenge has come to an end. I’m somewhat in denial that it’s already the end of September, but both Travis and I are looking forward to our first real fall in years now that we are in the PNW!
I’m a few days behind on my 30 paintings in 30 days – as my friend Lauren told me, since I’m exploring the idea of home it makes sense that I didn’t paint while I was out of state! Some learnings from taking on this project as I wrap up this weekend:
Don’t get caught up in the numbers.
I still have a tendency to get caught up in the numbers. I check my @larkspurandlaurel account impressions regularly to see how many followers are saving my posts or interacting with them. A few days after I started the challenge, I actually became part of the dreaded Instagram shadowban. Cue brief freak out, and then quickly coming to the realization that it doesn’t really matter. While I love knowing that others find joy in the work I make, I didn’t become an artist for accolades or a “k” next to my follower number. I became an artist because it is who I am when I’m trying to make sense of the world around me. Rather than focusing on who is following me, I want to focus on the community around me.
I love watercolor.
Truth be told, I used to avoid watercolor at all costs. Honestly, I felt like watercolor was often associated with “beginners”. I can laugh at myself here – anyone who paints knows that watercolor is fickle and takes so much practice to know hot control the unpredictable nature of it! Throughout art school and up until I had my first encounter with aseptic meningitis, I painted almost exclusively with oil. My experience with aseptic meningitis has been a severe inflammatory response to IVIg, the treatment that I’ve been doing off and on for 7 years. After that first reaction I struggled with constant headaches and weekly migraines for well over a year. It made me sensitive to certain triggers like lights, sounds, and fumes. Even with odorless spirits and proper ventilation, I was often leaving studio hours multiple times during a session due the constant headaches. So I put away the oil paints and asked my advisor to show me the ropes of mastering watercolor. It has been a joy to challenge myself to only paint in watercolor during this project.
Paintings are ugly until they’re not.
Umm what? It’s not often that I sketch out the landscapes I’m painting. After prepping the paper, I start layering washes of color to block out the shapes and establish areas of contrast to build up form and depth. So basically, my work in progress shots are a hot mess. And then if I’m lucky, I put down just one more wash or add a few marks and suddenly it’s not an ugly mess. It’s a tree emerging from fog or a path winding into a grove of trees.
There is still so much to explore.
We still have so much exploring to do in this new home state of ours! We have yet to explore the Olympic National Forest, Mt. Rainier, Nisqually National Wildlife Rescue or venture up to Bellingham for Mt. Baker. Most of the paintings in this series are from: Orcas Island (and the ferry ride over), Olympia, Millersylvania State Forest, Tolmie State Park, Priest Point Park, and the good old standby of the empty lot behind our apartment.
Thank you so much for the support and encouragement during this project! These will released for sale at larkspurandlaurel.com next week!