Doing the work: 2. Using black for the darkest darks. Basically I worked on getting the Kandinsky painting in first. This is not how I usually works (three main values blocked in working slowly to details) but felt it best in this instance.

Doing The Work – The Best Thing About The 31-in-31 Challenge!

If you’re anything like me, you have a lot of plans to get into the studio to paint. But somehow, doing the work doesn’t come easy!

It’s a priority right? Well you wouldn’t think so most days. I blog weekly, I’m active in my HTP Facebook group (where we are all posting out 31-in-31 images), I post on social media, I continue to work on my next online course (almost finished the final edit – stay tuned!), and oh yes, there’s living my life! So where’s the time for actually painting?? I know you also have many things that keep you from doing the work too right?

Then along comes the 31-pastels-in-31-days challenge.

I remember last year, I was desperate to paint. Thus the Challenge came about through a desperation to get in the studio and put pastel to paper. And it worked! So there was no hesitation about running it again this year. And going by what’s happening with everyone who’s participating, it’s going to become an annual event!

So this year, with planning time and the idea (thanks Julia and Cam) to sell the work on my gailsibley.com website at a reduced price for the limited time of October and November, I was  determined not to miss a day.

Because of the Challenge, doing the work has become a habit through October, one I’m so grateful for. Hey, it’s only 31 days, not 365, and that makes it seem much more doable. And painting everyday? Gee willikers, does that feel good! And to have that feeling every day??!

Doesn’t get much better.

One of the things I have done this year is work in series. I wrote about the benefits of doing this a couple weeks ago. The 31-in-31 challenge offers an opportunity to explore things that you may want to paint but you just don’t get to them. That’s what happened to me.

I love laundry and I love watching people look at art. I’ve sooooo wanted to paint both. The blog on working on a series shows many of my laundry pieces (although there are more and you can see them on my website!). This time, I want to share with you some pieces from my Watching People Looking At Art series with a step-by-step progression through the last one.

I’ve restricted myself to a limited palette selected from Unison’s 36-piece set, and that’s a challenge in itself!!

Here are the five done so far:

 

Doing the Work: Day 20 - "Green Red Duo," Unison pastels (from 36-set) on UART 500, 12 x 6 1/2 in.

Day 20 – “Green Red Duo,” Unison pastels (from 36-set) on UART 500, 12 x 6 1/2 in. This is a scene from Guggenheim Venice and the painting is “Green Red” by Ellsworth Kelly.

 

Doing the work: Day 21 "Pondering Miro," Unison pastels on UART 500 paper, 6 x 6 in

Day 21 “Pondering Miro,” Unison pastels on UART 500 paper, 6 x 6 in. This was a scene I say at a Miro exhibition in Rovinj, Croatia

 

Doing the Work: Day 22 "Eye To Eye With de Chirico," Unison pastels on UART 600, 6 x 6 in

Day 22 “Eye To Eye With de Chirico,” Unison pastels on UART 600, 6 x 6 in. The de Chirico piece is at called “Nostalgia of the Poet” and part of the Guggenheim Venice collection.

 

Doing the Work: Day 23 "Stunned by 'Sum'," Unison pastels on UART 400, 11 x 6 in

Day 23 “Stunned by ‘Sum’,” Unison pastels on UART 400, 11 x 6 in. The original painting is ‘Sum’ by Alfonso Ossorio in the Seattle Art Museum.

 

Doing the work: Day 24 "Contemplating Kandinsky," Unison pastels on Pastel Premier white, 10 x 9 in. The painting shown is 'White Cross' by Vasily Kandinsky from Guggenheim Venice.

Day 24 “Contemplating Kandinsky,” Unison pastels on Pastel Premier white, 10 x 9 in. The painting shown is ‘White Cross’ by Vasily Kandinsky from Guggenheim Venice.

 

So let’s have a peek through the progression of the painting above. Once drawn up, this pastel took about an hour.

Doing the work: First the thumbnail to show three main values

First the thumbnail to show three main values

Doing the Work: 1. The drawing in 3H pencil. I started using this pencil in Ontario as I had forgotten to bring charcoal. Now I prefer using it I think!

1. The drawing in 3H pencil. I started using this pencil in Ontario as I had forgotten to bring charcoal. Now I prefer using it I think!

Doing the work: 2. Using black for the darkest darks. Basically I worked on getting the Kandinsky painting in first. This is not how I usually works (three main values blocked in working slowly to details) but felt it best in this instance.

2. Using black for the darkest darks. Basically I worked on getting the Kandinsky painting in first. This is not how I usually works (three main values blocked in working slowly to details) but felt it best in this instance.

Doing the Work: 3. The Kandinsky done and now beginning to work on the rest of the painting

3. The Kandinsky done and now beginning to work on the rest of the painting

Doing the work: 4. The young woman is blocked in.

4. The young woman is blocked in.

Doing the work: 5. More detail on the woman and working on the wall

5. More detail on the woman and working on the wall

Doing the work: 6. Work on floor, room beyond, and the wall

6. Work on floor, room beyond, and the wall

And the final again:

Doing the work: Day 24 "Contemplating Kandinsky," Unison pastels on Pastel Premier white, 10 x 9 in. The painting shown is 'White Cross' by Vasily Kandinsky from Guggenheim Venice.

Day 24 “Contemplating Kandinsky,” Unison pastels on Pastel Premier white, 10 x 9 in. The painting shown is ‘White Cross’ by Vasily Kandinsky from Guggenheim Venice.

Doing the work: Day 24 Contemplating Kandinsky, Unison pastels on Pastel Premier white, 10 x 9 in. In black and white. Checking my three main values.

Day 24 Contemplating Kandinsky, Unison pastels on Pastel Premier white, 10 x 9 in. In black and white. Checking my three main values.

Doing the work: Pastels used from the Unison 36-piece set.

Pastels used from the Unison 36-piece set. I didn’t use the two greens on the right except in the Kandinsky painting.

So that’s it.

And the main lesson here about doing the work? You can watch all the videos you want, read every pastelling book, attend workshops, but until you actually paint and paint fairly consistently, you won’t learn and develop as an artist.

So away with the excuses, the fears, the resistance to actually painting.  Get in the studio and PAINT!!

 

Remember, all my 31-in-31 pieces are available at half price for October and November so grab them while you can! Some have already sold but there are lots left. Just shoot me an email if you’d like to purchase or if you have any questions.

 

 

If you’re participating in the 31-in-31 challenge, I’d love to hear the best thing it’s done for you!! And please let me know if seeing the progression was helpful.

Until next time,

Gail

 

14 thoughts on “Doing The Work – The Best Thing About The 31-in-31 Challenge!

  1. Diane Mannion

    Gail, the best thing of the 31 in 31 days challenge was discovering how to simplfy my materials for sketching in the field. A handful of Nupastels and a piece of Canson Mi-teintes taped to a board worked wonders. By limiting myself I learned how to push these materials to new extremes. It will be exciting to get back to soft pastels and sanded paper with this new knowledge in my pocket.
    Thank you for this challenge and thanks to the warm community of artists posting online. Diane

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      This is fantastic to hear Diane! I love that you are pushing yourself by simplifying materials and finding out what they can do. And then the reward of soft pastels and sanded paper awaits! Thanks for being part of the Challenge and the warm community!

      Reply
  2. Ruth Burley

    The 31in31 day challenge has been very “challenging” for me. As you said, it’s very often hard to find time, so I’ve been easy on myself. BUT, it has motivated me to finish paintings started months ago, to try different types of paintings, to try different techniques, to experiment with different papers. Also, to see other artists from around the world share their paintings, struggles, growth, and love of pastels is exhilarating, and has again shown me how we are all the same human folks where ever we are on this planet. I’ve learned so much on this challenge. And I thank you for hosting it. The progression is always helpful to me since I’ve had only casual classes and can always appreciate knowing the mechanics behind yours and others wonderful paintings…. THANK YOU!!! P.S. I found my pic of looking at a painting, and I’m figuring out the best way to get it to you. Again, no pressure, no expectations.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Hi Ruth, Love your exuberant response! And yes to all those things you mentioned. It’s so fantastic to share with people all over this beautiful earth and yes, we are all human folk! Glad you have learned much on the Challenge and glad the progression was helpful 🙂

      Reply
  3. Ralph Klapis

    As a beginner, Just one of the benefits of the 31in31 challenge has been to almost instantly double my lifetime output! But each day, standing at the easel becomes more and more natural, and it gets a little easier to put that first mark on the paper. I haven’t posted every day, but I’ve worked a little each day, and really surprised myself a few times. Just doing the work, indeed! Thanks for all your enthusiasm and inspiration!

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Oh that’s so wonderful to hear Ralph especially the part about “standing in front of the easel becomes more and more natural”. Soon it will be a habit that cannot be ignored! Working everyday, even for a short while, is what it’s all about 😀

      Reply
  4. Marsha Schauer

    The 31in31 day challenge has made painting a priority , which is good. I hope a new habit has been formed. As a brand new artist, practice practice practice is what I need to do. Love Kandinsky, saw an exhibition of his work at the Guggenheim in New York City a few years ago.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      That’s fantastic Marsha. And yes, as you say, hope the habit sticks. That will be up to all of us though, to keep putting pastel to paper, to keep that a priority!
      How great to see a whole exhibition of Kandinsky’s work. He certainly broke new ground!

      Reply
  5. Helen Stephenson

    This challenge has helped me prioritize my painting and look for ways to make it easier to do. I now carry supplies in my car so I’m always ready for some plein air. It has also motivated me to submit three pieces in our local gallery for a December exhibit. Completely out of my comfort zone but done because of my participation in the 31 in 31 challenge!

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      That’s wonderful to hear Helen – that you were moved out of you comfort zone by 31 in 31 challenge. Brilliant! That’s where good things come.
      And great idea to carry art supplies in the car. Good for you!

      Reply
  6. Gina Carstens

    Already my second October challenge! The best thing? I normaly use to start from a photo, but during the challenge I painted more and more from IMAGINATION. I find this so fascinating that I would like to explore it further. Thank you Gail Sibley and all the nice people on HowToPastel for the likes and encouraging comments.

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      Gina I love that the challenge took you into work from your imagination. And they were stunning!! I hope you continue to explore this genre.

      Reply
  7. Diane O'Brien

    Hi Gail Thank you for organising the 31in 31days challenge. I wasn’t sure if I could do it but I became addicted. I haven’t done anything today so I’m having withdrawals but there is still time.☺I loved interacting with the other artists and it was great to see what others were painting. Got some great ideas for subjects and techniques. I feel that I have progressed as an artist and I am keen to try new things. So glad I participated. Thanks again. Loved all your paintings by the way.
    Diane O’Brien

    Reply
    1. Gail Sibley Post author

      And I’m so glad you participated too Diane especially hearing about all those benefits. It really is marvellous isn’t it?! Keep painting 🙂
      And thank you for the compliment about my paintings. I was pretty pleased with them.

      Reply

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