Lost mojo / the road ahead

My motivation to complete my 100 Days of Painting project has pretty much fizzled to zero. I tried to push through it for a while, but sheer stubbornness doesn’t seem to cut it for me these days.

I’ve learned that if I can understand why something’s happening, it’s easier to deal with. In this case, all the goals that I set out with – creating a painting practice, finding my style, selling my work, improving my skills – had been achieved.

So, I’m allowing myself to fail the 100 Days challenge, and I’m okay with that. I intend to keep making and selling my work, and I’ve got the exhibition (postponed to summer 2022) to work towards as well. There might even be some writing on the horizon, we’ll have to see what the future brings.

Week One of 100 Days of Painting #100Days2021

It’s been a week or so in to my 100 Days of Painting project, and I’m already behind! I’m not worried because it’s been a big week energy-wise, it’s a totally new routine for me, and I have this weekend to catch up. As it becomes more of a daily habit, it will be easier to commit (link to my Instagram feed here, and my online shop here).

A huge thanks to all of you have bought, shared, commented, and ‘liked’ my work! It has been a real boost to my motivation, and I am appreciative for all of it.

There were many reasons I started this project, the main being that I have an exhibition in November with my friend Anne-Marie ‘Artemis’ Jones (link is to her Instagram account). It’s been a while since I’ve done painting with any serious-ness and I was struggling with creating work for this exhibition, always questioning what I wanted to paint, how I wanted to paint, and whether that was really how I wanted to present myself and my work. I was also becoming increasingly frustrated at my limited skills, being out of practice for so long.

I’ve already learned so much! Gouache is fast becoming my medium of preference, with its vivid colours, ease of use, and ability to layer fantastically well. Wood is becoming my surface of choice, which I hadn’t expected. There’ll still be works on paper, because I like the texture I can get with paper, and that’s good for my more symbolist/self-expressionist pieces. The layers of paint build up and into each other, creating more subtlety in the paint itself, meaning I can be more minimalist with colour and form. I’d like to try painting on fabric, too.

When I paint on wood, the paint seems to sit on the surface, so the layers don’t blend in with each other. I love this for an impressionist/post-impressionist style of painting, as it allows me to fit so much colour into a small space. I can be a lot more creative with my brushwork, and in some ways more expressive.

Detail from day seven’s painting, showing layers of colour and varied brush strokes.

I have always tended to pour a lot of feeling into my painting, and I’m finding that I really only have one painting in me each day. This might change over time, but it’s a struggle for me to get into the mindset of one work and then switch over into a different one. There’s so much emotion – and even narrative – in each piece that I need some kind of palette cleanser in between (e.g. housework, gardening, or a good night’s sleep!). So my lesson going forward is not to get behind again! Although I will allow myself to paint extra pieces on days where I’m in the mood for it, to help me out on days when I’m creatively exhausted.

Work in progress showing one of my strategies for composition.

Alongside this project, I am chipping away at painting plans for the November exhibition. The theme is ‘Empty Vessels’ with work being around isolation and loneliness, and I have plenty of ideas floating about! The 100 days project is serving perfectly in helping to refine these ideas and be selective in the style of work I want to make for the show. It’s allowing me a space to develop my work, even if the works are not cohesive, before creating an intentional collection of pieces around a single theme. Sometimes I see my paintings for the 100 days project as practice for the ‘real thing’ at the end of the year.

I am looking forward to seeing how my work evolves, and to sharing my ideas & paintings with you. It’s been a joy to be creating again, and to be hearing such positive feedback around my work. Kia ora – thank you!

An older painting, acrylic on canvas, showing expressive brushwork and layering.