16 Paintings in 16 Days is Complete

The 16 birds are now done.  You can see the whole collection in the 16 Paintings In 16 Days Gallery.  I managed to do all but 2 of them consecutively.  The last two were finished after a week’s delay. I had to complete a few deadlines before returning refreshed to my easel to complete the challenge.  I consider it successful challenge despite the timing hiccup.  It taught me a lot, and yielded a body of work that I am pleased to have.

All the Birds in Chronological Order

All the Birds in Chronological Order

The challenge involved a lot of posting on social media.  The day after I finished the last bird, I transitioned abruptly into a “dark week”.  It’s part of the Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron (a book that is sure to heal any creative blocks you are facing and help you set goals – it’s awesome!).  This “dark week” is a suggested exercise where you avoid going online as much as possible, and you try not to read or listen to music.  It helps you hear your inner voice, taking away a lot of the noise of the outside world.  It always feels muted and surreal, but this time was especially a large contrast with the prior days of massive online connection.  During a quiet period, my dreams become very vivid and I get a lot done.

I took part of my quiet time to give the paintings their final touches.  I made sure they were all painted on the edges, and signed on the right side.  I like the way it looks on the wall with the gallery wrap edge and signature on the right side since the image is so small.  I sometimes opt to paint my small pieces this way so that the signature can be extra large without overwhelming the image and I also feel it becomes part of the style of the painting in an unusual way.  It gives you a little something to look at from the side of the piece.  If people prefer to frame the painting, it’s okay because the signature will be hidden, but it is still there for ID purposes.  With this kind of design, framing is optional. It looks modern and finished as is.

Signatures on the edges of each bird painting

Signatures on the edges of each bird painting

I finished each painting by applying a very tough topcoat on them.

Birds in progress

Birds in progress: receiving a top coat

Because some of them are metal-leafed, they need the strength of that topcoat to protect the surface from scratching.  The rest also got a layer of topcoat just because it makes the collection more cohesive and I liked the look. The gloss coat deepens the colors and makes them look more like when I placed the paint on the canvas.  I wired the paintings for hanging and now they are all ready to ship or display or sell – whatever happens to them, they are ready for the world.

My 16 little bird paintings are perched all over my studio waiting for their debut.  They will be taking wing as the centerpiece of my show at Gallery on the Pali coming up in December of 2016.  You can see the details in my events calendar.  It has directions and all the details, but I hope if you can join us for the reception on Friday December 9, 2016 from 6 – 8 pm. It’s truly fine by me if they sell prior to the show, however.  Most paintings are available for sale, and can be shipped priority anywhere in the US for $15.  If you need international shipping, please contact me to get a free no-obligation quote.  Some of them are also available on gift items or as prints on RedBubble. I’ve been very pleased with the quality of their printing. Click here to see all my available art on RedBubble.

16 Paintings in 16 Days for 2016

A few of the completed bird paintings in the series by Wendy Roberts

My studio wall with six of the completed bird paintings

Artists thrive by taking inspiration from other artists.  In the past, I have seen other artists undertake the challenge of creating a sketch a day, or a drawing a day with various themes.  For example, Inktober – a set of 31 drawings in ink, or the “Artists Helping Artists” 30-day challenge.  After hearing about the virtues of this high-productivity commitment, I decided to try it for myself, but I didn’t want to wait to do it with a large online group, and I also wanted to make sure I could finish the challenge, so I chose 16 days.  The reasoning is that I am a perfectionist.  I want all my pieces to be strong and fully developed.  I also wanted to set a number that seemed mildly crazed, but not so many that I would be ragged by the end because I have two large painting goals going on simultaneously.  Since this is my first attempt at something like this, I figured I should do about half of a month.  I set some parameters to my challenge:

  1. I will create 16 paintings by the end of October.  This will leave me a couple of days for emergencies, and a couple of days to dedicate to a visit from our family. Painting with this type of daily commitment is rumored to set up some good habits and teach the artist a lot in a short time.  And for me, it will help me maintain fresh eyes while working on the very large pieces I am painting.  Almost every day I am already putting a few hours in on a huge waterfall landscape or my second Internet Series painting (depending on my mood).  It’s nice to alternate between multiple pieces so that I don’t get discouraged working on one large piece that takes time to be completed.
  2. Each painting is 5″ X 7″ I set this size knowing that I want good quality pieces that are complete by the end of the day.  I wanted a size that would allow me to create a fully finished piece each day while making progress on my other projects. I also know this is a good size for people who want a gift for the holidays but don’t have the budget to buy a large piece right now.
  3. Many of the pieces will involve the style I call “Tropical Leafing”.  I am working gold, silver, or copper leafing into tropical subjects in various ways, whether it is the background, delicate outlines, or joyous patterns, I want to experiment and discover the best ways to use metal leafing in these small paintings.
  4. Every painting must be very polished – I can choose to do a loose, painterly style, or a tight realism, but every piece should be an attempt at a piece worthy of a show or gallery.  I am putting my all into each piece so that despite the small size, they pack a punch.
  5. I am accountable to the Internet via my site, Facebook, and Instagram. Also, to my friend and fellow artist, Dawn Yoshimura.  You can see her work on her site or on her “Dawn Yoshimura Studio” Facebook Page.  She will not be posting every day, but she is sketching, and creating some really beautiful work. She says she will post at least some of them.

I am only two days in on this challenge, and I already see that it is going to be a good experience for me.  I feel the correct level of discomfort for growth.  I am very excited to find out what this will look like at the end.  I am going to set up a special gallery with just my 16 paintings. I will also be blogging the experience, so you can look for the posts in the category “16 paintings in 16 days 2016” to read all my posts.