On June 30th I completed my third (!!) 12 hour art project. The project just consists of making art for twelve hours straight. Simple. It has been a great experience all three times but I felt especially inspired during this most recent 12 hour adventure. The main difference between this time and the first two experiences is that I did not allow myself to work on art for other people. I have five different clients waiting to get their commissions at the moment but chose to make this project only about exploration and making art that I wouldn’t normally make–mostly because someone hasn’t asked me to make it for them. I’ve found this is the only way for me to really move forward in exploring new styles and content in my work. I’m always surprised and encouraged by the results.
Enough of the introduction though, let’s get into what I did with the time!
1: Make a List. I am always nervous about going into the twelve hours and not knowing where to start or what to do. I’m excited to see what inspiration hits me at the time but what if nothing does? So I chose to make a list of things to explore during the time. The ideas for the list came from inspiration drawn from looking at other people’s art that I follow, interesting subject matter I stumble on in my reading, and other general things that hit me. Here’s the list I started the day with:
- moons in watercolor
- portraits/face illustrations
- art journaling
2: Tell people. It’s a lot harder to give up on a plan or challenge when you’ve told other people about what you’re going to do. It is also a lot more discouraging when you’re going through a difficult challenge and you don’t have people cheering you on. So I told people with this IG photo the night before. And I asked them to follow along from 7am-7pm (EST) as I posted hourly updates of my progress and work.
3: Get enough sleep. I am not a morning person but I would like to be. I decided to start this one earlier in the day because I am usually at my most creative in the mornings. The last two times I did this project, I chose to sleep in a little and work from 10am-10pm. This worked fine but I decided to change my times up a bit. So I went to bed early instead.
7am Bright and Early.
Here we go! Posted my 7am shot on IG and dove into some art journaling.
Cranking through the morning.
I took some notes as I went along and noted the times next to them.
9:23am – key to not getting discouraged: set it aside and move on. come back to it if inspired to.
10:03am – I keep hearing people say, “Why would you ruin the rooster painting with a drawing of a chair?” I think it’s funny.
10:26am – This will be the first time I’ve left pencil marks in my watercolor painting. Also the first time I did a painting all in black. (referring to the black and white figure painting below)
Seriously the time just flew.
1:13pm – Bugs are fun! I’m going to do an hour of them. Also it’s really interesting how the random phrases I put on the “collages” end up tying my two illustrations together.
1:16pm – Can you imagine being this beetle’s mom and having to explain to him why he looks like that?
3:57pm – not wanting to force crystals on this fish but that is the point right? To force two things together to see how they interact?
5:00pm – Man note to self – work on gems! Those angles are so tough for me.
6:46pm – Waiting for my layer of blue paint to dry. I’ve been thinking about why I don’t sketch from life more and I think it’s because everything around me seems boring. Which isn’t true–everything is interesting if you look close enough. Hopefully my new sketchbook will encourage more plein air sketching.
When I’m done with something this intensive, I usually try to have some reflection time to write down what I learned about myself and contemplate how my art direction can change. Here are the notes I wrote down right after I was done:
My main struggle today was not getting bored with the “normal” type of art that I can do and probably get really good at. I just wanted everything to be interesting and have a purpose bigger than ‘this is pretty’. I was way more concerned about starting a conversation or thinking up art that might start a conversation.
So that’s it. I came up with a few different series ideas for art that I’m going to refrain from sharing here so I can post about them later in more detail. Stay tuned for those!
Thanks so much for reading this long post. I’ll keep you posted for my August 12 hour adventure!