These days the 100 day project is coming to an end. The 31st ofJanuary was the starting day of the 100 day project– an international digital and free project inviting people around the world to take part in 100 days of creativity. The aim was to choose a personal creative project and dedicate each day a little span of time – something between 10 and 30 minutes – to this project. It was recommended to share the results with the internet community.
At the time when I learned about the project in January I was feeling very low and very uninspired. Probably I was exhausted from a very demanding year with all it’s threats and uncertainties caused by the pandemic and by quite some exhibitions I was taking part in or did organize myself. So my studio was deserted and nothing would motivate me to go in. I was hesitating to take part in this project – would I stand a project that took 100 days? Thats a very long time, more than three months! I decided to go for it, to be generous with myself and be content with what ever would come out of it. What did I have to loose?
“Can you think of a better time for a reset, a better time to turn our collective attention away from doom scrolling and to something inherently positive, life and soul affirming?”
This was the sentence that convinced me in the end! Nevertheless: very unexpectedly the project was a huge win for me! I am back in my studio with new ideas, plans and motivation! What more could I wish for?
As I said, I was generous with myself. I chose a project that was simple, feasible and I was sure, would give me pleasure. Color is my passion. The hashtag I chose for my project is #100daysofcolourcardsandmore. ( Meanwhile I learned that they are called color swatches :-)) Under this hashtag you find a lot of my results.
Opening up for new experience and learning was so rewarding.
What I can say from the very beginning, after 50 days and now again after 70 days: Engaging in the 100 day project was my key to break a stressful time. I was exhausted from an intensive year and had lost all my motivation after having presented in exhibitions and after nearly a year in the pandemic. You will know what I am talking about.
Against my personal prediction I stayed in the 100 day projectand it became key for not only breaking the mental stress but bringing new initiative and inspiration. The framework of my chosen project #100daysofcolourcardsandmore created a focus. Suddenly there was a thin but strong red threat to follow. It turned out to become a very enlightening and restful time in my studio.
There could have been no better way to stay tuned and get some mental holiday in these demanding times. It turned out to be a kind of self-care time, slowing down, exploring in depth, not hurried by the next event to work for and not under self expectation to create the next fantastic work. I did so many other things and had (and still have) such an entertaining time!
To do simple, but pleasurable work, slow down, break routines, being open for new things was a key to break the stress and get inspired again.
I started the color swatches with a limited palette, the Zorn palette. It is incredible, how many colors you get from only two colors and black and white. In the end I made an inventory of all the colors I found in tubes and pigments in my studio! An incredible mass! I read books – enjoyed very much the book from Brian Ruthenberg “Clear seeing place” and his videos which I highly can recommend. I did sketching in the nature, I learned how to make tiny artist booklets from one sheet of paper and I learned such a lot about color! And as I was in the learning mode, I even learned how to make home made rolls 🙂
I recently saw, that the question “How to start an abstract painting” got new interest. So I decided to add to this post a video about the process of starting a new large painting. Just watch how the first layers grow. If you want to see the finished painting, you will find it on Instagram here.
An artist friend asked me the other day: How do you start an abstract painting? I didn’t give her an answer yet. Now here is a series of photos that may tell a part of the story. But it is the story of these particular works. It may be quite different with other paintings I do or how others artists design their process. There are so many ways to start a new painting. Not all ways are invented by now.
How do I start an abstract painting?
When I was starting my painters journey about 20 years ago – after some very few lessons in working figurative – I was so lucky to visit a painting workshop by an Austrian artist. Her name was Fria Elften-Frenken. She lived in a beautiful kind of farmhouse on the Neusiedler Lake. She had studied in the academy of fine arts, Vienna and was well known. One of her remembered sentences was: “It took years to forget about what I learned and to start doing my own art.” Consequently she would provide us with materials but not with lessons and ideas. She was always ready to consult when we were stuck. But we had to find our own way.
Trust into yourself -its all about you!
I am lucky that I had this kind of start. That was what I was looking for in art. It is this kind of freedom. It allows you to do what you want. In a way, there is no right and wrong. If it is appreciated by others is a second questions. Art is a lot about expressing yourself. Of course there are many of things to be learned. About ways you can take, materials you can use and thousand other things. But what you do, how you get there and what result comes out of it, that is your own art.
How to cope with the „angst of the white canvas“
At the beginning another sentence was in my head about something artists experience: “the angst of the white canvas”. I don’t know where I had heard it and why it stuck in my head. But influenced the steps I took.
Read on how I handled that „Angst“ and watch the beginning of a large painting
The other day a friend visited me to have a talk and some demonstrations for painting. My friend loves art and wants to give it a try for herself. She has seen a lot and has a taste for art. But she has nearly no experience with using a brush. One of her questions was: How do you start a new panting? Actually a good question and a difficult answer.
How to jump on a white canvas?
Starting a new painting is always somehow exiting – at least for me. I never know where this journey will lead me to – and seldom I make plans which I then will not follow. In the end my start is always fed by the impulse of the moment. The most I have in mind is a color direction. Maybe there is even a theme deep back in my more unconscious brain.
If you are love the feeling of being part of a community, part of a team, part of a group that shares same values or goals, how do you maintain it in this special times of physical distance? I want to introduce you to newly developed ideas that got me excited and of which I want to be part off.
It is great to see how much creativity is burstig out in face of the complete interruption of our daily routines!
I found in Instagram an idea that I am going to share and will share with you! Its an Artist support Artist Initiative! I don’t remember that I ever have seen this! What’s the idea behind it?
In short: Artist offer artwork for not higher than 200 € in Instagram and Facebook. When they have gained 1000 € they will by an artwork from a fellow artist in this initiative. So this would be a 20% donation. I will post paintings in this or under this range and decided to buy an artwork from a fellow artist, when I have earned 500 €. So keep your fingers crossed that my action will bring success! You can help, of course if you ever have been thinking to become a collector!
We have the motto “Stay home – flatten the curve”, we have the time of “Social distance” , time of shut down of useful and/or entertaining events in the outside world. I am very happy the Spanish government took a hard decision and I do hope that it was taken in time and will succeed saving many lives!!!
News from an artist in a closed down country
Here in Spain, where my husband and I spend the winter time, its a very severe close down. To leave the house is only allowed for: shopping food and medicine, medical appointments, going to work or other urgent and to be proofed matters. Allowed only one person in the car, only one person going out with the dog. Not allowed to use the fitness room in the urbanisation. We have high fines when not respecting the rules and there is quite some police outside to check. So it is a very serious “Stay at home”. After our first not yet fulfilled two weeks, we got prolonged house arrest; Stay at home till 12th of April.
How is your situation? How do you make the best of your of your time in the house?
If you aren’t busy in entertaining children, that have to stay home ( which will keep you very busy) but with grown up family or all alone, wouldn’t it be a chance to have all that time at hand to try something new? There is so much new to do in the house!!!! Internet courses can be something new: The internet is a great resource for so many things. You can learn practically everything when you go to You Tube. You can make photo books, which you always had in mind, you can visit the metropolitan opera (who offers everyday one opera for free to watch in the internet!), you can start reading all the books you didn’t read, join a library online, visit a museum (most of the known museums now offer virtual walks through their exhibition) you can clean out the house or finishing to knit all the pieces you started ( I think I have 4 waiting for me :-). Its also a great time for cooking and baking and much much more. From friends in Italy and here in Spain I hear they cleared out their wardrobe, painted the apartemente, cleaned the kitchen in depth, took perfect care for their garden and more.
Art could teach you something !!!
I focus more on the pleasant side of this time:
I made a list……what is your list? Clearing out the wardrobe or doing a daily yoga practice were on my list, but I concentrate on other things in the moment. I want to go for the most attractive things I always wanted to do but didn’t find the time to do.
I am taking this “Time out” as an opportunity to change the speed of living and working, to sleep and play a lot. For me its a great opportunity to “walk slowly”. Can you share your list with us? My list for the “Stay home and flatten the curve” time is:
I decided to experiment with painting – do things, I normally don’t do. I work on paper, I try new styles, I experiment, I copy artists I like and want to learn from – to have great fun and not head for achievements.
I sleep long
I booked an online Spanish grammar workshop
I take a lot of time for social media without feeling wasting my time
I try new recipes – I love to eat but never really take the time to cook with attention
and with my fellow artists from Costa del Arte Collective I think about new ways to present our planned exhibition “Sun and Shade / Sol y Sombra” which is planned for April and we are not at all sure that it may happen …27.03.2020 Now we know: it will not happen in April!!! We postponed it to October. If you want to be informed, let me know!
I am quite happy at the moment, but….
I enjoy to have time, nearly no duties and the opportunity to (re) discover my own rhythm there is an interesting BUT in self discovery: my own little devil. Most enjoyable, I am getting lazier and lazier….I can feel the stress that I was having in the last months slowly falling off. Becoming lazy for me is a good sign – at least I know it is.
Can you stand the feeling of being lazy, not achieving something? Let me tell you, it is a healthy sign. And you see, I am an achievement – addict. That’s why I thought of a method of painting that would give me a different and not achievement oriented go. We are only on day 4, so we will see how it goes….