What I Learned from Taking a Social Media Break This Week

This gorgeous color wheel study, provided by one of my meticulous students. Thanks susan Gottschalk!

This gorgeous color wheel study, provided by one of my meticulous students. Thanks susan Gottschalk!

Last weekend I had the honor of teaching a 3-day workshop for the first time at the Donna Downey Studios in North Carolina. It was a glorious occasion and I painted with some of the sweetest ladies I could have hoped for. Stepping away from the online side of things for the weekend and engaging with artists in person was a much-needed change of pace.

After reflecting on such an intense year, and recognizing that in a few short days I would be starting my 30 paintings in 30 days challenge, I decided to reign it in and cancel all work-related Instagram and Facebook activity for a week. Well, 4 days to be exact but that's basically a business week over here.

Here's what I learned:

  1.  Managing two Instagram accounts, a Facebook group of 1,900+ artists, and keeping up with my account here is a full time job. 
  2. I need to hire more help and fast. Having support staff to help manage the different facets of my art business and consulting is crucial for me to stay in shape.
  3. I was able to be way more productive in my business when I unplugged for a few days. 
  4. I was able to focus on self-care more easily. I caught up with a few healthcare visits, visited my grandma, and spent my 29th birthday at the mall like a normal person. (PS I treated myself to some Madewell jeans for the first time and I did not know a pair of jeans could make you so happy. They cost a pretty penny, but you will never want to put your toosh in another piece of denim again.)
  5. I got out of the addictive loop of likes and comments and also couldn't run to them when I needed a distraction.
  6.  My time felt like my own for the first time in a long time.
  7. It is slightly scary to think the online world has imploded and may build up your anxiety to check it even for a second 
  8. I have more self-control than I thought I did. And coming back to the "work" that is social media is hard. 
  9. Social media is still a vital part of my business and how I support myself, but it is not the only part.

Have you ever tAKEN a social media hiatus?

Screen Shot 2017-09-01 at 9.03.29 AM.png

I intend to schedule more of these throughout the rest of this year. I never realized how much time and energy I was expending. It's nice just to be able to tell people, email me at info@amirarahim.com if you need anything and walk away. 


#AMIRAPAINTS30DAYS

pre-sale-44.jpg

Today marks the first day of my self-inflicted 30 paintings in 30 days challenge 😝 and so you can expect me to make up for the absence this week with a months worth of original paintings from my studio to flood your screens.

If you'd like to get on my collector list for the 30 paintings and get special updates on new originals from my studio this month, sign up below:

After this I'll probably want a pina colada off the coast of Jamaica. Like for real 🌴🌴🌴

Reflecting on 30 in 30

A collage of my completed works in January.
A collage of my completed works in January.

Good morning! It's a week past January 2015 and I'm still recovering from the amazingness of last month. As many of you know, I committed to completing 30 paintings in 30 days for the first time. The challenge showed me a lot of things about myself, my work ethic, and interests. Equally, I learned a lot about my fans and supporters. It was such a high energy time and I enjoyed it immensely.

I managed to paint 30 paintings in the 30 day span, although some of them were not shared (commissions, studies). It was fun to post a painting each day and know that my audience were expecting it and would hold me accountable if I didn't. I didn't have any sales goals. I wanted this to be a space for me to push myself creatively, and I'm happy to say that I did.

Within the first week, to my pleasant surprise, paintings started to sell. Some collectors even came back for seconds, and thirds! I wanted my work to be accessible if anyone decided to buy, so I kept the works relatively small and their prices as well. Thank you all for the comments, sharing, and support.

I'm happy to say, once counted, I sold 21 original paintings last month, 17 of which were a part of the 30 paintings challenge. I believe the momentum of the whole occasion had somewhat of a ripple effect. What a great way to start the new year!

Here are a few things that I learned throughout:

  1. You can and should stretch your creative muscle. Don't be afraid if the ideas aren't fleshed out to perfection each day. Just show up and work. The rest will take care of itself in the studio.
  2. You can change your mind or idea about a subject. I initially thought I would paint very true to form faces. Instead, I wandered off the beaten path and explored what was more interesting to me. Abstract figures, veiled women, and spunky curly girls were more entertaining to me then getting an accurate portrait or resemblance of someone.
  3. Anxiety will creep in, it will make you feel like giving up. Don't listen. Ignore the smallness telling you that you can't finish what you started.
  4. Working on sets and series is a great way to keep up with your creative ideas! Instead of waiting for one day at a time to start each idea in your head, jump on 4-5 canvas in one day. You can finish one or none but just having them started is a big help in my creative process.

That was me. For those of you that did the 30 in 30 challenge or witnessed another artist participating, what did you think about it all?

xx

30 in 30: Day 9 Abstract Figurative Painting

jumuah abstract painting by Amira Rahim Hey guys! Hope you had a great weekend. It's Sunday, which means back to work here in the Gulf. Friday was so much fun for me. I really took a day off which I don't usually do. I went to Jumuah prayer at a mosque in town, and then afterwards had lunch at Wafi Gourmet. The views of the Corniche and the weather was just magnificent. Afterward, I met with a good friend of mine who was hosting a friend of her own in town.

We did A LOT in a short amount of time, including visiting the Reflected Light exhibition on Manarat Al Saadiyat, drinking 24-karat gold cappuccinos at Emirates Palace, and a Moroccan bath! Have you guys ever tried this before? Anyway, it was a truly relaxing day with lots of firsts. I would love for all my future Fridays to be this breezy! Let's see if I can keep this up.

About the painting: It is abstract in nature, but you can make out elements of architecture, mosques and city in the foreground. The veiled women in abaya are added as a compositional element and complete the story. Reminiscent of Abu Dhabi life. To purchase, visit here.

Thanks for viewing!

30 in 30: Day 7 Souk Painting

colorful abstract portrait painting by a Day 7. Today was a tough painting day for me. I started the day already anxious about fitting painting in and having time for some other commitments in the evening. And so, I started my day in the studio as usual right after breakfast. I can't say painting this was easy.

"Afternoon Tea" was painted from some photos I snapped in Dubai while visiting the old souk with my friend. She is Somali and we gathered around her aunt's shop that day to have the delicious cardamon tea just before maghrib, hence the title. I love the contrasts in the black and white, as well as the colorful background. And I am pleased with the overall product. But, today especially, I'm noticing a resistance in my hand. It is like I don't want to perfectly render facial features anymore. After all, I am a self-professed abstract artist. These are the most realistic paintings I have done in years and it's breaking me somehow. I'm not quite sure what's going on here or what the next three weeks will look like.

I feel like I may veer into abstract faces with a whimsical, illustrative style. Or even abstract figures with no faces at all. Just blank voids. This seems more natural than what I have been doing these last few days. I'm struggling to find my voice in this challenge and that's mainly because there is no downtime. By the time I post the day's painting, the day is over and I'm trying to piece together what will be my assignment for the following day.

If any of you out there have done the 30 in 30 painting challenge before, or doing it now, is this how it's supposed to feel? Am I outdoing myself here aiming for 30 perfect paintings?

Hope to hear from you xx

30 in 30: Day 2 Abstract Portrait Painting

   

"Green Scarf" 12x12" acrylic on panel

Day 2. This was much easier. I forgave myself for not being a perfect painter, and instead embraced what makes me different. This piece felt very emotive as I painted it. I knew right away that I wanted to work with a green/blue/violet color scheme. And to my surprise, I actually stuck with it (I can be pretty spontaneous when I'm painting so this was new for me). I resisted my urge to use a lot of colors or make it more vibrant.

In the end, I really like the final piece. It's kind of haunting, and the veil adds a mysterious touch. I think I could paint veiled women over and over again. This was very fun to create and I didn't fuss to much about getting the facial features precise or that detailed. Everything was pretty intuitive and in the moment. Maybe I can find a happy medium in between my love for abstract art and realism.

Thanks for reading!