Facing the 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

And so it begins...Another year, a new beginning. It's January again and that means it's time already for the annual 30 paintings in 30 days challenge. It is hosted every year by Leslie Saeta on her art blog and this year, I'll be joining nearly 1,000 artists worldwide to paint and share a painting everyday.

I'll be honest with you guys, I'm not terribly excited. I painted sooooo much in this past year. Actually, I just finished releasing a new collection of abstracts two days ago! I put everything I had into those last pieces, and yet somehow, I'm committing to an even greater challenge. Not 8 paintings, but 30!

The cool thing is about the 30 in 30 painting challenge, however, is that you can make it as tough as you want, or as easy as you want. They can be drawings, small paintings, large, complex, simple. There are no rules. 

Last year, it was the very first time I completed the 30 in 30. I was so tough on myself, I thought by trying something a new subject (faces) and committing to it publicly that I would be focused and know exactly what to paint each day. I thought I wouldn't get bored because I don't typically paint faces. Well guess what? I did. It's not my passion and there's a reason why faces don't normally show up in my work. I'm not a portrait artist, and subjecting myself to such constraints in an already stressful time-sensitive process was not smart. And by the end of the first week, I was dreading the passage of each day.

This year, I'm taking a whole different approach. I am not setting any rules, not overthinking it, and just remembering why this challenge is so helpful. It's about showing up each day and doing my very best in the studio. It doesn't have to be perfect. Not every painting has to be a hit, but I will try.

My inspirations have been pretty consistent lately, and I'm sure much of my upcoming work will reflect it. I want bright colors. I want lots of white space. I want texture. I want happy. We need more happy.

I will be sharing the new pieces  on Instagram under the hashtag #amirarahim30in30.

Hope you can follow along!

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