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?

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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

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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 🌴🌴🌴

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!

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 8 Abstract Portrait Painting

  "Not a Self Portrait" 12x12" on canvas panel

This painting happened by accident. Essentially, all good paintings do. I was struggling with a portrait of a woman and after several wipes, just decided to ruin it. Completely express what I was feeling. Defeat, frustration, exhaustion. When I finished, I realized I painted myself, in some roundabout way because by the end of it all, I captured exactly what I was feeling. If that's not art, I don't know what is haha

Here's to pressing on, right?

Good night xx

30 in 30: Day 3

 

Day 3 entry. This was a pleasant surprise. I started the day early and confused about what direction to go in. I sketched a few animals, half painted an abstract scene of women, and then went out for some errands. I discovered my muse while out, and then rushed home to paint her, Habiba Da Silva that is. You can view her photos on Instagram at @lifelongpercussion

I love how saturated and colorful her face is, and how subdued the background played out. "Muçulmana" is the Portuguese word for Muslim woman. I thought it was fitting, since she is of Brazilian (and Lebanese heritage).

On another note, I'd like to just mention, that it's important to embrace what makes us different. Curly hair. Brown skin. Whatever it is. It's our differences that build strength and character in the end, as long as we learn to love it. Takes courage to be different though. Hats off to the confident women not afraid to stand out from the crowd.