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 21 Hand-painted iPad Cover

Hand painted iPad Cover, not for sale Hey hey! Back. It's January 21st right? haha, I'm so behind. I've been painting around the clock, but I'm learning that with the Daily Painting series, more jobs come up. You get commissions. You get busy. And so, I am just going to pretend it's the 21st because I am trying really hard to keep up!

This weekend, I got to visit some of my first sold paintings here at a collector's home in Abu Dhabi. She was kind enough to invite me over and see all of the art in her home. I'm pleased to say, she has well over 10 pieces of my work, ranging from watercolors, camels, and landscapes. One of the perks of selling/buying local is that you can keep in touch!

Well, in between my other work, I decided to just paint my iPad cover. I use it so much in the studio and I hate to admit, it was getting pretty "artsy" with paint accidentally being placed on the cover. The cover itself was on a nice, textured material and was teal colored. I applied my acrylics directly over it and just had fun with it. I inadvertently painted something very similar to my original "Dancing in the Rain" painting, which coincidentally sold the same day!

After I painted it, I signed it and sealed it with a sprayed varnish to keep it protected from the elements. Now I can take a piece of my art with me wherever I go!

Fun and functional. :)

P.S. My initial photo is blurry, so here's a little more from my iPhone.

The cover, with its matching painting :)

amira rahim_ipad cover painting

A Day in the Life: My Perfect Day

I've been thinking a lot about purpose and the direction I want to go in for the years ahead. One good exercise to try, is to write down your perfect day. Apparently, by visualizing what a perfect day would look like, you can tap into how to organize your life. After all, a life is but a series of days right? And since artists are a pretty unique set of people (we're kind of ADD, we don't like too much organization, or we do, we can be verrrrry introverted, making art and thinking about it can make us pretty neurotic), I decided to discover what my own day looks like.

Here it goes:

6 am. I'm a pretty early riser (When did that happen? I don't know.) But I usually wake up pretty early and do some spiritual exercises, breathe for a bit, and then grab some water or tea and head to work ->>>> STUDIO.

I love color. Stepping into my studio feels like I'm receiving a big color hug!
I love color. Stepping into my studio feels like I'm receiving a big color hug!

My studio is the other bedroom in the flat, so I have no commute. Beats my 2 hour commutes to and for NYC every day for my last job!

I like to paint very early in the morning. The light is just right. My energy is usually at its highest. And, so is my ability to take risks. I also find that working in the morning relives me of any anxiety in the day. It's like, whatever else happened that day, at least I got to paint. This also helps me manage my time as an artist because when I wake up, painting is usually the first thing on my mind. I can't wait to paint!

It gets messy. But, that's part of my process. I don't like to paint in the lines!
It gets messy. But, that's part of my process. I don't like to paint in the lines!

7 am. After some time in the studio, I take a break and usually prepare breakfast. 

8 am. After breakfast and a shower, I'm usually back in the studio. And this is where the real painting time begins. I put on some of my favorite podcasts (usually Artists Helping Artists and lately, The Abundant Artist Podcast) or some music and just zone out. My work, at its core, is about love, happiness, and our journeys to find it. So, I try to keep myself pretty happy and energized when I'm making my art. This means lots of dance breaks, warm tea close by, and a soothing incense or essential oil burning in the background.

1pm. By now, I'm probably too hungry to ignore. I love food! So if I'm not having lunch at home, I usually will try and meet a friend for lunch in Abu Dhabi. The nice thing about living here is the abundance of cafes and restaurants, as well as many women who also work from home or are housewives (gosh, I hate that word).

2 pm. After lunch, I'm usually at my laptop. I love connecting with people. Sharing. And social media. Fortunately, it goes hand in hand with my business, since most people find my art online. I spend time updating my website, taking photos of any new work, and sharing them via my social media platforms. I'm not that much of a blogger (did you notice? ha), but I do try and keep up with a post or two every once in a while.

I try to keep some plants or flowers in my home. It really adds life to the otherwise desert  terrain surrounding us.
I try to keep some plants or flowers in my home. It really adds life to the otherwise desert terrain surrounding us.

4 pm. What? 2 hours on Pinterest?! I then usually have some errands to run. Mailing any orders out, getting my prints, meeting new customers, working with my framer, are just some of the business tasks I deal with in a day. I frequently have people visit my studio, and since it's in my home, I try to be flexible with the time for this.

6pm. Dinner time. 

"Jumuah" is a 12x12" piece on canvas that I started yesterday morning.
"Jumuah" is a 12x12" piece on canvas that I started yesterday morning.

8 pm. I'm back to thinking about my art. If I can manage, I'll go back in the studio and pull together some work I started earlier. Or, I will post any new updates on Facebook, manage my Etsy shop, or just read an informative article or resource.

10 pm. Zzzz.

That's pretty much it. Obviously it doesn't always run that smoothly. Life comes up. Some days I spend more time on the computer and managing my business when a lot of orders or deadlines on commissions come up. But overall, my days are pretty much like the above. Not a whole lot of socializing, but I love it when I get to make time for friends. I also want to make more time for exercise in the future.

I guess from the above, I learned that at this stage of my life, art making is really the priority. I'm not too worried about getting into galleries, being famous, or anything like that. Nothing wrong with that though.  I'm just in a pretty intimate space in my practice and I'm lucky enough to have a market for the type of art I like to create.

I suppose in a few years, my days may look a lot differently. I'll probably spend more time on the marketing and sales side of my business as oppose to the creative output. I may be more social in the future, and offer classes and fun workshops with other artists. I would love to inspire others to create art and follow their bliss. For now, most of my connections are generated online and that's okay.

What would your perfect day look like?