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Tuesday, January 8, 2013

And So It Ends....

When I started the 100 Painting Challenge back at the end of 2009, I wasn't really sure where it would go or if anyone would really grasp the concept of quantity over quality. If you're still wondering about it, think about this: it is a foregone conclusion that you do your best every time you touch pen, pencil or brush to paper. Ever try to paint, sketch or draw a bad, horrible piece of work?

It's nearly impossible.

So, if quality is taken care of, what's left?


Quantity gives many gifts in return for doing the work. Chief among them is the habit to create work on a regular basis. There is also the opportunity to explore your chosen medium or the way you work for a concentrated amount of time.

However, I've always thought one of the greatest gifts that working in quantity brings is the ability to recognize that perfection is not needed nor necessary when creating. Instead of getting caught up in whether the work is a success or failure, the challenge encouraged each artist to simple move on to the next, and then the next painting. To keep going no matter as to whether the work was deemed a success or a failure.

Learning not to judge our work in the moment, to simply move forward is a key element to being a successful artist.

Throughout the years, many artists have made their way to the 100 Painting Challenge and have successfully completed the challenge. A few have started but have not been able to complete it due to circumstances beyond their control, but ALL of the artists that have happened this way have found a value to the challenge and felt stronger as an artist for having participated.

Many friendships have formed around the challenge and I am so very pleased to have been a part of the journey these artists have been on as well as enjoying the constant parade of growth and expansion that has been evident in the works posted.

As the old saying goes, all good things must come to an end and so it is with the 100 Painting Challenge. The time has come for me to move forward with new and different challenges. So after three glorious years, the Challenge is closing.

I invite you to continue to visit the blogs of the women who have participated in the challenge so that you may continue to witness the growth and be a part of their journey. 

Cathy Orfall (no blog)

Dora Themelis

Kristin Link

To those of you who thought of joining the challenge but did not, I hope you will consider doing a challenge on your own. Make yourself accountable to others by setting goals and letting others know what you want to accomplish. It will make it easier. I also hope that you'll get started today, or as soon as you possibly can so that you can begin to garner the rewards of such a challenge.

To all you who have stopped by and visited, left comments of encouragement and cheered the participants on, I thank you—you made the challenge sooooo much easier and enjoyable.

I wish each of you the very best in your journeys forward.

Take care,


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Elva #100!!!

Blackbuck fawn on Aquabee paper

Canada Goose on Aquarius II paper

Great Egret on Aquabee

I did it!  For the second time I've finished The Challenge.  I'm so glad it did it.  Picking up a paint brush has become part of my life -- in a very different way than for my first 30 years of painting.  I started out always doing 'finished work.'  I seldom gave myself the freedom to experiment.  Laure Ferlita (creator of the 100 Paintings Challenge) opened my eyes to a whole new way of approaching art ... jump in, do it, be comfortable making mistakes, learn from the mistakes ... and have fun along the way.  It has been so liberating.

In the past, if I had an idea and didn't know how to handle it, I seldom tried.  I stayed in the safe zone.  Now it is fun to give it a try ... some work, some don't.  

This time around in the challenge I make a point of using different papers.  I wasn't as conscientious about that as I would have liked.  I still have papers on the shelf to try.  But I did convince myself that paper is an important part of the process.  That doesn't mean one has to have a dozen types on the shelf, but it does mean some results are very dependent on the type of paper used.  

I paint a lot in sketchbooks since I paint a lot in the field.  I used to be satisfied with the paper in hardbound 8 1/2 x 11 blank books ... but the paper just isn't as good as it was 30 years ago.  I've tried several brands.  So recently I've switched to lugging around two books .... my trusty hard bound 8 1/2 x 11 journal for words and sketches ... just a little paint; plus either a Stillman and Birn Beta spiral bound book or a Bee Papers Aquabee Super Deluxe spiral bound book.  The paper is very similar except you The Stillman and Birn is heavier, lies flatter so you can easily use both sides, and I can rewet it more times.  But it is also quite a bit more expensive.  I have Teri Casper (100 Painting Challenge alumnus) to thank for introducing me to the Stillman and Birn.  

I wish Strathmore would put their Aquarius II paper into a sketchbook.  It is one of my favorites.  Takes both ink and watercolor well, is lightweight and yet lies flat.  I'm seriously considering making my own watercolor pad or sketchbook with it.  Loose sheets of paper always seem to end up on the floor of the car, but if it make my own watercolor pad, the paper would have some protection.  

I hate to see the Challenge coming to an end.  I thank you, Laure, for opening my eyes.  

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Elva's #98 and 99

I call this the 'Sexy Lady Moon.'  It is as if she wears a beret that almost covers one eye.  Saturday night I lay in my sleeping bag and watched the moon, and tried to burn the scene into my mind.  We were camping at Lava Beds National Monument.  Then, in the morning, I sat on a rock and drew the branch and distant trees from almost the same spot.  Added paint while I made coffee.

Another pelican painting inspired from the day I got to sketch pelicans on the coast and then photograph them.  Here a young Herrmann's gull is trying to steal the pelican's fish. ... painted in my Stillman and Birn sketch book.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Elva # 96 and 97

A brown pelican swoops up, taking aim before it dives after a fish.  Watercolor  in my Stillman and Birn Beta sketchbook.  

This fire scene is inspired by a memory and a very old journal sketch.  I painted on Arches hot press 140#.  Watercolor.

For more about this wildfire and a more recent one, go to my blog:  www.elvafieldnotes.blogspot.com

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Elva #94 and 95

Snow blows off a cornice high above me.  Blowing snow in Yellowstone ends up forming huge snowbanks.

Painted in my Stillman &Birn Beta series sketchbook.
A sandhill crane feeds in long grasses ... also inspired by our trip to Yellowstone.

Painted on Arches Hot Press paper. ... good paper for careful detail

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Elva #92 and 93

I think canvasbacks have an elegant look, and when the late sun catches their head it almost glows ..... just trying to capture that feeling.  Painted on Strathmore Aquarius II watercolor paper ... a paper I like very much.
Sun and Shadows ..... I liked how the backlit trees were throwing shadows on the golden grasses of fall.  Just a quick study to try to capture the feeling.  

Painted on Lanaquarelle 140# cold press.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

#87-103 Terry - finally!

 This is from a Detroit Tigers game we went to but got very rained out!  Nonetheless, since they are now in the World Series, I wanted to include it.  Go Tigers!  All of these are in a 5.5x5.5 notebook that I can carry in my purse with water brushes and my Altoids palette.  Great fun - anywhere!
 This was from an evening enjoying Il Volo - such a wonderful time with their angelic voices!
 From lunch with the friend who introduced me to painting years ago.  She lives far away now but we got to spend the afternoon painting and catching up.
 We recently spent 2 weeks visiting Charleston, S.C. and stayed at Folly Beach - a very special island 15 minutes from Charleston.  We were right on the Atlantic ocean and daily watched surfers and fisherman.  Most of the rest were from our nearly daily walks around Charleston.  Wonderful!

Thank you for your patience in my lengthy blogs today.  I was in the mood and really wanted to get caught up and be sure to get up to 100 paintings.  It's been a joy!  I'll keep posting blogs now but don't feel the pressure that I did to keep my word.  All of your work is so inspiring - thanks for sharing it!

#77-86 Terry

 This was the Imaginary Trip to Italy.  The class was just prior to our actual trip to Italy and a wonderful preparation!

#72-76 Terry

These were from my Imaginary Trip to Paris with Laure Ferlita - fun!  We're headed back to Paris again next Sept. so I'm eager to do some paintings there again - for real!

#70 -71 Terry

Both are 5x7