Updated: Jun 14
January. I wonder how many challenges there are this month, I know of the Red Challenge, the 31 Day Challenge and the Couch to 5k. I expect most of them are centred around getting fit. Which I have every intention of doing, but later in the year, when it’s warmer! Since developing fibromyalgia I had to give up two of my favourite hobbies, knitting as you know and cycling. My bike was my preferred form of transport and used it as much as possible, even to do the shopping. I would think nothing of cycling 12 miles for a meeting in the next town, and could get there before the bus. But as the illness took it’s grip the pain cycling caused got too much and the time it took to recover from a bike ride got too long and I had to stop. I have every intention of getting back out on my bike this year but I will have to take it slowly and listen to my body instead of pushing through pain barriers and mental walls. I will do it.
In the meantime I have found two challenges which are a bit more manageable. The first is The January Challenges hosted by 64millionartists. 31 days of creative tasks from collecting colours, writing letters to painting stick people and photography. No artistic experience is required, the idea is to see the world from a new viewpoint, to use materials in a way you hadn’t before and to think in a different way, to get out of the comfort zone and look at the box from every preposition. A task is sent to me by email and I spend 10 minutes creating. I do the task at work if time allows, because I don’t have any of my usual materials than I would in my craft room, so I have to think. Or I complete the task at home after work and it allows me to relax, feel accomplished and ready for the next task in hand. I think everyone should do it, it’s beneficial in so many ways. We’re only a week in so you can still join, click on the link above and take a look.
The second is a follow on from Inktober. An ink work challenge through October, a list of single word prompts is given daily so you end up with a full sketch book by the end of the month. I started this last year to develop my ink painting and intended to work on my calligraphy but got lost in the world of painting and drawing with ink. There are some truly amazing artists out there, I was in awe and I learned a lot! I believe this is the first time Jake Parker has hosted a challenge throughout the year Inktober52. Just as the original but a prompt a week.
Week 1 was Flight. This is the only one I will add for now and I will add an album at the end of the year. My ink-washy style is developing and I am learning a great deal about how ink reacts with a variety of papers. Obviously watercolour paper is best as it holds a great deal of fluid, but I like to experiment. The thing with this style is there can’t be a great deal of detail. This is where masking fluid comes in. If anyone was to ask me if there was a tool I couldn’t work without, masking fluid is it. I discovered it at college and I haven’t been without it since. So where detail is required, I paint the masking fluid, and add the detail once the main body wash is dried.
Dandelion Seeds in Flight.
The word “Flight” conjured up all sorts of images. I could do birds as I have in the past, I know there will be many dragons…the song “Bird in Flight” by Toyah, planes and helicopters, but what about the things we don’t usually associate with flight? A child leaping through the air, leaves on the wind…
Naturally any practice will help to develop your style, but it really does help if you can see other works, I recommend going to an art class, so you can discuss ideas and watch how other people work. But if you live in a remote area as I do, and have disabilities that stop you, use the internet as it was intended and connect with like minded people and look for challenges in your field. It’s like a drug and I don’t mean, how many ‘likes’ or hearts or comments, that stuff is nice but irrelevant. The accomplishment of finishing a piece of work, the learning process, buying new pencils, opening a new sketchbook, (well new to me, I still don’t buy this stuff new if I can help it), just taking 10 minutes out of your normal day to do something else, something for you.