How I Did Not Participate in a Challenge

For several years in a row, I enjoyed participating in a #30X30directwatercolor challenge. It was created several years ago by two unstoppable artists Uma Kelkar and Marc Taro Holmes. The original rule was that during the month of June, one would create 30 sketches with watercolor but without any help from the line-making tools (pencil, pen, etc.)  I've enjoyed bending the rules to work in gouache and did this challenge for several years in a row concentrating on a solid block of work done in a short period - like an art sprint in the middle of the year! 

In 2017 I did 30 tiny gouaches, in 2018 I did 30 drawings made with 20 brushstrokes or less, in 2019 I did 30 mini gouache paintings, in 2020 I did a bunch of interiors and virtual traveling from photos and livestreams, I was traveling to Ukraine in June 2021 so I skipped that year and the next year the war entered our lives.

This year things did not align for me to do this challenge however I did the next best thing I could: I kept the challenge on my radar:

1. During this June I tried to follow the #30x30directwatercolor hashtag on instagram and check out facebook group to comment on some of the works that others were making. I looked at what goals people were pursuing, and how they were managing to keep the rhythm (as anyone who did even a week-long challenge knows, there are always ups and downs in motivation, quality, and support in any challenges). 

2. Every time I had a little bit of extra time and/ or energy - I tried to do something in the spirit of the challenge - even if it was a tiny thing. 

The way I think about challenges - they are great but sometimes too much of a commitment for a particular person or time of their life. So one can "try it on" while they are happening - as you would try a shirt you might want to buy sometime in the future. It surely is different from doing a whole thirty drawings. But you might get a feel and perhaps even jot down some ideas for how to make it joyful and sustainable when the time comes and you are ready.

Here are some of my June examples - I've shared Jacaranda sketches and poppies before - but adding them here as an example for this particular conversation. 


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