Creek Reflections, 12x16 inches, oil on canvas board,
painted for Monthly Painting Challenge
I have been thinking about writing an article for a regional arts magazine about using internet art challenges as a way to develop skills, stay motivated, and meet other artists. Before I write about any of the groups I want to try each of them out for ease of participation and quality of response. The list of art challenges I have tried is on the side bar of this blog. If know know of others that are good I'd love to hear about them.
I have taken local face to face workshops and studio classes, and I enjoy the opportunity they provide to learn new techniques, practice existing skills, and generally connect with other people. Participating in these groups has gotten me out of the house, and provided some very good times indeed.
But I also have enjoyed participating in online groups. Besides the good things mentioned already, these virtual groups provide some special advantages. They tend to be free, which is no small thing these days. Not only are there no fees attached, but I save gasoline costs, and wear and tear on my automobile. By joining an online challenge I don't have to go out in bad weather or pack up any of my materials. I can participate, or not, as my schedule and interest dictates. And I can compare my response to the source photo or topic with lots of other artists. Participating in these challenges has led me to the work of other artists whom I admire, and has created friendships I value.
This month I tried out a relatively new group, the Monthly Painting Challenge. This blog provides a resource photo and encourages artists to adapt it in any way they see fit, to paint it in whatever medium they choose. My response is at the top of the page. I did an acrylic under painting of napthol red, then painted directly in pretty much one session using water mixable oil paints. I like the way the red peeks through and enlivens the other colors. Painting water and reflections is a challenge for me, and I found myself torn between wanting to observe carefully and committing to put down the paint, and wanting to play around with it. This time I did OK at not going back to "muddy the water" and overwork, I think. I also rather like the shapes of the trees, especially the one on the left.
I'd love to hear from people about the online challenges they like best, and what advantages they see in participating these groups. Oh, and don't be shy about sharing your critique of my painting response.