From September 10th to October 30th (2017), for 50 days, I attempted to paint one oil painting every day of a skull! (Click here to go straight to gallery)
My motivation for this project was simple: make art a habit. My long-term goal is to make art my main career, so I need to start sacrificing an even larger part of my “free time” to stepping up my learning and creating more to sell. Since I have a full-time job and this was a pretty big endeavor for me, it was pretty scary, but I really appreciated all the comments and advice that I received.
Why skulls? It was the spooky season! I also wanted a relatively “simple” subject that I could explore on my own. I think sometimes I fall back into painting “from a picture” and I needed to create something NEW. I also needed something that wouldn’t take up too much time but be interesting enough so that I COULD make 50 of them! I definitely sat down with a sketchbook and made a ton of silly ideas, and sometimes even the silly ones got painted because I couldn’t think of anything that day, so… take it from the sketchbook! Sketchbooks are great because when you have good ideas, you put them down in the sketchbook, and when you can’t think of anything – you can take already fleshed-out ideas from your sketchbook instead of having to rely on “copying a picture” (or maybe you are – but it’s your OWN picture!). I definitely needed to get more into the habit of sketching, and this project pretty much forced me to rely on it, so I think sketching will become more habitual too.
I also decided to make timelapse videos for all but the first painting, so if you’d like to watch the creation of any of these paintings, the playlist is here on my videos page. One nice thing about filming myself is that I can see things that I wouldn’t see when I’m close to the canvas – both in real-time (when I look through the viewfinder in the canvas when I’m pausing) when it functions as a tiny snapshot, as well as afterwards when I can see how I’m painting and what I need to work on or change (and what worked well!). I’m happy that I filmed so many of them, but I likely won’t be filming every painting I paint in the future.
Here’s my nerdy self posing with a bunch of my skulls on Halloween:
Overall, the project was fun (though somewhat stressful!), and really taught me a lot. Though I don’t plan to keep up the freaky pace I had during this project, I definitely plan to paint *something* – even if it’s part of a painting, or a mini-painting – every day and paint more. I’m paying more attention to a lot of different aspects of my painting, so I’m hoping to see a lot of improvement in this next year!
Finally, here are the 50 skulls! (Skull paintings are available on my Etsy site!)