Starting a Habit: Daily Practice

I joined artist Mary Glikerson’s 5-day challenge in January 2018 and finished the five quick studies shown here for the challenge. The challenge was to paint for a set amount of time—20 to 40 minutes—and to stop when time was up. The intention: start a daily practice. All were painted with oils on 6×8-inch panels.

Day 1. I wanted to finish the work and felt frustrated that I had to leave it unfinished.  That was hard to do!

Day 2. I thought it would be easier to finish in 40 minutes if I had fewer objects to paint, so I set aside the jicama and painted only the onion.

Day 3. I liked painting the onion in the day 2 study, but I thought that one object made a static (somewhat boring) composition, so I added a bottle and garlic to the composition. When I stepped back after 40 minutes, the hard edges on all the objects made me cringe just a little.

Day 4. I liked the turquoise-blue color used on day 3 and found a few objects that added variety in size and texture to a composition and that also felt harmonious. Daily practice was making me feel more confident and I no longer felt concerned about producing a finished painting.

Day 5. I wondered if a “happy place” existed between sameness and variety when I composed the day 5 still life. As I blocked in the large shapes, I became aware of a fifth shape: the ground the other shapes sit on; and the shadows under the objects felt like yet another shape.

It was a fun challenge that caused me to remember things I’d learned before and discover new things, combine objects in different ways to solve problems, test my skills with mixing and placement of color, and so much more. The work strengthened my creativity muscles, too.


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