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PART 2 - 6 things you can do to make your life easier during an art challenge

A daily art challenge like the Strada Easel challenge can be a great creative motivator but if you're trying to balance family life, another job or juggle commitments it can also be stressful, especially in January when there's less daylight! You may end up feeling like Persevering Pig above (who may well be banging her head against the wall...)

Part 1 of this blog article addressed what you can do before a challenge to make it more manageable, now let's look at how you can stay calm throughout...

Tip #1

Add photos of your daily work as you go along to a named digital album on your phone to create the final grid which you can screenshot for the final " Art Challenge completed" post. Alternatively you can use an app like Pic Collage.

You can fit 30 photos by zooming out using the options as shown here...

Screenshot of album page
Create an album for your art challenge photos
screenshot of how to zoom out to create an album grid
Create a grid as you go

Tip #2 If you sell your work direct on a website upload your photo daily (using the text you've already prepared in advance). Choose whether you publish to your website daily, or save as a draft to publish as a collection at the end.

Tip #3 - Replenish your supplies and set up ready for the next session each time.

That might mean repacking your plein air kit and leaving it by the door ready to go, or getting the still life objects ready. I top up paint on my lidded palette (see my saved reel about my equipment on Instagram @pressinglifespausebutton) and pop in the fridge to slow oxidising. I check my mineral spirits and grab a panel for the next session.

Painting Palette
Lay out paint for the next session

Tip #4 Wiping your brushes well and giving them a rinse in odourless mineral spirits or leaving them suspended in linseed oil between sessions then wiping well (if you work in oils) is good enough.

I find they don't need a really good clean with soap until the end of the challenge.

Dirty paint brushes
Dirty brushes

Tip #5 - Split the painting process into separate sessions to suit how busy your life is that day.

painting sketch in front of a Sylvanian kangaroo
Step 1 - drawing out

Sometimes I would draw out my composition in thinned paint or complete an underpainting, then come back and decide on the colours I could see and pre-mix paint piles, and then come back for the 3rd time and get it done!

This works for consistent studio lighting but even if painting plein air you could split the process into drawing then painting. Unless you choose something which is likely to change like a van parking in front of your view.

Tip #6 - Overcome negativity by displaying a positive comment about your previous work by your easel.

This might be a nice comment from someone that you can put on a post-it note, a motivational quote, or a reminder of your primary goal in undertaking the challenge. Remind yourself the challenge IS NOT about how many LIKES you get, or whether you win anything, but to GROW your skills through daily practice.

If part of your goal is to connect with other artists ensure that you find time to look at, and comment, on their posts. I tend to do this while I'm walking the dog!

Be kind to yourself. Why not reward yourself at the end of each painting session with a treat?

Motivational card
Postive reminder

For more support in your painting journey why not join me for a workshop or a personalised 1-1 painting weekend?

Don't forget to subscribe and join me for Part 3 - what to do AFTER a challenge - and to comment below if you found this post useful - it takes considerable time to put together and you know I'd always rather be painting!

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