A few weeks ago I mentioned that I was cutting back to three 6x6 paintings a week, and it was a great compromise. I had a bit more time to work on other projects, yet the 6x6 project allowed me to continue working on things that don't fit into my normal illustration/painting style.
My favorite one from last week was the simple watercolor and pencil painting in the photograph below.
This is an abstract style that I want to continue to explore. I think I've mentioned before that it provides me with a nice contrast from my detailed watercolor illustrations. I'm used to painting in a very figurative style, but abstract painting is 100% about playing with composition and color, using your imagination, and looking for little ways into something new and different. Yes, those things are in every style of painting, but abstract painting strips away the coffee cups and the landscapes and makes you rely on something completely separate and intangible.
I also recognize that abstracts are extremely subjective. My sister and niece recently looked through my growing stack of 6x6 squares, and their reaction to some of my favorite abstract pieces was fairly positive but definitely more lukewarm than their reaction to the more figurative, floral patterns. But that's ok.
In the past, a lukewarm reception might have stopped me from doing something and sent me back to my more comfortable style and where I've received more positive reviews. But I want to grow and continue to develop my style, both figuratively and abstractly. So while the abstract painting might be my favorite from the week, I could see it being someone else's least favorite. I could see someone disliking it or not getting it. But for some reason it speaks to me and it's something I'd want to hang on my wall. Similarly, the flower painting in the first photo above is one of my least favorite from this whole project. Yet someone else might look at it and find something in it that they really like. Same for last week's 3rd 6x6 painting shown in the photo below. Same for any painting.
....Oh, this painting and making art thing.... It can be hard and subjective and frustrating and discouraging -- but it's also absolutely wonderful and rewarding and challenging in the best possible way. And that's why we keep plugging away, right? I think that's what painting and playing and finding our way is all about.
All that said, my 6x6 project is moving to the back burner for a while. I have a lot on my plate in the coming weeks, so I'm putting it on temporary hiatus. The main reason is that I signed up for Lilla Roger's Make Art That Sells class. It begins today, and it is going to be five weeks of intensive learning. Each week she will cover five different illustration markets (fabric, wall art, picture books, home decor, and gift). One of my biggest goals for the next year is to grow my illustration career, and I think this will be a great way to learn from a prominent illustration agent. And all indications are that it is going to be intense! Each week we will get a mini assignment and a full assignment, which will be a great challenge for me. I want to be able to really dedicate myself to the projects and try to get as much out of these 5 weeks as possible.
I also have a short trip planned -- more on that later -- and various other projects, so a lot lies ahead, and I'm looking forward to getting started.