I recently participated in Mary Gilkerson's 5 Day Painting Challenge along with 2500 other artists. The challenge consisted of painting one painting a day in 20 minutes for five straight days and sharing (or not) on social media. It sounded like fun and a good stretch exercise for me. The idea is to help develop flow while painting by reducing the details, and shifting your attention to the overall shapes and colors. This exercise also helps get you back on track and creates a daily painting practice. I was skeptical at first, even though I paint fairly fast, 20 minutes goes by faster than I realized. We were allowed up to 45 minutes and encouraged to reduce the time each day until we reached 20 minutes. Canvas prep and paint mixing were not included in the time. Mary recommended determining composition and subject of your choice beforehand and to paint on a small canvas. I painted in oil on a 11"x14" prepped canvas. It was harder than I thought it would be. I used the entire 45 minutes on Day 1 and was only able to reduce to 25 minutes by Day 5. This was a challenge for me. Although I didn't make the 20 minute goal, I felt successful.
I learned that you really have to let go and rely on your instincts to paint so quickly. After competing the challenge and some minor touch ups I now have 5 finished paintings.
This can be used as a great warm-up exercise for a larger painting. Go ahead, challenge yourself and see what develops.
Below are the before and after paintings from the 5 Day Challenge.
Day 4- No changes
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