Mile 12: Cave Dance

It’s a cave painting- can you tell? Whitney included such an interesting tidbit in her email to the marathoners this week, and I must share it here. In the book Optimize the Magic of Your Mind, Sidney Parnes said,

…if the last 50,000 years of man’s existence were divided into lifetimes of approximately 62 years each, there would have been about 800 such lifetimes. Of these 800, fully 600 were spent in caves. Only during the last 70 lifetimes has it been possible to communicate effectively from on lifetime to another …. Only during the last 6 lifetimes did masses of men ever see the printed word. Only during the last 4 has it been possible to measure time with any precision. Only in the last 2 has anyone anywhere used an electric motor. And the overwhelming majority of all material goods we use in daily life today have been developed within the present, the 800th, lifetime.

The world is spinning so quickly these days. It’s so nice to sit down, reflect, and just paint (and then blog about it. I guess I can’t totally put myself in the cave man’s (lack of) shoes!).

A friend of mine was recently telling me about how cave paintings all over the word exhibit the same patterns of dots and circles. This may be because when you are locked in a cave for days you start hallucinating dots and circles, so this is what was often transferred onto the cave walls. This friend suggested that I hide in my closet for a few days before I started the cave painting! I didn’t go that far this time to achieve artistic authenticity, but I do enjoy my dancing cave people!

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Mile 11: Stylized Flower

I love this one SO much more than the last one! The design is so clean and stylized, which I’m realizing that I enjoy more and more, and the colors feel natural to me (brown with any other color is good). Since I started painting I’ve been struggling to find my own point of view, and this marathon is really helping me narrow down what styles, colors, etc. speak to me. I didn’t expect it, but I may actually be able to continue confidently on my own when this is over!


Mile 10: Ready for Mile 11

Okay, so honestly this is my least favorite one so far. I don’t like the colors, the background, or the fact that I can’t paint really thin lines (suggestions, anyone??). In the email for the next mile, Whitney said that she used some “off” colors so that she wouldn’t be attached to the outcome. And the point of this marathon is to become more creatively fit, not to produce 26 masterpieces. So, I suppose I succeeded in this mile BECAUSE I dislike it so (?)! Maybe this is true, but as I post this these flowers are already gone- painted over with something I like a lot better!


Mile 9: House on a Hill

I finished this painting really quickly (for me), and I love it! I expected to have to work on it over the course of a few days, but I ended up being happy with it in about an hour (progress, perhaps?!).

I love the obvious brush strokes and how the colors work together- this is definitely one I’d like to replicate in the future. Whitney suggested that we make the houses a little bit round, which created such a nice effect. The tree in the background is my favorite part, though! It pulls in the colors in the hills and the houses and seems like such a happy little tree (in the words of Bob Ross). I received the email with instructions for Mile 10 today, but I really don’t want to paint over this one!!


Mile 8: Balloon Trees

I love Whitney’s inspirational quote for this mile: “The artist is a receptacle for emotions that come from all over the place; from the sky, from the earth, from a scrap of paper, from a passing shape, from a spider’s web.” ~Pablo Picasso

I painted this same scene last year when I took Whitney’s Painting Made Easy class (picture of the first one →). It was the second time I had ever picked up a paintbrush! The class inspired me to continue to learn; now I’m creating two paintings a week- have I improved any over the past year?!

Mile 8 was fun for me, though I admit I didn’t spend TOO much time on it. I think I’m starting to balance the competing feelings I had when the marathon started. If I liked what I was doing I thought, “I must make this perfect,” and if I wasn’t happy with it I thought, “Just slap on some paint and be done with it. In two days it’ll be gone.” Now I’m starting to figure out how to paint until I’m happy but not until it’s ready to hang on someone’s wall. Whew, what a mind-calming time-saver.

So there ya go. Eight miles down! The trees kind of look like balloons, don’t they?


Mile 7: Leaf

For this assignment, we were to paint a leaf. Whitney introduced a new technique that I hadn’t really tried much before- scratching circles into the wet paint with the end of the brush so that the colors underneath peeked through.  I wasn’t totally focused when I was painting this one, so I had problems doing this like it was described. The ends of my brushes were too fat to make nice little circles of color and the paint was drying before I was achieving the desired effect.

I wasn’t really getting the effect I wanted, so i started sort of forcing the top layer of paint away so that the next layer down surfaced. Again, everything was drying at this point, so I felt like I was just jabbing holes into my canvas. I don’t think I’ll be re-creating this painting to hang in my house, but I do like the colors and I really enjoyed figuring out how to mix the different shades of gold and orange. And while the scratching technique wasn’t a huge success for me this time,  I do think some cool texture will emerge from it in upcoming paintings.


Mile 6: Meditation Circles

The goal of this mile was meditation. We’re five paintings in and I imagine everyone is getting a little tired, feeling behind, wondering how we’ll have make time to create 20 more paintings. This project allowed us to get caught up easily and provided a time to simply paint and reflect without worrying about so many little details. It also allowed me to use a bunch of random excess paint that was collecting on my palette- I hate wasting it!

So, the assignment was to create concentric circles, much like Wassily Kandinsky’s Squares With Concentric Circles. I love this  piece by Kandinsky- I actually have the print hanging in my bedroom. The idea is so simple, but the circles are so inviting and mesmerizing.

It was so nice to really let go and just let the brush travel in haphazard circles.  I was trying to multi-task while painting (as in, I was trying to watch the premiere of LOST), but I kept finding myself immersed in the colors and movement of the brush. When I was done I had no idea what had happened on LOST (nothing unusual about that though), but I did have a finished product that would hang nicely by the Kandinsky print in my bedroom- if, of course, it weren’t going to be painted over in a few days!