90 From Life A Challenge to make 90 Paintings from life in 90 Days

On November 9, 2017, I successfully completed a challenge to make one new painting from life every day for 90 days.  Professionally, it was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself.  It helped me improve as a painter in more ways than I can count.  

On this page, you can read about the background to the project, my thoughts on finishing it, and what comes next.  There’s also a gallery of all 90 paintings.

The Background

I’m stuck.

For some time now I’ve been on a plateau as an artist, and not growing in the way I’d like.  My process has also become heavily reliant on photography.  It’s starting to feel like an unwanted restriction, and I’d like to lessen that influence.

So… I need to shake things up and open the way for a step forward. I’m doing a 90 day challenge, in which every single day I make one new painting from life – no photographic aid whatsoever.

While this might sound like a painting-a-day project, I have quite different goals in mind.  This is not an open-ended exercise where the goal is simply to produce one painting each day.

Instead, I’m thinking about it more like an educational course, and I have a rough outline for it in mind.  Some of the paintings will even be designed to solve specific problems or learn new techniques.

I see this as a 90-day exploration where I roll up my sleeves, work hard, and deepen my understanding of this craft.  After I finish each day’s painting, I’ll make a short video where I discuss and critique the piece. Your feedback will be very welcome and actively encouraged.

Tackling a big project that is intentionally designed to push the limits of my ability after I just asked everybody to watch makes me feel somewhat vulnerable.  This is good.  I’ve learned that’s where the real opportunities for growth lie.

The Outcome

The challenge is now finished; for 90 days I created one new painting from life.  Without a doubt this has been one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself as a painter.  In the video above I talk about the project and what I learned from it.

What Comes Next?

I have an upcoming show in mid-November, and after that I’ll be completing 2 large commissioned paintings. That should take me through the end of the year.

After that, I’ll be starting a new project which I’m very excited about. For 2018, I’ll be doing one major painting each week. That means a painting 8×10 inches or larger – probably up to about 16×20 inches – that takes multiple working days and has an involved and ambitious composition.

I’ll also be inviting you into my studio more often; I’ll be documenting and demonstrating in-depth the day-to-day process of making these paintings – more than I’ve done up to this point.

So that’s 52 big paintings in 2018 – stay tuned!

The Gallery All the paintings in this series

Add To Your Collection

Are you interested in adding one or more of these paintings to you collection?  Use the form below to contact me:

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