Thursday, January 3, 2013

40 days and counting

In spite of my prolonged holiday absence from the blogosphere, I've continued daily work on my 40-day creativity experiment (well past the 40 day mark) and I think it's finally done.

I've never spent this much time on a single piece (I started it November 11th) and I learned so much from working this way.  I've gained trust in my intuition, and an appreciation for patience and restraint.  I've learned that nearly obliterating a months worth of work makes for a much more complex painting.  I've learned to accept the ugly phases, and not feel compeled to cover them quickly.  I've learned how much I like working on a large piece, and how satisfying it is to have a long relationship with a painting.  Its constant presence in the studio was a pleasure.  Some days my one minute of work on it was the only creative thing I did.  Other days it bore witness to a blizzard of other activity, satisfied with its own slow progress.

I suspect that this layer-a-day experience is going to change my approach to painting in 2013
It has already prompted a series of work, exploring the colors, shapes and layers I used on this piece.

Here are two works in progress (on canvas this time!)

and here are four small works on paper (4"x6")

My thanks to Damini for inspiring this project (and to Corrine for pointing the way.)
It is remarkable how much personal growth came out of a humble paper bag.
You can see all 40+ layers develop in this slideshow.


  1. Love it. I enjoyed the slideshow, there were definitely some moments when I was thinking, "eeeek!!" but look how wonderfully it's turned out in the end.

    This was a really interesting exercise to follow.

    Happy New Year!

  2. It truly is amazing how the slowing down over that long a time period changes the view...Love your new work, I see an eenergy there that is taking you to more complex places - Yippee, wahoo. xox

  3. You really go from strength to strength, Karen, and with everything you do you grow so much artistically. It's great to see your list of what you have learnt from the experience, and then the resulting pieces of artwork.
    I love them all, but the one with the black squiggles on (great technical art term) is my favourite.
    I've missed your fun and instructive posts, and glad to see you back. Hope you and yours had a good holiday period and new year. XXX

  4. Beautifully said.
    I believe it is all about the relationship with your self and your creative soul.
    I am appreciating the slow powerful unfolding that happens when working on a piece over time. I also love how it speaks to you all day long.
    It like a peony flower opening -- tight , slow, with a little help, then the bloom. really I was talking about the flower !

  5. 1. I love that you're back.
    2. I love that you are working large on CANVAS. You are worth it.
    3. I love that you have all those process photos, for YOU, to remind yourself of how you got from here to there and the bumpy bits in between.


  6. I agree with everyone else -- love your post and I am VERY happy you are back. I have really missed all the wonderful inspiration from you and your art. Happy New Year.

  7. I've been checking here every day for weeks to see your progress! It's wonderful and so inspiring! When's your gallery show???

  8. I bet we will see another long term project like this from you again :)

    Wonderful, luscious layers!

  9. Great project!

    I got one of your cards 'You cannot do a kindness to soon....' for the Inspirational Card Deck Swap. I love it!!!

    Thank you


  10. What a great result - once again you're proving inspirational or maybe motivational is the better word. Between you and Corrine I'm definitely feeling the urge to try this - especially in my new 'art a day' mode. I love your idea of hanging it on your door for an easel - that will definitely work for me too! I see some good bases for collage work in these smaller pieces.... :)

  11. Wow Karen. It's fabulous and I love what you wrote about it and the growth you experienced. Makes me want to try it, although I don't know if I have your discipline!

  12. Karen,
    This is totally awesome!! You rock!!! You've inspired me to try this.

  13. It is so great to see you grow as an artist. It feels like you are taking yourself more seriously after your longterm project - I love it. I too started working on canvas and it is so different. I respond to it differently than paper (altho I was using 300# - serious paper). Here's to some serious art in 2013. Lets do a show together!

  14. Thanks for sharing the slideshow. I like seeing it go through all the transformations and coming out looking so beautiful. This is something that I want to try. I'm putting it on my list for this year. You always inspire me.

  15. Absolutely fabulous!! Such patience. Such restraint. Well done!!! Brava!!! Brava!!! :D
    Got a documentary film for ya: Traveling with Yoshitomo Nara. Awesome, hilarious, and an amazing painting process speeded up in the film - you would never think things would end up the way they did!
    Enjoy, and keep up the fabulous work. So exciting.

    1. documentary sounds cool - I wish it was on demand so I could watch it now!

  16. Very fun to watch your progress as a slide show. The final piece looks great! Are you going to give it to your son, as requested? You could NEVER cheat on layers like that!

  17. Just wonderful and well said! Thanks for sharing and inspiring.

  18. Karen, this piece is amazing. Just stunning. What a transition through all those layers. Thanks for the slide show!