Tag Archives: daily painting

Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 19

Hibiscus gem, 6"x6", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin
Hibiscus gem, 6″x6″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

This is the 3rd Hibiscus gem painting out of three.

I have to say my energy is flagging at this point. For those of you doing the 30 in 30 Challenge, how are you feeling now that we are almost 2/3 done? Has this been a good experience for you?

One of the interesting things that has happened to me is that a number of my artist friends have written to say that they are inspired by what I’m doing. Three of them have even started their own individual challenge!

Another positive is that a few people have said they’re glad to learn a little more about me as an artist, through my writing and through the new diversity in my subject matter this month.

One down side was  some negativity from a couple of artists – which I realize stems from their own unhappiness & desire to be doing what I’m doing. Don’t be fooled, every artist can think of other artists who they admire for their skill/projects/sales/connections or life circumstances which allow them more time to pursue their art professionally etc. etc.

The key to getting out of this negative spiral is to change your attitude, accept that the other person has their own struggles, may even have had to make sacrifices that you wouldn’t even consider, and they are just on a different path. Life as an artist is a very individual path – it’s only when you make choices that are authentic to you that you are able to advance towards your own definition of success. So when you are having negative thoughts, before you lash out (even in a passive-aggressive way), look instead for the “take-away”, some insight that you can use to create positivity for yourself, and then take action.

Of course the overwhelming response has been positive. I’m hearing from people who I didn’t even realize were following my art career, and several people have commented that the work I’ve done so far with this challenge shows dedication, focus, commitment. The funny thing is that the only reason they’re saying that is because they’re seeing a new, SMALL painting every day. Usually I may take 2 weeks to do a large painting, or a week for a small one. And I put in nearly the SAME amount of time & effort!

Normally I take my time to build up the painting in layers, reworking problem areas as many times as necessary. And instead of blogging, I’d be reading arts business articles, looking at inspiring art on the internet etc. I’m not going to list the myriad of actual tasks that come along with being a professional artist, but let’s just say that this year I want to do less thinking, research & planning (worrying, seeking “expert” opinions & procrastinating), and more following my intuition and creating my own projects, saying no to the ones that are offered to me but don’t advance my goals.







Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 18

Hibiscus gem2, 6"x6", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin
Hibiscus gem2, 6″x6″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

This is the second of 3 hibiscus paintings, they’re three different views of the same flower … oriented to the  left, center and right. They could hang as a series, but of course it’s not necessary, they can also each go to a separate collector. The 6″x6″ paintings also look really pretty on a simple picture stand on a table.

I like hibiscus because they’re open, bright and friendly, welcoming somehow. They do remind me of home, and a friend was just saying that they remind her of trips to Hawaii … I suppose they are reminiscent of any tropical location. Usually they bring back great memories for people … of relaxing vacations or exotic places, or just home.












Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 11

Red Ixora, 6"x6", acrylic on boaard, © 2014 Donna Grandin.
Red Ixora, 6″x6″, acrylic on boaard, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

Ixora is the name of a tropical flowering bush, the flowers come in many hues but I think red is the most common. I really enjoyed painting this one, I was very much in my comfort zone. On the other hand, I did spend way too long (about 10 hrs) … adjusting & adjusting! And to be honest I could keep going a little longer. So in that sense, the “daily painting experiment” is not really working out for me, I cannot keep up this pace indefinitely. My usual ideal painting schedule is to alternate long painting days with non-painting/recovery days. I will have to try setting a time limit on the next painting.

There were three arts events (in three different cities locally) that I really would have liked to attend last night, but I chose to stay in and paint. Each year as I meet more people and get more involved in the arts community, there are more events that I have to miss & although it may be a relief to make the decision when the drive is long or the weather is bad, the guilt and feeling of missing out lingers on for too long. Still, carving out the time to paint – something that many artists struggle with – is a necessity for a professional artist. Actually it’s easy to keep working at the easel & neglect everything else, though the marketing has to be done because making an income from our art allows us to continue doing the work we love, the hard part is in also prioritizing health and relationships.

How are you doing with this balancing act? Artist or not, I think this is something we all struggle with … the holy grail of life … trying to have it all.


Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 10

"In the courtyard", 8"x8", oil on board, © 2014 Donna Grandin.
“In the courtyard”, 8″x8″, oil on board, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

There is just something about a random rooster crowing at any old time of the day that reminds me of growing up in the Caribbean. Watching a mother hen crossing the road followed by a long string of chicks. I’ve photographed several “wild” chickens spontaneously – while out on a photoshoot or just running errands – just pecking away in a garden or in all sorts of unexpected places. It is such a common sight, the soundtrack to everyday life in certain parts of the world … completely alien in others.

This painting is based on a snapshot I took of a rooster in the courtyard of the Pink Plantation House Restaurant in St. Lucia, owned by some good friends of mine, and a favourite place to hang out with a camera. Honestly, I could probably live there for three months and paint something new & beautiful on the grounds each day!

I don’t think I’ve painted in oils for about fifteen years, and the experience has confirmed that acrylic paint is best suited to my personality and way of working. The worst thing about oils for me, is the best thing about it for oil painters, it takes forever to dry! Oil paint somehow gets EVERYWHERE … I’ve had to wipe it off my laptop, my camera, my headphones, my chair, not to mention my face, hair & hands, the paint on the easel & rug are standard and at least it’ll wash out of the clothes. Several times I’d rub the board by accident and smudge the painting, once it actually fell on the floor and I ended up repainting much of it, which is why I spent so long on it. Time to donate my oil paints I think.

Anyway this snapshot just entrigues me, a moment frozen in time, there’s a narrative here that I keep coming back to. As you’ll see in the photo below, I have painted it before in acrylics … 11″x14″ … but it was at a time when I was doing a series of more detailed, more realistic close-ups of flowers, and it didn’t make sense. I tried to push it further by painting the subject larger & looser, but stopped at the point you see here because I realized I was on the wrong track. If I had had the outlet of selling daily paintings online, I would have known that the initial painting was enough.

Chicken challenge, Donna Grandin studio 2011
Chicken challenge, Donna Grandin studio 2011

At the time, I hadn’t embraced the fact that along with my more serious “gallery” work, I could also follow my own creative sidetracks, even if I knew they were going to be dead ends (single paintings, slightly off my artistic path). I looked at it as a waste of resources, instead of seeing it as full-filling my own artistic needs, and I didn’t know how to live with it lying around as a reminder of my foolishness, so I destroyed it. Now I look back & I have a folder of “experiments” that only exist as digital images.

And I realize that following that kernel of curiosity about a subject, and living a life where I am open to – and actively seek – inspiration from my day, is more important to me as an artist than boxing my artistic self/production into a single grandiose theme.

Authenticity is often its own reward. But the image below is a painting I did in 2000 (under my maiden name, Gomez), of another rooster … I see I called it Lonely Rooster, but it probably should just have been Lone Rooster. It was from another – similar – snapshot, and I followed my gut, even when my Dad called from St. Lucia to say the package had arrived, and “is the painting of the grass finished?”.  Despite his misgivings, he took it in to the gallery for me … two days later a visitor from New York bought it. I’m not sure it comes across in this photo due to the glare, but the green grass was seductive, and I think the painting says a little something about carving out a little bit of space for oneself. Space to breathe deep in the fresh air, lazy days punctuated by the crowing of a random rooster .

Lonely Rooster, 11"x14", acrylic on canvas, Donna Gomez (Grandin), 2000. Sold
Lonely Rooster, 11″x14″, acrylic on canvas, Donna Gomez (Grandin), 2000. Sold



Daily Painting challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 5

Fast food, 8"x8", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold
Fast food, 8″x8″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

Choosing what to paint next is starting to get difficult, but not because I don’t have lots of ideas I’d like to try out. There are sooo many things I could paint – from life or photos, or even just a concept, but it can take a while to find a subject I can connect to at that very moment. The other ideas that come up may eventually get painted, but for now they just don’t have that spark that excites/motivates me, even though they could well make a great painting. I guess I’m more concerned right now with personal development, than painting something I think people might want to buy (shh, don’t tell my husband)! I’m enjoying journalling here even though I don’t have a clue if anyone’s actually reading this.

With this painting I retreated back to my comfort zone … plant life/landscape, but it’s still new territory. I’ve never painted this type of plant before, I’m ashamed to say I don’t even know what it’s called. That surprises some people, they think somehow I should be an encyclopedia on the plants I paint, but really I’m just in it for the eye candy. The shapes & colours & patterns that light creates when it falls on or through the leaves and petals. That, and the connection to Nature, that feeling you get when you’re alone in a wooded area or garden and you can breathe deeper, think clearer.

If you can just be in the moment, push aside thoughts of to do lists and listen … you’ll hear the sound of your own inner voice. And in my life, that’s reason enough to choose to paint Nature, to have to go outside to seek inspiration, to gather reference material. I have to admit, I do wish I wasn’t doing this challenge in the middle of winter, because it would be fun to paint outside. I think I will carry on after the 30 days, and maybe I will devote one day a week to painting something small.

I would never give up my large paintings though, there is something cathartic about throwing your whole body into it, and many of my fans/collectors say it’s the big works they love. However, as an artist it can be useful to try out ideas on a much smaller scale. I’ve never been a doodler, my sketchbooks turn into journals, and  I am more of an alla prima painter, thinking through the paint, so the ritual of daily paintings has always appealed to me. Taking it the next step and putting it out there on the internet – instead of just a censored collection of my best work – takes some courage.

Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 4

Ants in his pants, side B, acrylic on board, 6"x6", © 2014 Donna Grandin
Ants in his pants, side B, acrylic on board, 6″x6″, © 2014 Donna Grandin

Getting a likeness in portrait painting is not my strength. I have a friend who is kicks ass at getting a likeness, check out her Facebook page, Shauna Johnson illustration.

That being said, I can usually get about 3/4 of the way there … so this painting isn’t my best attempt. I could have taken the easy way out and painted from a photo, not that that’s any guarantee, but considering my model is an active 8 year old, it would have made sense.

Still, I’m taking this month and this challenge to stretch myself in a variety of ways. I know from experience that each time I do this, I end right back on my original path, but usually with more insight and focus.

Anyway, although he stayed in the chair for an admirable length of time, my little model was constantly moving, picking up nearby objects etc. I let him do what he needed to, just trying to center him when I was working on something specific, because I didn’t want to turn him off of modelling for me. This was our first time together, and he is a budding artist himself, so I wanted to paint from life so he’d see what the process was like, ask questions as I mixed the paint. I turned the portrait to him every now & then as I made adjustments.

There was no fixing the crazy eyes though, and the nose is at the wrong angle … well, it doesn’t really matter, the point is in the doing. I cropped the painting in half, the eyes don’t look as crazy then, and I’m sharing the side with my initials. I’ve been signing these daily paintings with my initials in a new way, to distinguish them from my previous miniatures which could have taken a week to paint, because the price-point is different. Though some, like this one, won’t leave the studio, and will eventually be recycled (painted over). That’s okay though, it’s called quality control.




Daily Painting Challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days. Day 3

Five more minutes!, 8"x10", acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. $125.
Five more minutes!, 8″x10″, acrylic on canvas, © 2014 Donna Grandin. $125.

Until my kids go back to school on Mon, I probably won’t be able to fall into a comfortable routine with this daily painting. Again yesterday I didn’t start till after 5:30pm, so instead of starting something new, I picked up this little experiment I started in the summer.

The whole reason I took the photo, the reason I was excited to do the painting, was the silhouette of my son on the climber. However, it was getting late last night and I had to put the boys to bed, and I just couldn’t get the proportions of the figure right, so I decided to leave it out. I could see doing this painting again though, on a larger scale, with the figure.

This is quite different to my regular work … no leaves in sight. I’m curious to know what you think. Please leave comments here, or e-mail me at donna@bluerootsartstudio.com.








Daily Painting challenge, 30 paintings in 30 days!

Hibiscus & snow, 8"x8", acrylic on panel, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold
Hibiscus & snow, 8″x8″, acrylic on panel, © 2014 Donna Grandin. Sold

Happy New Year, everyone! I hope you’re all on track with your new year’s resolutions, if you made any. I’m making a slower start this year than I’d planned, but for the best of reasons … time spent with family.

I’m taking a flying leap at 2014 by accepting a daily painting challenge … I’m one of the 370 artists who have already signed up to do Leslie Saeta’s 30 paintings in 30 days. I will of course also be posting my painting on here each day, so if you’d like to follow along, click the RSS button to subscribe to my blog.

The painting above is my first one, which I started yesterday, but finished today because I stopped first to catch up with a good friend, and then to spend time with my boys. It involved air-popped popcorn &  an impromptu New Year’s eve “Justice League” cartoon marathon on Netflicks, so you know it was a decision made out of love & it wasn’t easy!

I still have to start the painting I’m going to post tomorrow … every now & then a little head pops up to check on me “Mom, you haven’t started yet? What if you FAIL the challenge?”.

The next painting will be of the same subject, the flower just died but luckily I took several photos I could work from.

My word for 2014 is intuition, and as it applies to this challenge, I’m going to follow my intuition as to what to paint next …. I haven’t planned out the 30 days, and I’m not setting rules, except that I work on something new each day. I actually have loads of ideas that I’d like to try out … so expect a variety of subjects to show up. And I would love it if you’d share this with your friends, and make comments … I look forward to hearing from you!

Also, I will be writing the long “Louvre” blog post I promised soon, once I’ve settled into a comfortable pace … I have sorted through the thousands of photos (the good, the bad & the ugly) already, but still need to whittle my selection down.

Meanwhile, enjoy this video snippet I uploaded to my new youtube channel last night of the Eiffel tower lights blinking.










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