Daddy's Christmas Angel

Friday, May 3, 2013

Reflecting on the A to Z Challenge - A Painting a Day

A to Z SurvivorThis year's A to Z Challenge was invigorating, exhausting, exhilarating, trying, fun, frustrating, and a little expensive. All of that's because I chose to make the Challenge the creation of a Painting a Day. I planned it all out ahead of time--most of it anyway. So I was armed with photographs to work from to paint the animals I chose for each letter.

The letter "C" was especially emotional because I painted our daughter Amy's beloved cat, Casey, that had just crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. While creating this painting I felt an immediate connection with her kitty. From the moment I painted the eyes, they followed me everywhere in my studio.

In the midst of April, I realized I wouldn't have enough small/medium-size canvases for the entire month. That meant placing an order for more of the 11" x 14" gallery wrap canvases from Utrecht Art Supplies. At the end of the month, I decided that the 6" x 6" canvas I had left for the X-Ray Tetra was too small, so I purchased a larger canvas and am glad I did.

The last full week of the Challenge proved more trying than I expected because I was in Boone, North Carolina taking a week-long mixed media workshop. When I first started the Challenge, I thought it might work out for me to use something created in class each day for my post. I realized immediately that would never work because I was so committed to my animal theme. That meant I had to create a painting every day that week after the class ended. When the class ran well beyond 4 p.m., I reached panic mode to complete a painting, photograph it, then re-size it for the Internet before the facility closed at 5:45 p.m. That meant some really rushed paintings--more of a challenge than I needed.

Although I wanted to make some of the paintings before I left on the workshop trip, I found that was an impossible task. Along the way I had to marvel at the wonders of digital photography. Probably 10 years ago, I couldn't have done this daily project because I was still dealing with film and waiting to get it developed. It's almost magic now!

I am delighted to have an array of new paintings that might create a lively and interesting art show, as some of you have suggested. I also am interested in the idea that they could be used for a book project, as others of you suggested.

Many of you followed my blog each day to see what the new art creation would be. Thank you. I gained new followers and am delighted to have crossed over the 200 follower threshold. Thank you for that.

In all, this was a good Challenge. I learned, grew, and was inspired. I hope everyone enjoyed this Challenge as much as I did. Thank you, All, for making it possible!


Sofie Couch said...

Woah! That's amazing, Monti! Did I tell you about the artist, Val Kels, who painted a fish per day for four years - the end result being an Audubon-type fish identification book?
I hope your challenge was fun! Can't wait for the exhibit!!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Sofie, a fish a day for four years is truly amazing. Bet that's a wonderful book. Thanks for visiting today!

Sania Heba said...

Congrats on finishing the challenge specially with the theme you picked. Hope to see u next year! :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Monti .. so pleased you joined the Challenge this year and we reconnected ..

I'm sure your beautiful creations of animals in their settings will give you many opportunities to add value to them .. audio books and stories, themes for larger art works etc etc ..

Good luck .. and thanks for coming over .. hope you can connect with Amanda at some stage (she's lots on her plate) .. but I'm sure she'll enjoy the 'meet' across the ocean ..

Cheers Hilary

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Mary, the photos were wonderful, and you would never know you were rushed in creating any of them. I definitely think you need to do a book with them, and at the very least an exhibit.

Rhonda said...

I found your blog late in the challenge, but I very much enjoyed your artwork. I like the idea of a book.


Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thanks, Sania, for visiting!

Hilary, I always enjoy visiting your blog. You do an amazing and thorough job writing about your subjects. Thank you for your comments. I would love to connect with Amanda.

Thank you, Alex. I really want to do both a book and an exhibit!

Rhonda, I'm so glad you liked the artwork and the idea of a book. Thank you!

Chuck said...

Monti, your work for the challenge was wonderful. I could not even imagine doing a painting a day for 26 days. Truly inspiring art. I really loved the eyes on every painting.

I would really love for you to take my sea turtle from my B&W post and be creative with it. I also have it in color if you would like to view it both ways for comparison.

email me at if you are interested.

I really enjoy your work. Take care.

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Chuck, for the lovely compliment. I love your turtle photo and will be in touch.

Thanks for following my project!

Sharon Himsl said...

Mary, your blog was one of the most ambitious sites I visited. Hats off to a successful run. Your paintings were a delight and never looked rushed.

Pam Williams said...

Your paintings for the A to Z were amazing, Mary. What exceptional talent!

Mary Montague Sikes said...

Thank you, Sharon, for following my paintings. I feel a little lost now, not creating a painting a day!

Pam, thank! I appreciate the compliment!

Tina said...

This is the most ambitious theme I've encountered yet...oh WOW. AFter I'm done reading all the reflections, I'll have to come back and check out your work. Huge art buff here. Unfortunately, very little budget. Not a good combination. I guess I should learn to steal like Thomas Crown. Monet is my favorite...
Tina @ Life is Good
Co-host, April 2013 A-Z Challenge Blog
@TinaLifeisGood, #atozchallenge

EvalinaMaria said...

Congratulations on finishing A to Z challenge> Believe it or not, I'm looking forward to next year. I did not visit as many blogs as I would like during the challenge but now I'm visiting every single one with reflections post.
Evalina, This and that...