Saturday, 2 February 2013

In Praise Of Projects

So, in 2011 Victoria Evans had the really bright idea of setting up 28 Drawings Later which she describes as a drawing challenge and social networking project. The idea was to draw every day in February and post the results on facebook.

It seemed an interesting challenge, especially as I had never tried to draw outside the life room.

An encouraging, friendly and talented group soon formed and checking in every day to see everyone's drawings became a real pleasure. I started keeping a sketchbook and drew everywhere - mainly in ink and watercolour, a new medium. This opened up a whole world for me, the world of scribbling stuff down that doesn't need to be finished, that nobody ever needs to see, that can be done just to pass the time, to figure something out, to doodle, to fix a memory, to, really it is just endlessly useful. I just wish I had known that years ago!

And at the end, there was a book - my first time in print!

In 2012 I signed up to do it all again. This time round it was massive, and much harder to keep track of everybody involved - and ended in a huge party/exhibition.

This year, Victoria finds herself understandably daunted by the prospect of doing it again so has decided to blog 28 days of being a painter instead, with videos of her at work in the studio. (I am very jealous of that studio. Especially the swing in the corner that you can just see on day one.)

So here I am, blogging every day. Both previous years expanded my abilities and outlook as an artist. There is a magic to a public project that can take all sorts of unexpected turns - really all you can do is start walking down the path and see what fairytale places you end up, after overcoming (or succumbing to) various challenges.

Various other folks are also committing themselves to various month long projects. Fiona Wilson has also promised to write about art everyday, starting with a huge head portrait. 28 Tangos has been inspired by the previous years - I can't dance for peanuts, so won't be taking part. Inventing Trees has a really interesting project of making each days art work build from the previous days. Diary of a Printmaker is taking a photo a day, but has already begun to regret it! Neil has decided to draw like he has in previous years and Catherine has also started really strongly.

Karen Kaapcke's project is not limited to february, as she started drawing herself every day for a year back in September. It has been a joy so far every day - and who knew that so much variety was possible in the same subject? Really, check it out - this is a fantastic example of the creative insights and possibilities that a public project can open up, as well as showing that portraiture is at its best when communicating what it is to be human.

Any other projects out there?

Amendment - yes there are. Just found 28 and later . Ooops.

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