My whole oil painting journey started with a challenge. Michelle Wooderson, a watercolor artist I took a class from through Jeanne Oliver’s artist network, started the #100meadowsproject as a way to dive into oil painting. I really wanted to learn and I figured the best way was to put paint to canvas, so I joined her. Another Instagram friend, Page Ellis, took on the challenge as well and the three of us encouraged each other and shared our research, trials, and victories. I sent them so many pictures of bad paintings and they always found something nice to say! Anyway, I learned a lot during that project… everything from the discipline of creating daily to how to handle the paint better.
I followed it with the #100oilstills challenge I set for myself. And I learned even more from my mistakes and successes, as well as from online classes and art books.
Lately, I’ve been focusing on painting my online class assignments and some projects for licensing, but I haven’t been as intentional about painting every day. So, when Page suggested a new challenge for the three of us, I immediately committed. She had three sets of vintage tickler file index cards, numbered 1-30/31. She suggested using them as the substrate for small paintings, doing one for each day in March.
I have been wanting to spend some time on landscape and color studies, so this would be a great way to do something small every day.
In order to prep the cards to receive oil paint, I applied two coats of acrylic gesso.
It’s funny… the three of us didn’t talk about how we would gesso the cards and when we compared, we each had gone a different direction. That’s the awesome thing about art…same products, same index cards (although mine are blue and theirs are green), and each artist made unique choices.
I painted mine in little rectangles, leaving the blue border all the way around.
Page taped off the top edge of her cards…
And Michelle opted for a stylistic smear of gesso across each card.
And these choices perfectly represent Page and Michelle.
Page is detail oriented, meticulous, patient, and technical. Look at this gorgeous still life she worked on for months…
Michelle is the model of beautiful creative messes. She is relaxed, efficient, and embraces the process with paint on her fingers and a brush stuck in her bun. She just goes for it without overthinking.
Both are talented and I’ve enjoyed having their contrasting creative voices in my ear.
For my cards, I’m going to focus on color stories and landscape studies. I want to work on clouds, composition, color, light, relaxing my work, and maybe discovering more about my style.
Perhaps that’s a tall order for 30 index cards, but I’m just working towards progress!
I have recently been studying landscapes I’m drawn to and the colors used and then I spent some time mixing up custom colors and I have found a palette I love and want to explore some more.
This project will be a good way to explore, refine, and expand that palette even further. (These are all mixed colors with Ultramarine Blue Green Shade, Burnt Sienna, Yellow Ochre Pale, Cadmium Yellow, Ivory Black, Titanium White, and a tiny bit of Pthalo Green and Alizarin Crimson.)
I already cheated and painted the first card to use some pretty paints left on my palette and so I would have an example to photograph.
I strung some twine along my chalkboard to clip the cards to as the dry. (Inspired by Michelle, too.)
I’ll share my progress on Instagram stories mostly, but I’ll give updates over here now and then also.
Also, for those who have asked, I’m working on a resource page for art supplies, books, and online classes, so it’s all in one place. It’s not completely finished, yet, but the information is there if you want to check it out. You can find it HERE. (I’ll also be working on them for home, furniture, and creative business.)
If you’d like to join us in this art project, we’ll be using #indexcardartproject to share on Instagram. You can use any medium you want and any kind of index card. The point is to just practice art!