10 ways to Survive a 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge

Monday, September 9th, 2013


1. Pick a date to start and begin preparing a couple months before.

I am a firm believer in mentally preparing for a challenge beforehand! You don’t suddenly run a marathon without training, right? The same goes for a creative challenge! Make a dream board with inspiring images and quotes and put it in a place you can see everyday. Imagine yourself completing the challenge.

2. Tell everyone you know you will be doing the challenge to hold yourself accountable before you start.

This goes along with the training part that I mentioned above. Post items on Facebook or your blog that your challenge is coming up, tell your friends what you are planning on doing, have supports in place that you can call on when you are feeling lazy or not interested in continuing, or other artist emergencies. The more you talk about doing something the better chance it will become a reality.

3. Find reference materials and ideas for what to paint before you start.

This was huge for me, the hardest days for me during the 30 days were the ones when I wasted time trying to figure out what to paint. You can choose a theme to make it easier or a couple of series ideas going into the month. I printed out about fifteen different images I wanted to reference and also put a lot of images on my pinterest board.

4. Have at least a weeks worth of materials stocked up.

The day before you start, do an art store run and get some fun artist goodies. Make sure you have enough supplies to get through at least the first week. Buy a special brush or paint that is a bit expensive to treat yourself and get you excited to start.

5. Post each day’s painting to Facebook or your blog for instant feedback and accountability.

This was essential to me finishing the challenge! If I know people are expecting to see a daily painting, I am much more likely to complete it. It also pushed me to do better work because I knew all of my friends were going to be seeing it.

6. Do two paintings in one day to give yourself a day off when you start the second week.

Everyone has different work styles, but for me, I absolutely hated the feeling of being behind. I missed a day because I was sick and it was hard to get the motivation to do two in one day. If you do two before you are behind psychologically it is easier to feel ahead of the game.

7. Invite artists friends to paint with you on some of the days.

When you are lacking motivation, this makes it fun again!

8. Do not fight the artist buzz brain.

Be careful of thinking you are still going to be your normal self during this time. Painting daily can be exhausting and some things are going to be pushed aside temporarily. Don’t beat yourself up on not doing dishes right away, taking a while to get back to friends, and the house being a bit messy, it is all a part of the experience.

9. Find motivational music, documentaries, and podcasts to have in the background while you paint.

I listened to Artist Helping Artist podcast by Leslie Saeta and hearing information about the art business made me excited to start my own. I also loved watching artist documentaries while I painted because it made me feel more like a professional. I swear by Pandora radio to play songs that fit the essence of my painting as well. Whatever works for you, you need to make it fun!

10. Plan a celebration for when you finish.

This is so important! Plan on going to a nice restaurant or having a party to show off all of your hard work and bask in the marvels of your friends who are amazed at what you accomplished in 30 days!

2 responses to “10 ways to Survive a 30 Paintings in 30 Days Challenge”

  1. Jen says:

    Susan, these are all great advice on how to accomplish a feat you conquered. So proud you did this and what an inspiration! Hope to see more!

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Susan Shiney Fine Art - artist@susanshiney.com