Monday, January 13, 2014


11x14" pencil on bristol board

It was this past Friday. I had just realized that the painting I had planned to post and had been working on for the previous 3 days, still needed at least 3 more days work. I had nothing in progress and had just painted newly arrived canvases black.

I began to panic and decided to do a floating face so I wouldn't miss a day. In the midst of that drawing, which is above and still not completed, I began to feel very uneasy because it wasn't going fast enough or looking like anything I would want to post.

It was then I realized that a semi-permanent knot had taken up residence in the pit of my stomach and that I was waking up each morning panicked, wondering what I could find to paint, wondering if the painting I did work on the day before was dry enough and would I be able to finish it in time, would it be good enough, and on and on and on.

I wasn't painting in the spirit of the challenge. I was painting to have my ego stroked and I was not enjoying myself, at all. I went online and instead of checking the posts for that day, I read Leslie's blog entry. Her words jumped out at me! She basically said that painting for 30 days isn't about creating 30 masterpieces...

I realized I was getting depressed and anxious, the studio began to resemble a detention room and I had lost any desire to create. Clearly, this wasn't the point of the challenge and I needed to step back and rethink my approach. I gave myself a few days to think about it and came to the conclusion that I would tap out and get back to my normal schedule of painting a few hours a day on an ongoing piece at my leisure.

I guess I felt guilty because the next day I decided to clean out the store room...a job I've been putting off for the last two years. Two problems were immediately realized...I'm a packrat and I have far too much inventory to keep. A sale of my work is being planned as we speak, so if you're interested, feel free to check here in the coming days and weeks.

I feel much better and relieved. I apologize for not completing the 30 days and thank everyone for their support and encouragement.

On top of that, I had an hour telephone reading by medium Patrick Matthews this past Wednesday and my feet still haven't touched the ground. Tim validated the movie scene I wrote about a few weeks ago and mentioned everything I had asked him to the day of the reading. I'm still trying to process it all but with the anniversary coming up I thought it best to find some peace and I certainly wasn't finding it in my manic approach to the challenge.

So, I tried. It didn't work. Maybe I'll experiment with some quick studies and see how that goes and try again next time. Thanks again and I so hope I haven't disappointed. I'm realizing that I'm not failing anymore, I'm just finding out what doesn't work for me and I feel really good about that.


  1. Not completing the challenge is NOT a failure! I think of it as a learning tool and each person learns what he or she needs to learn at that particular time. I actually find it brave of you to allow yourself to do what is right for you and to post it. So ..... applause!!! hugs ......

  2. Couldn't agree more with Linda - no failure at all, because it's not about 'victory or defeat', is it?
    I was thinking of a saying in German which translates to 'the journey is the real / actual goal'. It's not about the end of the road, it's about the road itself. And who's to say that we need to stick with the road?
    I also came cross another quote: "The only journey is the journey within.” I think it is fitting as well... as long as we realize something about ourselves, that's gain as well...
    big hug.

  3. Hey there... relax... you can still do 30 paintings in 30 days... so... maybe they won't be 30 consecutive days... but... here's the appropriate time to say... "whatever!"...
    Love seeing your work pop up!

  4. Its okay Suz, don't feel guilty at all. You have found what feels good to do "at this time",, you got your toes wet- and soaked too,, but you were wise enough to pull yourself out before you shribbled up. Were not disappointed- it was fun to see you stretch those healing wings, and then go sit on a branch and rest. So wise of you,, and thank you for telling us how you feel!! We love you bunches!
    tweedles and moms

  5. Hi Suz!... Glad to see that you've finally come up for a breath of fresh air! The only failure in life is in trying to live it according to anyone's standards and goals... those other than your own!

    At the end of the day... it is the joy one gets from knowing that your journey and every day you live and breathe directs you towards discovering your Authentic Self... Who" you are... unique and one-of-a-kind... a singular Soul... just like the one you loved in Tim!

    Serve that Self with dedication and honour over your entire life time. In those final moments that we will all face alone at the end... there will be no "what ifs."You will depart in the splendour of your own Life's joys and achievements.... with earned dignity and honour intact!

    I much look forward to the return of Suz to her own easel.

    Paint!... Paint... Paint my Friend!

    Hugs... and much Peace!

  6. No failure at all!! I think it's wonderful that you have the courage to follow your heart and intuition! A woman after my own heart:)

  7. Suz, you gotta do what you gotta do, no? I am amazed at anyone who can do 30 in 30; I'm lucky to do 1 in 30. I still love the floating faces.

  8. Suz, I'm grateful for you sharing this brave journey and what you've learned, definitely not a fail.

  9. Painting deadlines are both good and bad. Good because they make us produce. Bad because they cause stress.

    No painting should cause stress and I'm glad you stepped back from it. As others have said, its not failure, its understanding what you want to do or don't want to do and there's no shame in that. You're a fabulous painter with no need to prove it to the world in a marathon. Hugs.

    I'm so glad Tim has your back and that comfort is provided, that while not complete, is reassuring all the same and can help you live life as it unfolds for you.

    Now screw the painting for a few days, let's have cake. :) Oh and wine. :))

  10. Hi Suz,
    I have been admiring your challenge paintings and thought that I would join in the challenge too, but I only made it to 4 days in a row before I felt the same as you and this morning I realized I wasn't enjoying the stress of producing one painting a day. So I have gone back to my usual routine and am relieved. Like you a felt a bit of a failure, but then I reasoned that I don't need to prove anything to anybody! I'm glad to read that I'm not alone in this.
    Happy stress free painting !!!
    Hugs Diana

  11. I love that you know yourself so well and are able to step back when it's not good for you or your that's a challenge! Love the drawing :)

  12. I am glad you raise the problems associated with completing a painting in one day. It's such a popular 'movement' and clearly artists painting skills have improved ten-fold because of it! (It's amazing how much more accomplished painters are now compared to a decade ago). However, like you seems like a daily painter runs the risk of dampening their own spirit in favor of production.

    When I first started painting daily painting was really popular so I dashed something out everyday and one of my mentors said to me "you know, you COULD spend a little more time on these paintings, or paint bigger, or paint on the same thing for a WEEK". Haha!! It hadn't occurred to me. I look back at those first paintings and cringe at how sloppy they were. Nowadays I still favor a finished-in-one-sitting type painting, but I also took my teacher's advice and investigated other approaches too...The daily painting movement is absolutely the best thing that has come along in decades---but (as I learned) it has an upside and a downside. You were right to listen to your heart!

    So Happy to hear about your session with Patrick Matthews! :)

  13. p.s. Love the floating face...the upward gaze ....looks hopeful

  14. Gosh, we are so hard on ourselves and tend to jump in on these challenges without thinking about what's best for us. I no longer do the ones I know will just cause me stress and a feeling of defeat when I quit (or even if I complete them and just don't like most of what I'm doing). So...breathe...relax...know your limits and the heights to which you can reach if you take your own path :) Big hug for you today, Suz!

  15. For Pete's Sake girl - give yourself a break! :D You tried it… it is damned HARD. I found myself feeling similarly, and gave myself permission to not even think about it for 2 days. When I came back I found I had more energy, but that's me, and I've done this before. Someday I will do a 24 paintings in 24 hours - (yes, very small ones) but I'll get the subjects set up before hand and be totally prepared. I'm glad you did what you did! I'm thrilled that the medium was able to reach and help! I have to say I am a pack rat myself, and simply unpacking from the studio move into my home is taking me MONTHS. May never actually finish. Wish I could either help of come bring you lunch. xoxoxoxo

  16. You didn't bail! You just burnt out and it's not surprising! But still you achieved an amazing amount and produced a huge amount of paintings in a very short time and yet the quality remained as high as ever - if not even higher!!! You have no need to try and justify it - some of the people doing the 30 in 30 just paint everyday, but not always on a different painting. You are amazing! Your work has been flawless and you just need a few days off to recharge! :0)

  17. Well I didn't fail .... I didn't even try it!! Well done you for finding out what doesn't work for you. You inspire whatever you're doing. ;-)

  18. Oh my gosh, Suzanne, I completely understand and sympathize! That knot in the pit of the stomach and feeling of panic is not part of what should be the joyful creation of art! It is the anticipation of those things that always make me turn down participation in these challenges. I am not good at art under pressure but need inspiration and even a sense of spiritual calm to work well. We are all different and approach our creativity in different ways. You need to be true to your own processes and spiritual needs. I agree with Sandra - your work is amazing and flawless. Just keep on doing what you do - you are such a wonderful artist!

  19. Well, Suzanne, you hit a nerve with this post. I congratulate you for taking care not to be a martyr and carry on when it was effecting your very core.
    I was the martyr on the last one and completed the 30 days, but determined never to participate in one again. Celeste made some very good points which I agree with and my own personal journey has shown how much the practice of DP improved my skill with paint BUT I am also aware of the downside of painting just to fit into a prescribed niche. An individual has to be able to find a fit suitable for their own temperament and after years of meeting deadlines for someone else... I manage to give myself the same authority. I do experiment a lot. I love the act of discovery and find it feeds me. But under pressure all that joy disappears. AND JOY IS WHY WE DO ART.
    So kiddos for you and thanks for sharing
    Wonderful to know about Tim. Joy of a different kind.

  20. Hey, I've just surfaced from a heavy duty weeks at work and some low spots on the train of life. What you said is exactly why I've never wanted to commit to a 30 day challenge. I have't even read any of the other comments but I'm sure they've say much what I would have said which is "Don't be too hard on yourself, especially if it sucks the joy of painting right out of it." And I'm glad for the touch stone with the medium. I hope you're still floating.

  21. I missed this blog post, but knew I hadn't seen any dailies! This style of challenge is better suited IMHO for those artists who need to build the habit of painting everyday. You already have that, my friend. Cleaning out the store room is a way of clearing the decks for something new! I love hearing about your readings!

  22. I hear ya, I totally get ya, and I am right there with ya - you don't have to convince me of anything..or anyone else, right? I have used this time to experiment with some things I am not comfortable with..and DID not want to take the time to DO so. If you aren't enjoying it, it gnaws at you, then just don't do it to yourself and I admire you for listening to yourself and getting off the train. It's not the time. Maybe there doesn't need to be THAT time for you. You ARE an everyday painter, not a 'painting a day' kind of artist. It's agonizing pressure to 'complete' something in a sitting..or several hours of sitting and breaking - in a day. I admire your self recognition and ability to STOP yourself. And I bet Tim has something more to say about it, too. Well done my friend - carry on and you will get those girls RIGHT...looks good!

  23. I stressed out last year over the 30/30 because it was my first time. You described how I felt almost exactly. It was making me cranky! This year, I told you that I was going to go easy on myself and just get done what I get done. Well, guess what? I got THREE done. Haha! Just 3. But I really like those 3, and I painted them like I wanted them to be painted. And I posted them on Leslie's site, and I got very nice comments on my blog (very uplifting), and a couple more followers. But I love that Leslie holds the challenge, because it gives me something to look forward to after the holidays. It's fun to discover other artists (like you) and see what people are creating at their easels. Good for you for painting on your level (very finished masterpieces) and putting out lots of them. You were such a trooper! And good for you for realizing when it was time to switch it off and come up for air. We have to be kind to ourselves.

  24. Love this and the post. I do get it. I am painting a painting every day this month, but have not told anyone this but you. So keep it to yourself. ;-) I am not doing it for anyone else's challenge, and couldn't. I'm doing it to teach myself something, and I feel I am really clear on what I've learned. Good for you bailing.

    Love your work so much.

    XOXOXO Barbara

  25. well said and I agree completely. I did about a dozen paintings last year for the 30/30 choosing a 'road trip' theme and was pleased with the ones I finished although I did not complete 30 in 30. I am exactly as you describe yourself. It's a commitment so now I'm stressing over it. Every painting has to be perfect, unique, brilliant.
    This year I passed because I have too much on my mind and remember how literally I take these things.
    I love what you've done, Suzanne. You are such a good painter and your work is indeed, outstanding.


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