Reflecting on 30 in 30

A collage of my completed works in January.
A collage of my completed works in January.

Good morning! It’s a week past January 2015 and I’m still recovering from the amazingness of last month. As many of you know, I committed to completing 30 paintings in 30 days for the first time. The challenge showed me a lot of things about myself, my work ethic, and interests. Equally, I learned a lot about my fans and supporters. It was such a high energy time and I enjoyed it immensely.

I managed to paint 30 paintings in the 30 day span, although some of them were not shared (commissions, studies). It was fun to post a painting each day and know that my audience were expecting it and would hold me accountable if I didn’t. I didn’t have any sales goals. I wanted this to be a space for me to push myself creatively, and I’m happy to say that I did.

Within the first week, to my pleasant surprise, paintings started to sell. Some collectors even came back for seconds, and thirds! I wanted my work to be accessible if anyone decided to buy, so I kept the works relatively small and their prices as well. Thank you all for the comments, sharing, and support.

I’m happy to say, once counted, I sold 21 original paintings last month, 17 of which were a part of the 30 paintings challenge. I believe the momentum of the whole occasion had somewhat of a ripple effect. What a great way to start the new year!

Here are a few things that I learned throughout:

  1. You can and should stretch your creative muscle. Don’t be afraid if the ideas aren’t fleshed out to perfection each day. Just show up and work. The rest will take care of itself in the studio.
  2. You can change your mind or idea about a subject. I initially thought I would paint very true to form faces. Instead, I wandered off the beaten path and explored what was more interesting to me. Abstract figures, veiled women, and spunky curly girls were more entertaining to me then getting an accurate portrait or resemblance of someone.
  3. Anxiety will creep in, it will make you feel like giving up. Don’t listen. Ignore the smallness telling you that you can’t finish what you started.
  4. Working on sets and series is a great way to keep up with your creative ideas! Instead of waiting for one day at a time to start each idea in your head, jump on 4-5 canvas in one day. You can finish one or none but just having them started is a big help in my creative process.

That was me. For those of you that did the 30 in 30 challenge or witnessed another artist participating, what did you think about it all?

xx

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jumuah abstract painting by Amira Rahim

30 in 30: Day 9 Abstract Figurative Painting

jumuah abstract painting by Amira Rahim
“Jumuah (Friday Prayer)”
16×16″ acrylic on canvas, SOLD

Hey guys! Hope you had a great weekend. It’s Sunday, which means back to work here in the Gulf. Friday was so much fun for me. I really took a day off which I don’t usually do. I went to Jumuah prayer at a mosque in town, and then afterwards had lunch at Wafi Gourmet. The views of the Corniche and the weather was just magnificent. Afterward, I met with a good friend of mine who was hosting a friend of her own in town.

We did A LOT in a short amount of time, including visiting the Reflected Light exhibition on Manarat Al Saadiyat, drinking 24-karat gold cappuccinos at Emirates Palace, and a Moroccan bath! Have you guys ever tried this before? Anyway, it was a truly relaxing day with lots of firsts. I would love for all my future Fridays to be this breezy! Let’s see if I can keep this up.

About the painting: It is abstract in nature, but you can make out elements of architecture, mosques and city in the foreground. The veiled women in abaya are added as a compositional element and complete the story. Reminiscent of Abu Dhabi life. To purchase, visit here.

Thanks for viewing!

30 in 30: Day 7 Souk Painting

colorful abstract portrait painting by a
“Afternoon Tea” 12×12″ acrylic on panel Available

Day 7. Today was a tough painting day for me. I started the day already anxious about fitting painting in and having time for some other commitments in the evening. And so, I started my day in the studio as usual right after breakfast. I can’t say painting this was easy.

“Afternoon Tea” was painted from some photos I snapped in Dubai while visiting the old souk with my friend. She is Somali and we gathered around her aunt’s shop that day to have the delicious cardamon tea just before maghrib, hence the title. I love the contrasts in the black and white, as well as the colorful background. And I am pleased with the overall product. But, today especially, I’m noticing a resistance in my hand. It is like I don’t want to perfectly render facial features anymore. After all, I am a self-professed abstract artist. These are the most realistic paintings I have done in years and it’s breaking me somehow. I’m not quite sure what’s going on here or what the next three weeks will look like.

I feel like I may veer into abstract faces with a whimsical, illustrative style. Or even abstract figures with no faces at all. Just blank voids. This seems more natural than what I have been doing these last few days. I’m struggling to find my voice in this challenge and that’s mainly because there is no downtime. By the time I post the day’s painting, the day is over and I’m trying to piece together what will be my assignment for the following day.

If any of you out there have done the 30 in 30 painting challenge before, or doing it now, is this how it’s supposed to feel? Am I outdoing myself here aiming for 30 perfect paintings?

Hope to hear from you xx

30 in 30: Day 2 Abstract Portrait Painting

 

 

"Green Scarf" 12x12" acrylic on panel
“Green Veil” 12×12″ acrylic on panel – Available

Day 2. This was much easier. I forgave myself for not being a perfect painter, and instead embraced what makes me different. This piece felt very emotive as I painted it. I knew right away that I wanted to work with a green/blue/violet color scheme. And to my surprise, I actually stuck with it (I can be pretty spontaneous when I’m painting so this was new for me). I resisted my urge to use a lot of colors or make it more vibrant.

In the end, I really like the final piece. It’s kind of haunting, and the veil adds a mysterious touch. I think I could paint veiled women over and over again. This was very fun to create and I didn’t fuss to much about getting the facial features precise or that detailed. Everything was pretty intuitive and in the moment. Maybe I can find a happy medium in between my love for abstract art and realism.

Thanks for reading!

30 in 30: Day 1 Abstract Portrait Painting

 

 

"Live- Portrait Study No. 1 " 12x12 acrylic on panel
“Live- Portrait Study No. 1 ” 12×12 acrylic on panel – Available

Hey guys! Happy New Years! 

The 30 in 30 challenge is onnnn and this is my first entry. I painted it last night and refined some bits this morning. I will admit, I felt completely out of my comfort zone painting this. I found that I don’t have much interest in rendering the facial features perfectly. I did use a few reference photos (my muse was Cara Delevingne), but I was more interested in jumping right into the colors and creating a vibrant portrayal of a woman’s face. Interestingly enough, this portrait is pretty androgynous. There were times when I saw a man’s face (someone on Instagram said Steve Tyler!), and sometimes a woman’s.

I decided to name it “Live” because it feels pretty disco to me. Have a good day everyone! Happy painting to my other artist friends in the challenge.

P.S. The 30 in 30 painting challenge is not a competition. It’s really about challenging ourselves as artists. Just in case the word “challenge” makes you think of a prize or something at the end. Hah.