“Gentle Touch” 5×7, oil on panel Buy Now

Here’s how my 31 in 31 painting challenge has gone so far: I work on my musician series until it hurts my brain, and then, as a little reward to myself for trying something new, I paint a bird or two. I know, I know, I’m living the dream over here. 

I like this process. 

When I set out to paint today’s piece, I needed a rectangular canvas but only had my trusty squares. I found this old watercolor panel in a stack of random items in my studio and wondered how a surface intended for water would handle oil. Fellow artist Gretchen Gackstatter is also doing the 31 in 31 painting challenge and recently wrote in her blog about the joy of just playing around with your medium. She wrote that she would alter the Picasso quote of “inspiration does exist but it must find you working” to “inspiration does exist but it must find you playing.” That’s what I did today– I messed around. The surface drew all the moisture out of my oil paints. Blending was non-existent which was odd but satisfying; in all my paintings this month I’ve been trying to let my color choices and shapes stand for themselves. I want every brushstroke to show, to matter. 

This is painting is of my beautiful and talented little cousin from Albuquerque who recently played piano at Carnegie Hall. What a gem. 

I am absolutely still collecting photos of musicians for this series. If you’ve got any, please leave them in the comments or email me ([email protected]). Thank you to all of you who’ve sent them my way. If I haven’t used it yet, it doesn’t mean I won’t!