November 2016 Painting a Day


I’m ready to embark on my fifth daily painting challenge. It all started in April 2014 when I did thirty paintings in thirty days that month. I did it again the following September. Then in April of 2015 I did 100 paintings in 100 days. The next January I did another 30 in 30. These daily painting rituals help me more than I can describe. I can’t wait to start the next one on November 1. I’ve got some ideas for what I want this one to be about. Keep reading.


A few months ago I found myself in a difficult situation. I was training a group of mostly female artists, and one of the male artists was undermining my instructions and being disruptive to the training process. There were sexist undertones.

Unsure of how to address it professionally and respectfully, I called my friend later that night for advice. She paraphrased Brene Brown to me: Don’t puff up, don’t back down. Stand your holy ground.

Those words have been ringing in my head ever since: when my dirt-covered four year old wants to fight over the merits of a bath, when an unexpected political conversation turns heated, when a customer refuses to acknowledge my invoice, his payment well over sixty days late.

I wish I could say I’ve mastered standing my ground in a way that is neither timid nor self-righteous. The closest I’ve come is making art. Daily. There’s a power in making marks on a blank canvas, however beautiful or lacking. And there is power in continuing to do it even when it feels futile. It’s a process that says, “I am here. I am not passive. I have ground to stand on.”

Which is why I’m going to do another painting a day starting this November. It’s time. I’m ready.

If you go back, way back, in my blog, you’ll see that two years ago I did my second ever painting a day challenge. If you don’t want to scroll all the way back, just click here.  Each daily painting was based on a story submitted to me. Each story was about a “pivotal moment” in the writer’s life. This November, I’d love to revisit the idea of each painting telling a different story.

Have you had a “stand your holy ground” moment? A defining moment when you made your mark on the world or just acknowledged your rightful place in it? A time when you or someone you know was particularly brave?
I’d love to hear about it. I’d love to paint about it. Every person who submits a story will receive a set of my art notecards and a chance to win one of my larger paintings. I know it’s a lot to ask, but I hope you’ll consider it. Just e-mail your story to [email protected] by November 1.