August Challenges

August is proving to be an exciting month. Or maybe "exciting" isn't the right word.

At the heels of completing the MATS Bootcamp, I signed up for the free summer school offered by Make It In Design run by Rachael Taylor and Beth Kempton.

Then I entered the Lilla Rogers Studio Global Talent Search contest. I was hedging with that one because it meant having to pay a fee but in the end (I mean that in a literal sense because I signed up at the last minute), it seemed to be a worthwhile endeavor.

Then two days ago, I also joined the 30-Day drawing challenge at Spoonflower. Add to those several notes pinned onto my cork board to remind me of other deadlines for other contests.

So maybe "exciting" isn't the word I'm supposed to use. Maybe insane is better. Or manic. But here's the thing. When I joined the MATS Bootcamp, I found that being given a brief and a deadline worked for me. I could focus on creating a particular piece of artwork with rules that gave freedom within limits (sounds very Montessori, doesn't it?). Five months later, when Bootcamp came to a close, I was sorry to see it end. I was armed with newfound knowledge in both art and design techniques as well as how to approach and determine subject matter. Lilla shared resources and tips and gave encouragement. The other participants' support and critiques were priceless. Because much of the work I do happens in the confines of my workspace at home, the interaction with fellow boot campers allowed for the kind of enrichment that happens when you surround yourself with other artists (works the same with my writing group!).

That's why when I received the invite to join the MIID's summer school, I decided to go for it. The format was the same in that a design brief is assigned at the beginning of the week. There is a theme, inspiration links, a deadline. There is also a Facebook group where you can ask for or give help.

Now for the other contests. I got wind of the Spoonflower 30-Day challenge a bit late so I joined on the third day. This one is easier because all you have to do is to make a sketch based on the daily prompts that come in your email. You're free to share your work or to just keep it to yourself. The point is to get you drawing every single day. I hopped on to this one because I felt it was a great way to warm-up for the summer school assignments as well as for the Global Talent Search artwork. If not a warm-up, it can also serve as a "break" when I need to walk away. The same goes for the other contests tacked up on my cork board. Sometimes I get ideas for them while working on the assigned brief. Sometimes I come up with a design that doesn't work for the assignment but has possibilities for something else.

I haven't felt this fired up about doing artwork for quite some time. Designs and ideas float around my head even when I'm trying to whip up dinner. When it's time to wind down at night, I sit in front of the TV with my husband but I'm sliding through magazines on for more inspiration.

So this is where August finds me. It will be a month of making art. Contests notwithstanding, by the 31st, I will have made 30 pieces of artwork. If you care to follow my progress with the 30 pieces, I'll be posting each one as I finish them on Instagram. You'll also be able to see everyone else's work here.

Here is the first one. The prompt was Cactus. I used freezer paper to make the stencils and used acrylic paint on Strathmore Mixed Media paper. Audiobook I had on was Shadow of Night by Deborah Harkness (I had The Book of Life but forgot what the previous one was about so had to do a relisten first).

Prompt #1 Cactus


  1. At some point in time, I will have to venture out and into a few of the classes you mention here in this post. I think I'm going to REPOST this blog again on our creative FB page, as well. However, I am really excited that I figured out how to follow you and the spoonchallenge on Instagram! This old dog IS learning new tricks!

  2. Thank you for following on Instagram, Robin! Any chance you can hop onto the Spoon Challenge wagon and join me in yet another adventure? =)

  3. Replies
    1. I have to Debra! It's the only way to keep this old girl going =)
      Thank you for stopping by!

  4. It all sounds so exciting! :) Love seeing passion being fired up x


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