A Pastel A Day

Susan Singer of Richmond, VA is creating a pastel painting (at 6" x 9" or 9" x 6") daily for her project    A Pastel A Day...

1. Why did you decide to do this project?  
I had several reasons for deciding to do this project, some of which are very personal, some financial, some impulsive. When I decided to begin the project, I was 4 weeks into a 10-week separation process from my husband. I was exhausted, run down, drained, chronically angry and frustrated and resentful - you know, the reasons people separate from their previously beloved spouses. Anyway, I needed something to help me get my energy back. I have always been an incredibly energetic person, full of enthusiasm and projects and ideas and creativity, but my marriage had sapped that out of me, and I wanted it back. When thinking about what I could do besides the project I was already working on (The Eyes Project which Noah modeled for), I thought about a Pastel a Day. It could be good because it would give me something to focus on, something simple and concrete to do each day to get me into the studio and make me draw. It would be a commitment to myself which I would also make public so I would be forced to do it. And perhaps I could even sell some pieces and make some much needed money. So on January 1st, I began putting the pieces in place for it to happen, and on January 3rd I published the first one.

2. How has doing a yearlong/daily project affected your life?  
The reality of doing a Pastel a Day has been a bit different than my idealization of it was. First, it's more work: I do the artwork (sometimes I do 3-4 at one sitting, but shhh! don't tell anyone!), then I photograph it, crop it, etc. Then, I post it on eBay where I also write a little story to go with it. Afterwards, I go to Mailchimp where I create a post to send out the next morning to my mailing list (which has grown from 0 to 43 over the course of a month! Very proud! Though I'd really like it to be 100 times that large!). Mailchimp automates sending to Facebook and Instagram as well so that helps a bit, though in the morning I have to post to my personal FB account as Mailchimp only posts to my art account. During the day I sometimes have to answer people's questions about the piece or like their comments - i.e. social media maintenance. I would say I spend between 1-2.5 hours a day on the project between creating the piece (the quickest part) and marketing it. When it sells, I have to package it and take it to the post office as well, which is another 45 minutes. That's a lot of work for $65! But I assume that over time the auctions will get heated and the pieces will sell for more, so I'm in it for the long term.

The project has given me the energy and drive I was looking for when I started it. The night my husband moved out, I wasn't exactly in the mood to draw, but I was really glad to feel the need to do so. It took me out to the studio and got me in front of the easel which was the absolute best place for me to be at the time. 

I've also really appreciated the feedback I've gotten. I've sold over half the pieces and have gotten 3 commissions so far because of the work I've done. That's very helpful! And each time I hear the eBay whoosh on my phone, I get a thrill knowing someone has bid on a piece! It's fun and makes me happy!

I love that I'm getting my work out into the world in a way I haven't done so before. I've shown and sold lots of work, but doing it daily and posting it every day is a different thing than building up to a huge show once a year; one night's huge opening then the attendant crash afterwards as all the hard work is over and done! And people seem to be enjoying it. Friends comment frequently that they enjoy opening the emails and seeing beauty first thing in the morning.

In July I'll be spending a month in Iceland and am hoping to create small landscapes from there each day as a way to memorialize my travels. That's one of the greatest things about this project - I decided at the start that I wouldn't just stick with subjects that were "more likely to sell". Instead I decided to do whatever the heck I wanted to and to not worry about whether they sold or not. As a consequence, I've done some abstracts I might not have tried before and used colors I wouldn't have thought to use if I were commercially motivated. It's fun and exciting and daring and I'm really glad I'm doing it!

See more of Susan's project on Facebook!

1 comment:

Beq Parker said...

I look forward to seeing your growth through this. Art saved me once and I guess I'll agree that what doesn't kill you makes you stronger.
Peace, Susan.