The January Painting Project


For many years I've wanted to paint and only paint to earn a living, but that has eluded me. As a friend pointed out, maybe I didn't want to that much otherwise I'd be doing it! I think there's truth in that, I enjoy variety so much. I thought I had to be all or nothing but that's nonsense. I have earned a living through illustration since my first professional job in 1990 and in the last ten years making and selling my own prints, cards and wrapping paper direct to the public and during that time I've had concentrated spells of painting. I've enjoyed using the computer to aid the design process for illustration work, taking ink drawings into Illustrator and turning them into colour that can be manipulated and filled in Photoshop . That's definitely something I'm glad I know how to do, but there are hundreds of thousands of people who can paint incredibly with a computer and design purely on it and I don't really want that to be me. There's something wonderful about a tangible piece of art with texture and wholeness. I always want to be someone who uses mixed media but I have a little voice inside me that I see as "painting" that whispers at me constantly. This is my year to investigate this properly.

This January I am going to paint every day and it would be lovely if you wanted to join me and explore what you can do too! I'm going to work in blocks of five days with weekends off. I still need to make orders for customers within this time. And if you are joining in just do what you can manage; you might feel so inspired that you want to paint 7 days a week. We all have demands on our time - I have two teenagers who need regular feeding for example and they will still be at home for most of the coming week! 

I am thinking about hash tags to use on Instagram where I will be showing some live elements of my painting process in Stories. That way you can see what I am doing and I can find you if you are joining in. It almost goes without saying that it is completely optional to post what you are doing.

I will be using these for this project, both of which have few or no other contributers yet:





and these which have regular contributers - some more than others:





you will have your own favourites and might want to get your work under the nose of specific people or no one at this point! I'll be tagging mine with my own name and different tags each day depending on what I am painting with, on what and the stage I am at with it.

You don't have to use any tags at all; if you want me to see what you're doing you can either tag me directly or use the #paintwithgabriellabuckingham tag - as I am almost 100% sure that will be one no one else will use! I will then know that you're following along. Whether you choose to keep  your work private or share it is entirely up to you. I just hope that you feel excited to paint and get into the habit.

I will be painting with acrylic for January, both on wood, paper and canvas - whatever I have to hand really! The beauty of acrylic is that it is fast drying and depending on what formulation you have - or even how much water you use it can be treated like oils or watercolours. I like to use both approaches in my work.

For the first five days I am going to choose five objects to paint from life. This doesn't necessarily mean that I will paint them realistically and I might do a few versions of each taking a different approach with the same subject. I'm interested in colour, light and pattern.

I want to start small and just see what happens with the aim of completing a few larger paintings by the end of January. 

What about you - do you have a plan? 

Gabriella BuckinghamComment