At the beginning of September I started an art challenge I made up called #ADeerADay. I had been complaining to my partner about how I wanted a deer print I couldn't afford because "I can't make deer art that good" and he suggested I actually do some deer art myself. So I set myself the challenge of drawing or painting or otherwise art-ing a picture of a deer every day for a month. If you're wondering why deer, it's because I'm obsessed with them. I love drawing them, I love how they look, I love the symbolism of them.So the first day, I painted a magical white stag surrounded by a fairy ring of amanita muscaria mushrooms. I didn't really know where this was going and just went with my imagination. I actually started out with the stag outline in brown and then decided to make everything much more fantastical. This was done with Winsor and Newton inks and some very old second hand watercolours (I think they might be older than me!) on a watercolour board.
On the second day I painted a sweet Jasperware fawn, inspired by Wedgewood. I used a mixture of acrylic paints from different brands, on a Winsor and Newton canvas board. Doing this painting made me realise I needed more paint brushes-I had to borrow a fine Citadel paint brush (which is usually used for painting Warhammer figurines) from my partner to get some of the details in.
On day 3 I did a quick wet watercolour of a cave painting inspired stag. As much as I would love to be able to produce a full canvas painting every day of this challenge, life gets in the way and I've had to accept that some days are going to only have time for quick sketches. The point of this challenge is to make myself do *something* every day for a month, even if its not extensive or finished. I just need to kickstart myself back into doing art regularly. This was also done with the extremely old watercolours, on watercolour paper.
On day 4 I produced one of my best pieces of work ever I think! By this point I had bought new brushes and OH THE DIFFERENCE! I've always liked the idea of using the spotted pattern on fawns to suggest other textures or phenomena, and it's something I've played with in the past. I had the image of a shibori deer sleeping on a bed of kimono fabric for months, and made some tentative steps towards starting it back in June, but I finally got it out onto the canvas. It came out even better than I imagined, which was SO GRATIFYING. The background still isn't finished and still needs a lot of work, but I am so happy with how the fawn looks!
On day 5 I worked on a companion piece for day 4's painting, this time a red shibori deer. I didn't have as much time to spend on this one, and I'm not as happy with it, although I still think it's a good start and something I will come back to. I find red much harder to work with, whereas when I work with different shades of blue I seem to be able to translate the light and shade much more easily. But even realising that is something I need to work on is progress! Days 4 and 5 were both done with acrylics on chunky canvases, which I believe were Loxley brand.
On day 6 I worked on a quick and simple but super effective collage of a fawn using origami paper and a wallpaper sample. I added in a few details with white Winsor and Newton ink and Pentel Pocket Brush pen.
On day 7 I worked on another piece I love-and usually I like about 1 in 50 things I make, so two things I am really happy with in a week is amazing! This is a night sky fawn. The background still needs some work, but when it is finished I will be making prints from this piece, for when I finally get a shop up and running. For this I used acrylics on a canvas board, and the shiny effect is Winsor and Newton Galeria Iridescent Medium. I'm not sponsored by Winsor and Newton by the way, I just seem to gravitate towards their products!
Day 8 was the first day that fatigue really set in, and I didn't get very far with this black acrylic stag. Although looking at it again I'm not sure it needs as much work as I thought. Maybe I will leave this piece as a more quick and loose painting. This is also acrylic on canvas-I think acrylics are my favourite paints to work with in general.
Day 9 was the day I decided to change things up a bit and try to include different genera of deer. The result was a watercolour and ink painting of a pudu, the smallest deer. They are only 44cm tall at most! They are quite differently shaped from the fallow, roe and sika deer I am more familiar with drawing and painting, so this was very good practice for me. I used the ancient watercolours, Pentel Pocket Brush pen and white Winsor and Newton ink.
On day 10 I did a close up of a fawn using Derwent Inktense watercolour pencils, white Winsor and Newton ink, and the Pentel Pocket Brush pen. About halfway through I hated this piece and thought it was going to be awful, but I salvaged it and ended up with something I am alright with.
So that was the first ten days of the challenge. Lots of experimenting, lots of progress, and lots of pushing myself. But there were still twenty days left, in which anything could happen...