So what is it about 400, you might be wondering...I'm glad you asked. In the beginning of this journey, I was thrilled to take a workshop with one of my painting idols, Jesse Reno. (Check him out HERE.) To this day, what I learned in that class still influences my approach to painting each piece, but also my approach to art as a discipline. His advice at that time to new painters was to paint 400 pieces, after which you could consider yourself a professional. That's right. 400 paintings.
At the time, the task seemed herculean. But I knew in my bones he was right. And so I started counting. And keeping nerdy spreadsheets. And diligently working toward the 400. This approached helped me develop a daily discipline that has seen me through the ups and downs of painting - the failed experiments, the low mojo days, the inner critic marathons. The number worked like blinders on a horse. 400 kept me going when I felt uninspired. 400 made me show up in my pajamas when I had the flu. 400 dragged me into the studio after a rather severe critique by an esteemed colleague. 400 made me paint when I felt I had nothing to say. And each time I showed up, something magical happened.
As I painted this queen, I realized how instinctive and natural the process has come to feel. How unintimidated I have become. How willing I am to try new things and stretch my goals. How much FUN this is!!! Truly.
So today I feel like I've graduated - ready to head out into the world (literally! Ireland is coming!) and see what the 400 has prepared me to do. But in the meantime, you can bet I will be working on the next 400.
Jen Walls and her imaJENation