Hello to all and Best Wishes for a tremendous year in 2016!

Last year I did Leslie Saeta’s “30 Paintings in 30 Days” in January 2015. All the paintings I did were around the theme of my small central California small town, Sanger. They ranged in size from very small (5″ square) to 12″ X 40″. I had a great month doing them and I’ve enjoyed them in the gallery all year. Quite a few of the 30 are sold but some still remain.

I have decided to do the challenge again this year, but I’m calling it “31 Paintings in 31 Days for $31”. The focus or theme is “Symbols and Signs” and will feature symbols that are used in art and religion in many different cultures. The five universal signs are the circle, square, triangle, equilateral triangle, and the spiral. I will use these 5 and 26 more in the work I do this January. They will all be small–8″ square, matted and framed, with a 5″ painted/stamped/collaged-and-more image. I will be selling them mounted to 8″ square, but not framed. Buyers can easily pop them into an 8″ square frame of their choice. This will allow me to sell each original painting for $31 plus tax so if you see one that you want, please comment “SOLD” and I will hold it for you. I will be keeping all of the paintings until they are photographed and then the buyers will be contacted for payment and pick up.

So, in a nutshell, that’s the project for the month. Each day, the photo for the day is uploaded to Leslie Saeta’s website which is lesliesaetafineart.weebly.com In the menu bar, you will see “30 in 30” and that is where you will find each day’s paintings. There are hundreds of people from all over the world participating this year and the art is varied by medium, techniques, and subject matter.

I started preparations for the project a few days ago by cutting watercolor paper to 5″ squares and gelli-printing each square with colors/patterns. This way, I won’t have to do all the steps every day and I can quite easily do each day’s project without it taking ALL day. I still have to do all the normal things I do at the gallery–create, order, clean, help customers, teach lessons etc.–so I have to make the painting a day project both realistic and doable, as well as inspiring. Here are the backgrounds–about 15 of them at least.


Another thing that I did in preparation for beginning the project was to pick out the 31 symbols that I plan to use. I used a couple of books and some online articles to help me decide and I made a list on my computer. I also picked a word for each symbol after reading about each one. I didn’t want to duplicate any words so this took some time for research and thinking of synonyms. I also decided on a color scheme for each card, trying to cover all the colors of the rainbow fairly evenly, thinking ahead to what I have in mind for the final “product”.

Ultimately, I plan to make a set of large playing-type cards, commercially printed, with the symbols on the front and colorful, textured backs in the colors of the rainbow. I always try to think of how I want the project to be used as I work through the steps leading up to that finished end result.

Here is the list of symbols, words, and color schemes next to the backgrounds. I was ready to BEGIN!

Backgrounds and my working list

I picked 4 squares to begin with. I chose the Tree of Life (because I had an obvious background to use for it),  Heart, Ivy, and Crown.

Here they are in their early stages.
They are on top of pages of the symbol dictionary located in the back of the book “Signs & Symbols: Identification and analysis of the visual vocabulary that formulates our thoughts and dictates our reactions to the world around us” by Mark O’Connell and Raje Airey.

I usually work on 3-4 small pieces at a time because that allows adequate drying time for the watercolors, glue, and ink as I move from one piece to another and back again. So, this batch of four was the first of what will be 31 by the the end of January. They will all be mixed media pieces and the final form of the project will be matted (actually, double mounted) 8″ X 8″ squares, ready to frame in 8″ square frames. Photos of the 31 pieces will be used to make a set of oversized “cards” (numbered from 1-31) with colorful backs. They are intended to be used for inspiration or motivation or decoration for each day of any month. These cards can be used by anyone wishing to use them and they can develop their own uses for them. I provide the beauty and the starting point, YOU provide the final dispensation. 🙂 It’s always important, in any form of art, to leave room for the viewer to express themselves in it.
The final pieces will be shown in the next blog posts!