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30×30 Guest Artist : Suhita Shirodkar

May 15, 2018

I’m most motivated when painting at a workshop with artist-friends. It’s like one part inspiration and one part public-shaming. You can’t give into doubt or laziness when you’re painting side by side. Everyone is raised up by each other’s work. But at the same time, nobody want’s to be the first to quit for the day :)

That’s a big part of what I want to get out of 30×30. Recapturing the manic energy of a sketching trip with these people!

But I wanted to let the others tell you in their own words what they’re looking forward to.

So – let’s meet the people who will be posting a new work, every day, for the entire month of June!

30×30 with Suhita Shirodkar

I first met Suhita as a fellow volunteer instructor at an urban sketchers symposium, (not sure? was it Lisbon 2011?). <Suhita says: “Barcelona when I was correspondent, but really in Brazil What years were those? (2013/14) later than you think :)”

She’s an illustrator, an art teacher, and author, as well as being a popular art-blogger – and, you can follow her Instagram at @suhitasketch, 

I’ve always admired her fearlessness towards sketching subjects.

I still remember (with amazement), seeing her walk up to a fish-monger inside a crowded market in Cambodia, and begin sketching – standing up, sketchbook only inches from the flying fish-guts, jostled on all sides by a clamoring mob.

The mental discipline to make a painting even when everything is stacked against you – that’s the kind of focus I’d like to learn from her.

Five Questions for Suhita about #30x30DirectWatercolor2018:

When you think about 30 days of daily practice – do you have a theme or a goal that might guide your work the month?

Suhita: I’ll be taking things I am already studying, and incorporating them into the 30×30 challenge. Right now I’m focussing on value studies, using more negative shape in my work, and mixing colors more mindfully. All of which will lend themselves well to 30×30.

Quick Tip: I’ll start by making a list of subjects for days on I can’t come up with ideas. Some days I can spend forever trying to decide what to paint instead of painting!

Are there any specific materials or techniques you plan to investigate? Will you use your reliable tools, or use this time to experiment with a new thing?

Suhita: As someone who works a lot with line, this is going to be an interesting challenge!

The “shape-first”, “keeping it abstract until pretty late in the game” approach will do me good.

Since this is quite different from much of my work, I won’t switch up everything: I’ll work with my usual palette of watercolors. And, I’m not ruling out the use of (some) line. My trusty Sailor bent-nib pen and Blackwing pencil will certainly be hanging around if I feel like they’re needed to add that last bit of definition on a piece.

Might I explore new materials? I don’t know. If something jumps at me in the middle of the challenge I’m not averse to dropping my plans and exploring a new route.

Do you think 30×30 will be a challenge? Or is one painting a day easy for you?

Suhita: 30 days is a pretty long challenge. One painting a day means remaining mindful about setting aside time for it, especially on busy days. It also means being flexible about the scope of a daily painting and allowing for days with more and less time.

Let’s have a small tip! Give us a strategy people might use to reach the goal of 30×30?

Suhita: 30 days is a marathon, not a sprint! Don’t overcommit to pieces that take so much time that you burn out in a few days. I plan to do larger pieces only on days I have more time, but I’ll do a small 5″x7″ piece on a busy day. Also, all’s not lost if I miss some days: I’ll jump right back on board and pick up where I left off.

What do you hope have gained at the end of the 30-day marathon?

Suhita: I’m hoping that 30 straight days focussing on direct watercolors will bring new confidence to working with shape-first. I love working in line (and I don’t think that’s going to change), but every new technique is one more arrow in an artist’s quiver!

Looking for the FAQ/Announcement < click here!

Suhita also has a web-store at: where you can pick up her book Vintage Signs of San Jose.

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