Skip to content

Day 25 : #30x30DirectWatercolor2018; FINISHED!!!

June 25, 2018

Day 24, and 32/30! < FINISHED!!!

Whoo hoo! Ding Ding! *Confetti Cannon!* *Throw’s Streamers!*

All of a sudden my marathon is finished!

I was thinking I’d wrap up with something easy like a set of selfies – but the day opened with great weather – and Laurel told me to take advantage of it – so I spent the entire day in my favorite place: the cemetery.

It’s really my favorite place to sketch. It’s quiet, they have beautiful grounds, and there’s plenty of sculpture to draw. There’s no better place for idling away a day.

People ask ‘do you paint every day’ and I usually say, ‘no, but pretty close’, or ‘no, but I try for that’.

Well, in fact, being honest, for the past six months or so, I’ve probably only painted one out of seven days. I didn’t realize how much putting out a book, and cutting back on teaching (and those unending demands of elder care) would conspire to subtract painting from my lifestyle.

This 30 day project, and all the activity surrounding it, has been an incredible return to the old days.

It’s been at turns frustrating, exhausting, satisfying, and inspiring.

I was putting too much pressure on myself at the beginning. As the instigator of this event, I felt like – hey – I better make a good showing!

You really can’t do that. Demanding public successes will only send your talent out on strike.


But as the days went on, it stopped mattering, because the painting started to get really interesting. It got hard enough to keep going, that I stopped caring about what other people would expect, and started painting entirely for myself.

I was expecting to get tuned up. For my hand skills to improve. I was expecting those kinds of gains. But I surprised myself with this mental shift.

Here, at the end of this grind – I’m quite tired! But also deeply satisfied with what I accomplished. And (like any marathon runner) – I’m ready for a good rest! But I’m inspired to get back at it as soon as possible!!! I want to start applying myself to some serious painting!!!


Finally – I want to say – there are still five days left.

I hope everyone is feeling like – if they’ve made it this far, they can make it to the finish line!

Let us know how you are doing. Keep posting your stuff up on facebook or here in the comments. I will do my best to get on there and be more active in the last few days.

I’d be very interested to hear from people, as they finish up their 30 – maybe take a day or two to think about it – and let me know what are your final thoughts?

What did you get out the experience? Would you do it again next year? Are you going to keep painting! (We don’t really need these challenges do we :)  But, I’m looking forward to hearing about other people’s endgame!

And I want to touch base in the next few days with the others. (Maria, Liz, Uma, Suhita and Anne-Laure). Finally, I’ll have time to go and have a good look at what they’ve been doing.

Ok, it’s late here! Talk to you soon!




19 Comments leave one →
  1. Lisaj permalink
    June 25, 2018 9:31 AM

    I love all of your work But this set is definitely my favorite.

  2. June 25, 2018 9:32 AM

    Gosh Marc, your statue sketches are …. aaaahhhmmmm … delicious! Yes, delicious.

    I’m going guns. It has not been difficult because I sketch every day. I’m retired with all the time in the world to do what I want. I spend several hours a day at my kitchen table/art studio sketching and experimenting with colour and my art supplies.

    What I’ve discovered through this wonderful challenge –

    (1) Sketching directly with watercolour is not as difficult as I imagined if I ignore my inner critic, dismiss the innate pursuit of perfection and give up the fear of what others may think. Sure the sketch may be all wonky and messy at first, but with practice like most things, it gets better, easier, more comfortable, and gradually instinctive, which leads to my second discovery –

    (2) I’ve begun approaching almost all my other sketches with a brush instead of a pencil or pen. In the beginning, I’d reach for the pen or pencil, thinking that it’s okay because the sketch is not for the challenge. Then I’d say, “Why not sketch directly with watercolour anyway?” In the last few days, it was only after I’d completed a sketch that I realized that I’d done it with watercolour only – without thinking.

    What did you do to me Marc? Thank you.

    A couple of days ago, a little voice in my head whispered, “You’re thinking that you were born to sketch directly with watercolour, aren’t you?” And I just snickered.

  3. Hélène Moore permalink
    June 25, 2018 9:34 AM

    Bonjour Marc, j’apprécie, chaque jour lire et regarder vos messages, mais ce qui me touche le plus c’est la sincérité dans vos commentaires. Je réalise tout le travail et la perspicacité qu’il faut avoir pour s’améliorer et s’approcher des résultats que l’on souhaite et surtout que l’on peut recommencer plusieurs fois un sujet avant d’obtenir un résultat satisfaisant. J’ai plusieurs jours de retard dans ce défi, mais je suis confiante d’atteindre les 30 aquarelles. Je constate également que je progresse à chaque fois. Merci d’avoir initier ce défi et de nous partager votre regard d’aquarelliste.

  4. Judy Sopher permalink
    June 25, 2018 9:49 AM

    These are just beautiful. There is something so spiritual in these statues. While I’m not an angel fanatic, I do like the last one very much. I am trying to get used to your approach. I think if I can adopt your thoughts on not caring how good these are, I will continue trying the direct approach. In any case, some of it will rub off in my work.Also I am bored with my usual palette and trying some of your “odd” colors which I do like.

    Thank you for these posts and the inspiration.I think I will keep reminding myself that “demanding public successes will only send your talent out on strike.”A thought to remember.

  5. Judy Sopher permalink
    June 25, 2018 9:49 AM

    I want to add that this series along with your comments could be the basis of another book.

  6. barbara joabson3 permalink
    June 25, 2018 9:53 AM

    Hello Marc;

    Congratulations on finishing your 30 day marathon. I was in your Chicago Urban Sketch Workshop.

    I learned so much from you. Thank you for being so accessible. I know that this is a difficult time

    for you. Caregiving is such a complicated passage. You are in my thoughts and prayers.

    I have printed out your detailed water colors and will study them at great length. Please keep me posted.

    I live in Marina City (two round corncobs on the river) and am inviting you and a guest to paint from my 59th floor ,3 balconies , ON A CLEAR DAY, next time you are in Chicago.



  7. June 25, 2018 12:20 PM

    Marc, your drawings are great, with lots of light! I still continue to post every day on instagram even during my trip to Germany. Saturday is getting closer….
    Leonor Janeiro from Lisbon

  8. June 25, 2018 3:24 PM

    These are beautiful Marc! Really inspiring to see and thanks so much for all of your ‘leading by example’! I’ve still got a few days to go with my own personal take on your 30×30 challenge but the end is in sight. I’ve really enjoyed it and it’s opened up a few new avenues for me to explore further which is also really exciting! Thanks again – John

  9. miatagrrl permalink
    June 25, 2018 11:27 PM

    Congrats on finishing! (But I knew you would ;-) ) I’m not using watercolor at all lately, so i didn’t participate in the challenge, but I found this month’s posts among the most interesting and insightful of all the years I’ve read your blog. Even if I’m not painting, I still very much enjoyed hearing your process and analysis. Thanks for that!

    – Tina

  10. Jason Mullins permalink
    June 26, 2018 7:10 AM

    Your favorite place to sketch, the cemetery, it really shows in your work. Thanks for all the wonderful posts!

  11. June 26, 2018 3:53 PM

    Hi Marc. I finished my 30th on Saturday. I think it has been a hugely valuable experience – some of the paintings I made towards the end – and since – are things I know I couldn’t have done when I started – it’s had the effect of loosening me up, and making me start to realise some of the possibilities that watercolour offers. So thanks!

    • July 2, 2018 9:35 AM

      This is perfect to hear David! That’s exactly the goal! It’s amazing how 30 days can make a difference at any level. Great to hear thanks :)

  12. joantav permalink
    June 26, 2018 8:36 PM

    Congrats on a great finish, Marc! These are so light filled and lovely. People don’t usually understand why cemeteries are great places to paint, but most artists do. I have been keeping up with the painting, but due to other artistic events going on here lately that I’ve been a part of the last few have been small and faster…which sometimes is good!

  13. June 27, 2018 3:08 PM

    Lovely drawings/paintings.

  14. Carmela Sunnyvale permalink
    June 28, 2018 5:34 PM

    Hi Marc,
    Thanks for sponsoring this event–it helped me on my quest to ‘normalize’ after dealing with some personal health problems. Although i’v only been able to make a painting about every 2-3 days, it was an improvement for me. Aside from that, I’ve been getting better at mixing color, letting colors collide to add interest, and realizing that I don’t like the mixed media paper that I’ve been using for the challenge. The biggest ‘aha’ was accepting the fact that it is all ‘practice’, it’s never perfection, (but in your case often close to it!)
    Thanks for sharing the ups and downs of this challenge for you. It helps to keep us all motivated.

  15. laura33 permalink
    June 28, 2018 10:39 PM

    These are superb, love them … the statues, but especially the green backgrounds: the colors, values, shapes, and the freshness of it all! Wish I could do that!

  16. Flory permalink
    June 29, 2018 12:47 PM

    Thank you, Marc, for challenging and inspiring me to paint almost every day. I have just three sketches to go by the end of tomorrow, so I expect my train to pull into the station right on time. Sharing your personal journey through a month of painting enhanced the experience very much. My best wishes to you and your family. Flory

  17. Emma Louise permalink
    July 2, 2018 2:22 PM

    These paintings are so beautiful! I always get caught up in details when I paint, and I have have been trying to do more plein airs to get away from that. Your style is certainly going to be inspiration for me!

  18. August 23, 2018 12:39 PM

    Powerful! Love the light!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: