Wednesday, October 1, 2014

The Idle Challenge: Discovery, Rediscovery, and Recovery

"Real dreams are about seeing what others miss. If you have your head in the clouds, you can see the world more clearly." - Tom Hodgkinson, How to Be Idle

Reflections On The 30 Day Ramble 

What a month of painting and reading and writing and daydreaming this has been. Thanks to Leslie Saeta and her 30 Day Challenge over 1000 artists participated in a challenge to paint and write and post for 30 days. The collage image above was created on PicMonkey and was much easier than I ever expected.  The paintings are on my website now and I would be delighted if you were to take a swing by there to look at the gallery, and just click on an image to see the full painting.  

The 30 day challenge was very much a 30 day ramble, a reflective walk through the landscape of my own creative process. 


A good reflective ramble will open one's eyes, and I discovered a number of things this time around. First of all my trusted guidebook, "How to Be Idle" was a great eye-opener. I actually didn't know what a ramble was until I read this book. And I never really thought about how weavers were in charge of their own day until manufacturers came along and became their bosses. I have a couple of people to thank for this - my friend, artist Aryana B. Landir introduced me to creativity coach Mark McGuinness who recommended I read Tom Hodgkinson's "How to Be Idle." I loved finding a quote from the book to accompany each painting and to inspire the spin of my reflection on the painting experience. Blogging, like painting, is an opportunity to reflect.


It may be hard to imagine losing sight of the joy of painting, and before the challenge I was burying the joy under a whole lot of unnecessary stress. It was time for me to step back and rediscover the joy of painting for the sake of painting. What other reason could I possibly have to paint but that I enjoy it? Why not paint figures? Why not paint flowers or landscapes? Why not take a crack at non-objective abstracts? Why not collage? Why paper? Why not Yupo and Crescent Board? How about mixed media?  

Recovery? I Don't Think So.

I have enjoyed this challenge because I allowed myself not to be covered - buried - under the stress of doing. I don't want to be re-covered in the kind of stress I felt before I started the challenge - I want to continue to be the loafer, the daydreamer, the rambler, who paints because it's fun. I've uncovered the joy. No need to "re-cover!"  

Thanks for following along. I hope it was as much fun for you as it was for me.  I'll continue blogging along - not every day - but I plan on writing once a week.  


  1. You did gorgeous paintings!
    I can feel the joy in all of them.
    Looking forward to see your next work !

  2. I loved reading your posts this month Jim. And you inspired me several times to shut down, and embrace idleness. Your work is always so thought provoking. I enjoyed seeing your florals, and your collages as well. Great work Jim! Thanks so much for your generous comments on my posts!

    1. And thank you, Sheila, for being such a supportive painting buddy! It is good to have some dialogue along the way, isn't it. I am happy to know that the messages regarding "being idle" resonated with you. It's sort of just another way of saying "stop and smell the roses!" Looking forward to seeing your florals on yupo! :-)

  3. NICE work!
    I enjoyed viewing your work!!!!
    I did the challenge, and I hope to participate again = )
    Maybe, our paths will cross the next time around.
    KEEP Painting = )

    1. Thank you, Sue! I have appreciated your comments and also enjoyed seeing your work in the challenge. I'm following you on Google +