Mary Montague Sikes!
For the Challenge, Mary decided to do an animal painting a day, which I thought was very ambitious. Not only did she succeed, her paintings were beautiful. Please welcome Mary!
Alex, thank you for having me as part of the A to Z feature!
What made you choose your theme of a painting a day?
For many years, I've admired people who made the effort to create a new work of art every day. There are even web sites devoted to promoting that work. I thought that the challenge was the perfect opportunity to try out A Painting A Day.
Did you ever worry you wouldn’t be able to create a new painting every day?
Every day, I worried and wondered if I would actually be able to pull off yet another painting. That was especially true while I was in Boone, NC taking a workshop in experimental painting. It was hard to shift creative gears and paint an animal and post it in just a little over an hour for each of four days.
Which one was your favorite?
It's really hard to choose. I have them spread around the walls of my studio right now. The possum and the jaguar are among my favorites, possibly because I like the design of the background foliage in each of those paintings. My husband likes the X-Ray Tetra best. While I was working on them, I found I liked the newest work best on most days.
Did you work from a photo or create them from scratch?
I worked from photos—mostly that I took myself or borrowed from my daughter, Amy, who took animal pictures while visiting Tasmania last year. It would be hard to create animal paintings from scratch unless they were fantasy images.
Did you have a picture of a unicorn?
I looked at unicorn paintings on the Internet to get ideas then used the photo I took of the horse sculpture in Avon, Colorado and embellished it with a horn! I used that same photograph when I painted the horse for the A to Z Challenge.
What do you intend to do with the paintings now?
I took six of the animal paintings with me to Tides Inn for display on Memorial Day weekend. I also printed out a greeting card for each of the animals and sold them at the Art Marketplace set up at the Inn. The gift shop manager there kept all I had left, except for the alligator and the iguana. Turns out she doesn't like reptiles. I'm looking for a gallery or a place that would like to display all the animal paintings together in a show. Several people urged me to contact publishers of children's books with a proposal. I hope to do that as well. It's hard to pursue those things when I want to keep on painting instead!
Do you know what you’ll do for next year’s Challenge?
I loved doing the painting a day and would like to try something similar for next year. However, I don't know what subject might work best. I need to choose something that will keep up my enthusiasm to the last day!
As a bonus, from this year's A Painting A Day for the A to Z Challenge, I have a new painting almost finished on the wall of my studio. It's 30" x 42" acrylic on stretched canvas. For several years, the canvas has been leaning on the floor roughly sketched out with charcoal. Each day in April (except for the time in Boone), I used the leftover acrylics on my palette from the Challenge painting on this new work. I haven't named it yet but hope to have it completed in early June. I'll unveil it then! What a nice surprise to get an extra painting from A to Z!
Thank you, Mary! Your paintings rocked.
Co-host Ninja Captain Alex is the author of Best Sellers CassaStar and CassaFire and his blog can be found HERE