Pandemic painting pals tackle January blahs with chilly charity challenge

It might be easy to go into January and keep a paper-thin to-do list with one eye on the fireplace and the other on the calendar, hoping that spring will rejuvenate motivation – but not this group of PEI artists.

Instead, they have committed to doing a small sketch or painting every day in January, either of real life or outdoors. Each day they auction the work online for $ 25 to $ 50 each and donate half or more of the proceeds to a local charity at the end of the month.

“I look forward to learning from this experience and seeing which door this leads me to. It is great to master this challenge with friends as it helps me to be accountable to the other girls,” said the artist Kim Jabbour.

Three of the group’s four members, Gloria Wooldridge, LiliAnne Webster, and Jabbour, met in 2019 while participating in an open-air or outdoor art competition held over five days in eastern PEI

This style forces you to see what can’t be seen in a photo.– Kim Jabbour

“We made a commitment to attend every year from now on, and of course we were all ready to do so last summer. The fees were paid and then it was canceled due to COVID,” said Woodridge.

But they didn’t let the pandemic stop them. They decided to meet safely to paint outdoors as much as possible.

“We called each outing a ‘best day ever,’ agreed a location, and embraced the sunshine, community and challenges of outdoor painting with the supplies we bring in public,” said Wooldridge. “Painting outside is completely different and a fantastic way to really see and appreciate this beautiful island. We’re so happy to call home.”

“Open air is completely different”

The group met more than 20 times in the summer and fall of 2020, adding artists Lori-Ann Lingley and Barb MacLeod.

“I’m a better artist because of them,” says Gloria Wooldridge. (Gloria Wooldridge)

“I’ve always tried to challenge myself by trying to learn new skills that expand me as an artist but also as a person,” said Webster. “By encouraging each other to paint, stretch, and learn, we have forged a deep and meaningful friendship. Each of us set off for personal reasons, but we agree in our desire to paint our beautiful island when.” we are together and paint outside, something magical happens. “

Webster adds that not every piece is a masterpiece and not every piece is sold, but every piece of art they produce inspires a desire to create more and better.

“I still paint with photos for reference sometimes, but painting outside has improved my skills and observation skills,” said Webster.

“The outdoors is completely different. Not only do you have to endure heat, cold, wind and insects, you also have to rely on your eyes. This style forces you to see what can’t be seen in a photo,” said Jabbour, who has been painting since 2004 but not outdoors.

“We’re forced to paint faster because the sun and shadows change. It’s addicting!”

“What a learning curve. Composing a picture from real life is a whole different thing than composing a photo!” repeated Lingley.

“We have become a sisterhood”

The women not only stretched artistically, but also made new, strong bonds at a time when many were battling for friendships during the pandemic.

“These women have helped me become a better artist and have given me deep encouragement. I can truly say we became a sorority,” said Webster.

“I would recommend everyone to step out of their comfort zone and try something new,” says Lori-Ann Lingley. (Lori-Ann Lingley)

“The kindness, patience and encouragement from these artists has been a blessing in my life,” Lingley said. “I would recommend everyone to step out of their comfort zone and try something new. You could make new friends and find a creative outlet that nourishes your soul.”

Now the group has been inspired by a competition that Strada Art Supplies offers for painting or sketching every January to win one of five easels. They added their own commitment to a local charity helping women at risk, Open Door Outreach.

The women post their art on Instagram daily at prices between $ 25 and $ 50 – well below what some of their artwork typically charge – and many of the pieces were snapped up quickly.

“Advocate and encourage one another”

Painting outside in stormy January weather is a challenge in itself, say the artists.

“These women helped me become a better artist and gave me deep encouragement,” says LiliAnne Webster. (LiliAnne Webster)

For one thing, Wooldridge had to take refuge in her car a few times to paint, noting that rain and watercolors don’t really mix.

Jabbour said the voice in her head reminds her every day to paint faster, not limit herself to details, and have fun – after all, the work should be quick studies, not masterpieces.

Lingley said she found the obligation to paint every day in January “exciting and challenging” although she was less inclined to work outside.

“I’m always looking around the house to see what I can try next, what could be fun and interesting,” she said.

The group plans to keep their physically aloof gatherings throughout winter, banding together for camaraderie, getting out of the house and taking care of each other artistically during the pandemic.

“We all learn from each other all the time – this is the best group of women. We stand up and encourage each other. I’m a better artist because of them,” said Wooldridge.

Does that sound inspiring to you? The best day ever says there is always room for more – two meters apart, of course.

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