The first painting challenge I tried was to complete an acrylic painting in under one hour. I usually paint acrylics over the course of a few days or weeks so this forced me to try new techniques and ideas.
I completed this challenge twice with two different subjects.
This first time, I went for a more abstract background and a central cactus. Usually, I would have painted the background first and waited for it to dry before starting the cactus.
Acrylics are forgiving in that they easily cover dry paint with the next layer, but it is different when they are wet. This challenge forced me to be more precise with my edges. The colours would blend with neighbouring ones if I wasn't careful, which was fine for the background but not for the main cactus.
I completed the first painting with only minutes to spare. I love the end result and am glad I tried this subject for the challenge, a style I hadn't previously attempted. It has inspired a series of similar paintings.
My second time with this challenge, I tried a different system. I painted the bottom area of the sky with thinner paint so that it would dry faster and then saved the flowers for last. I didn't want the red flowers to mix with any of the other colours because I wanted them to contrast against the rest of the painting.
Above all, with this and my other challenges I want the end result to stand alone as art. I don't want people to look at the painting and immediately guess the restrictions involved. My favourite part of this painting, as with many of my paintings, is the sky.
I will likely try this challenge again in the next few months and will update the blog with my results. If you have a suggestion for a future painting challenge, please reach out and share it on Twitter (@manfraiya).