oil paintings and photography by Amber Honour

30 in 30 Inspired Challenge Complete

30 in 30 Inspired Challenge Complete


The original plan was to paint these paintings in 30 days, but I didn’t for two main reasons. 1. I suck at painting alla prima, and 2. I fell in love with my subjects and wanted to do them justice. So I decided to finish one painting a week, which sounded a lot more do-able but still turned out to be challenging. In reality, this turned into 30 in 37 weeks. I started off slowly, with progress posts for the first few paintings and here and there I took weeks off to work on other paintings or simply take a breather. Some weeks I finished several paintings, some weeks I didn’t finish any. But it equaled out to a painting every 1.23 weeks. I’m really proud of myself for actually sticking with this project and seeing it through to the end. Even if I didn’t finish exactly on time, I still have 30 finished paintings and a cohesive, decently sized collection of paintings I love.



Aside from 30 awesome paintings, I’ve also gained a considerable amount of technique, skill, speed, and confidence. I do believe those are the same driving goals behind your average 30 in 30 challenge, I just took longer. I’m also a lot happier with the paintings I achieved vs what I would’ve probably ended up with if every painting was rushed. Sure, I would’ve gotten better at alla prima painting, but I don’t know that I would’ve handled the frustration getting there since I don’t think I’m an alla prima painter. I think I may try to do a real 30 in 30 challenge later on, but I will definitely be painting smaller than 8×8 inch. And I probably won’t build each one by hand either. I love the quality of the canvases I build, but it’s a multi day process to get from buying wood at the lumber yard to a prepared canvas ready for oil paint. I continued to build them throughout this series to maintain conformity, but it would have been nice sometimes to just go buy some. One good thing to come out of it is that I’ve perfected my method for building small canvases.



The first paintings I did were the red onions. While I really worked hard on those paintings, I can definitely tell that they’re the first. I went way too dark with the background and lost some detail. I do still really like them though. Then came the apples. The first one is also a bit on the dark side and looks slightly overworked, but the second one is slightly better. I’m still impressed with myself for nailing the texture of the bite. By the time I reached the last apple I felt a little burned out and really struggled with it. But It might actually be the best apple of the bunch. I was really worried when I felt burned out only 12 paintings in, but I persisted and painted the carrots. I really like the first two, but the last one was harder than it should have been. Since I was working through the burn out with these I’m really proud of myself for making it through.



The oranges are some of my favorites so far. They don’t look as nice all together like the others do, but still I really loved painting them and they really went a long way to help get me out of my painting rut. I think I did the best on the last one. It’s the most vibrant and has the best contrast. The translucency of the orange is something I’m super proud of myself for capturing. There were hints at it from when I was working on the apples, but since they’re much denser by nature, it was a very limited effect. I was happy to play around with creating more translucency in the yellow onions.



The onions were fun to paint. I just love trying to capture the papery-ness of the skins and translucency of the onion. Some of the onions were especially difficult just because I was sick with really bad allergies for several weeks, but I powered through them anyway. I could be wrong, but I think they might be better because of the struggle.



Oh, artichokes. They’re just so tedious to paint. I love the way they turn out, but man, all of those itty-bitty details are tiring. I’m especially happy with them since two sold before they were even finished. And finally, below is the whole group of 30 all together. Out of the 30, 6 have sold as of this writing. Not too bad, although I would love to sell them all. Most of these original paintings are available for sale on Etsy and prints are available of all of them on Redbubble.



I’m sorry if you’re sick of them, but this won’t be the last of these paintings. In moving on to other subjects and larger sizes, I found myself in need of warm-up work. When working on this series, I warmed up to working on paintings in their final stages by starting new paintings and working the beginning stages of paintings. This is a really effective habit for me since I don’t sketch in notebooks. Plus, I really like having multiple paintings in progress to choose from and I’ve gotten so used to painting these paintings that even the finishing work on them can feel like a warm up. So, in trying to finish a couple of paintings, I ended up starting a couple of these in addition to other new projects. I don’t plan on sticking to them all being the same size anymore, but they’ll probably be in the same dark style and smallish.

Thank you to everyone who has followed my blog and supported me through this series. You’re the reason I made it through the rough patches and achieved my goal.

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