33 Paintings in 33 Days
The arts provide a creative process for inspiring the people of the Columbia Basin to understand and express their connections with the history, ecology, resources and cultures of their home, so as to take care of it wisely for the future . This is central vision of the Columbia-Kootenay Cultural Alliance, which each year through the Columbia Basin Trust allocates funding to individuals and groups that promote and grow the arts and culture scene in our region. Rossland’s own Heather Good is one of this year’s grant recipients for her ambitious ‘33 watercolour paintings in 33 days’ project. I caught up with Heather by phone this week, and we discussed her project.
Tell me a little bit about what your art project was all about.
Well, it was something that I always wanted to do. I had always wanted to try out a new medium like watercolour and I thought this was a good opportunity for me to do that. The idea was to really get into it full on and do one small painting a day for 33 days.
How did you go about getting the grant?
Every year the CBT allots a certain amount of money for arts and culture programs for individuals or groups, and basically I just proposed this project. It was something I had thought about before and always wanted to do. I didn’t have watercolours, I didn’t have watercolour paper or the proper brushes and I didn’t have the time to devote to it so this grant allowed me to get the materials that I needed to do the project and it also allowed me to take a certain amount of time in my day an use that towards doing it without feeling like I had to rush through it. I was really pleased to get [the grant] because there is a bunch of people who apply. It was a really neat thing for me to be able to do it. Without it I wouldn’t have done the project.
Any particular meaning to doing it for 33 days?
I just picked 33 because it sounded good. I thought somewhere around a full month of doing this would give me a good idea of using watercolours and getting a really good practice at it. So that’s what I did, and it was a real challenge for me. It was a really good experience. What I sort of hoped to find in the project was if there would be some sort of pattern that would emerge or theme that would come out in doing 33 consecutive paintings. I didn’t really find any sort of recurring theme, I just found that it was a big challenge and I found that the work actually took a lot longer than I anticipated.
As a hobby painter myself who does only a few paintings in a year, 33 in 33 days sounds like a lot of work.
I had anticipated at the beginning that I would spend about an hour and a half a day on each work and what I found was that once I got into it the longer it took. The first eight or ten were really fast because I was just trying to play with the colours, experiment and learn what I could do with them. After I got a little more used to the paint I really wanted to spend a long time on it and I found that I could spend like four hours in one day on it, not at a time, but I would want to keep coming back. What I found was a real challenge was that the next day I wanted to start the new work but I also felt like I wanted to keep working on what I had done the previous day so I sort of had to let go of the old work and start the new one and then it kind of compounded. After five or so days I was like, ‘Ah, I need more time’. That was a good part of the project too, though: saying, ‘today is a new day I have to start something new and let the old one go’.
I imagine doing such an intensive project in a new medium must have spurred on a lot of creativity and learning?
I learned a lot doing the project as it was much more complex than I thought it would be. Instead of it being just a fun project to experiment with a new medium it ended up being a real learning experience and a real challenge. I also found that while I was doing it and while I was also at the same time working on my other acrylic work, which is what I do usually, that they really influenced each other so that was really interesting. I guess in conclusion, I realized that watercolours is not really my thing. I probably won’t do much with them after having experienced this because it was such a challenge for me and I didn’t feel that it was what I wanted to work with. But I may use them and incorporate them into my other work in combination with using the two types of paints together.
Where can people see your work?
Arts and Culture week is the last week of April and I’m putting together a little show of the work on the Saturday April 25th. It’s going to be an evening show at Rouge Gallery and it’s in conjunction with Andy Holmes’ Art for People project that he also got a grant for as well.