If you are not a member of the Explorers Club, you may have missed my 50 Eyes Project last fall. This was a project I had come up with earlier last year. Many of you may be aware of various 30 day challenges, 100 day challenges, etc. that run gamut of lifestyles. These lifestyles include, diet, self-help, awareness, art, and so on. Being a contemporary animal artist, I am drawn to the eyes. The eyes are what humans see in non-human animals as a kinship, and as a result, this realization is one of the many aspects that connect us to the natural world.
In my portraiture work, the eyes are the focal point and as such, are the bridge between painting and viewer. I wanted to keep pushing further to see what would be discernible with a just a depiction of the eye. So Here are the reasons why I painted 50 eyes:
- 50. Sounds like a good round number, right? Actually, I had originally planned to do 100 eyes. However, this was the first time I was attempting a “X number of days” challenge, so I wanted to pick a realistic number while still challenging myself. 30 seemed a little on the easy side and 100 sounded like I’d get burned out and quit. So I sort of split the difference. I also liked the idea of painting and selling smaller pieces for a little less than normal. 50 paintings for $50 (each) for 50 days allowed me to not short-change myself, while still giving a great deal on original art to my collectors.
- Education. Learning more about the animals through research and painting gave me further insight into the animal kingdom. I, myself, learned so much more through painting the eyes of these animals. I had worked up a checklist posted in my studio, next to my easel so that every day I had a different animal eye I was to paint. I would research and research about the animal and its eyes. Visual spectrums, behaviors, ecology, and evolution all filled my tiny brain with glorious information. Sometimes I would look up various folklore tales that centered around animals and their eyes just to add another perspective. This education and these stories would all get transferred into concise and complimentary written accompaniments for each piece to spread the further education of and deeper connection to the animal.
- Connections. The most rewarding aspect of the project was the connections I made with new collectors as well as the deeper connections that were cemented with original collectors. This project opened the lines of communication to talk with collectors about animals and art, as opposed to a simple,” Hey this is cool, I’ll buy that”(nothing wrong with this approach either). I do love discussing animals and art with my collectors to help each other open doors and discover new epiphanies.
Do you have other speculations as to why I did the 50 Eyes Project?
Want to be a part of my next 50/50 project? Become an official member of the Explorers Club for the official announcement coming soon!