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The Art-a-Day Challenge

The Art-a-Day Challenge

Each year Columbia Arts presents our Art-a-Day Exhibition, when we challenge artists to create 30 consecutive pieces and display them all on one wall. I asked some of this year’s artists about their process and how they approached this challenge. Join us for this exciting show!

The Art-A-Day Exhibition runs August 3-September 1
First Friday Artist Reception, August 3, 6-8pm

Artist Rene Eisenbart
Creativity can almost never be rushed. It is a melding of experience and exploration. Sometimes it is explosive—a riot of form and color that is perfect the way it is born. More often, a geologic building of layers enhances what happens next. Each addition is influenced by what precedes it—and what is already there informs what covers it.

Making the paintings for this show was a delightful and challenging experience. While many were conceived with the show in mind, half-finished pieces were also redirected, and some from the archives were reinvented with marbling to fit the criteria.  What I have learned in the process will inform my work for years to come. It has been empowering. Just to accomplish the sheer volume of work needed sets up a strong work ethic. Now I’m dreaming of paintings I want to make! Anything seems possible. Read my day-to-day account:

Artist Tracy Wolf-Paquin
I own and direct a studio in Portland that offers both a space for artists to work in glass as well as a place to hold events and classes for the public. Due to a busy schedule, I transfer my personal works off the tables and into a storage space so events can take place. I have been doing this for the past 8 years: Processing glass, operating kilns, and guaranteeing everybody’s work. Recently, I have secretly desired to stop everything and get back to a slower time when I could work through my own designs and create. The Art-A-Day Challenge helped me concentrate my energies and reach that magical level of “one with art”. A heartfelt thank you to Carolyn and Dawn and Columbia Art Gallery for inviting me to Art-A-Day Challenge this hot month of August 2018.

Artist Rachel Dorn
This project was more challenging than I thought it was going to be, and not just because I decided to do twice the work. Making a bulb a day out of ceramic means either sculpting a bulb a day and then cramming in the glazing at the end or something else. I chose to do a little of both. The abstract bulbs came fairly easily, but there’s less to say about them. The political bulbs were difficult mentally and took more emotional work at the start and finish. I wrote
about my process for the show on my blog at

Artist Liz Walker
Often, I take different collage papers I’ve created and layer them together in one painting. For “Crow and Music” (shown here), I first marbled an old piece of sheet music, and glued it to a wooden panel. I stenciled patterns onto wet-strength tissue paper using acrylic paints. Once those tissue papers were dry, I cut them into wide strips and I glued them onto the sheet music, taking care to arrange them in a pleasing composition. Finally, I painted the dark crow on the top so that his dark, opaque color stands out against all the busy patterning in the background.

Artist Debora Lorang
I would like to thank the Columbia Center for the Arts for inviting me to be a part of the art challenge. The push to get 30 pieces finished (31 for good measure) and try to stay with a theme was difficult at times.  My theme was recycled and found object characters. I think I ran the gamut, with the different materials and figure themes I created. I found that I can do wood burning much better than I ever thought I could. The challenge pushed me to try things I probably would have never done out of fear of failure, and for that I am grateful.

Artist Susie Cowan
The 30-painting Challenge created at least 26 images that otherwise would not have come to life for me this spring, if indeed ever! Life has a way of stealing an artist’s time, but deadlines can be our best friend. The chaos of my particular year was anything but conducive to productivity, yet this challenge focused me on the moments that surround me, on the things that brighten my spirit, and you know what…in forcing me to paint relentlessly, I discovered great joy, enormous stress and total satisfaction at having lived a very full portion of 2018!