Last month I completed a year-long challenge to draw a portrait of one endangered animal species a week. My purpose was to educate myself, and viewers, about our planet's vanishing animal species through art. I was greatly inspired by Warhol's series of ten giant screen prints, also focusing on endangered animal species, eschewing his more common practice of aggrandizing celebrities and "important" people, to draw attention to matters that were truly important. I added an extra element to the challenge by designing a crown for each animal to wear on its head, which in some way said something about each animal's physical characteristics, geographic location, or cultural significance. This in turn, inspired a project that I explored with my fourth-grade art students, during the school year. A few months into the project, I decided to add a sister element to the challenge, by also rendering each endangered animal in a composition with my Splotch Monster creations, which can be seen HERE in a group shot. As a result, the challenge lasted an extra two months, and I decided to round things off at fifty of each - fifty portraits, and fifty Splotch Monster works, resulting in a hundred new pieces of art, produced in fourteen months.
As a result of this challenge, I learned so much. I learned about animals I never knew existed. I acquired a greater artistic vocabulary by rendering each animal carefully, and I forced myself to do lots of independent research on each one. I learned to discipline myself, and skip the TV, or a nap, or even going out, when a deadline was looming. So much good has come out of this project, and I plan on taking it further, with some upcoming art exhibits, as well as prints and books in the making. In the meantime, I'm going to give myself a little downtime, allowing my mind to rest and wander a little, until the creative engines fire up again soon.