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The 'Calendar Challenge': 12 monthly paintings of the same view.

With winter approaching it gets harder to arrange successful paint-outs so here's a little challenge to do on your own and post the results to the website. We also have a number of overseas members and this is something everyone can take part in if they wish.

The idea is an adaptation of Kevin Macpherson's 'Reflections on a Pond' project in which he painted the same view on every day of the year, taking 3 years to complete his task. I'm suggesting you choose a motif near at hand - even a view from your window - to paint one painting each month, starting in November 2011. The aim would be to try and reflect the different moods of the year, so perhaps something with a bit of greenery in it would be good, but it is up to you. Of course, you can also vary the times of day etc.

Each month you upload your painting, you should save the uploaded image to a separate album within your Plein Eire  Artwork Gallery and mark that album 'Calendar Challenge' or something like that to distinguish it from your other uploaded images

To do this, Click the 'Paintings' tab, select 'My Portfolioss' and click 'Add Portfolio' which you title appropriately as you want. Title the painting uploaded by the month, so we will know this is part of your series done for this project, so the first one you post will be 'November'.

Only your 12 calendar paintings should be in that album so we can list the links to those albums here in one location and anyone interested can browse through them to see the progress of your project. If you want to do more than one view, open a separate album for each set of 12 paintings.

Remember, if you need to skip a month for any reason, just carry on regardless - its the exercise that matters. There is no prize or winner for this one - but no limit on pleasure or reward!


Ok, here are some of the 'Calendar Girls' and boys (perhaps 12 Angry Men, The Dirty Dozen or 12 Monkeys??? ) who are up for a challenge :

Midge Ace

Norah Blount

Ann Cahill

Lynda Cookson

Donna Louise Crook

John Cullinan

Siobhan M. Dempsey

David Diaz

Sally Downey

Philip Dundon

Kevin Freeney

Alison Fox

Laura Gibney

Terence Gillespie

Norma Healy

Esther Heffernan

Lize Human

Maeve Hunter

Elaine Hurst

Margaret Kent

Rita Lett

Kevin Lewis

Greg Long

Barry Lynch

Denise Kevany

Michael Keogh

Mary McDonnell

Dee McKiernan

Jane Meyler

Deirdre Moriarty

Mary O'Carroll

Mary O'Dowd

Maura O'Halloran

Lori Putnam (Scene One)

Lori Putnam (Scene Two)

Tony Robinson

Karen Scannell

Annemieke Schenkels

Tom Scott

Svetlana Starikova

Louise Treacy

Alberto Valentini

Deirdre Walsh

Liz Walsh

 - If you want to join them, sign up by replying to this Forum and we'll add your name and put links to your Calendar Album on here. November is the first month, so be thinking of your chosen spot. As Dee McKiernan points out, it will be tough to paint something 12 times and make it interesting. On the other hand, it may free you to emphasise the mood and atmosphere, the temperature and the light as it has Kevin Macpherson. Hopefully, that will be the case but we'll enjoy the adventure of finding out and encouraging each other in this project throughout the coming 12 months. 

Any questions before we begin?

Good luck to everyone and happy painting!


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Thanks for the suggestion .. yes may try a few sketches per month (time permitting) and choose one from the set. Think it will also be interesting to see my interpretations on different days/weather conditions.

Best regards


Plein Eire Administrator said:

Hi Midge,

 Nothing to prevent you doing a few views in November to start with and narrowing it down to the one you like best in successive months.  Discovering which view most reflects the seasons, as it were, may be interesting and instructive in itself? ...If you have the time.


The closest tree is a Sugar Maple tree, which turns beautiful reds and yellows in the fall.  The further tree is a Silver Maple.  I have never known what the bush is, but it has pretty white flowers in the spring.  Our last Golden Retriever used to walk around and around it, and made it into a special shape.

...who knew your dog was a sculptor ;)...I love Maple trees, I'd be more familiar with the Japanese Maple, which has stunning alizarin colour in Autumn. It's great that you won't have too far to travel each month...

Just 10 days left if you want to make November your starting month for this challenge.

Are we going to leave Deirdre, Elaine and Karen the only ones to make a go of it ? ? ?


          Here are some thoughts of encouragement..(hopefully):


  • Make some time for at least this much art once a month. You deserve it.
  • Find somewhere handy and comfortable that you can get to easily - perhaps a view from the window or from a garden shed.
  • Set yourself a short time (1 hour?) and stick to it to complete your painting sketch.
  • Keep it small.
  • You are planning to paint this several times so don't try to exhaust the subject in one painting.
  • You are seeking the colour and atmosphere, so leave detail out as much as you can. 
  • Try to make your subject the time of day, the weather and the mood, rather than the detail.
  • Squint to simplify the values (light and dark) better.
  • This is going to be quite difficult and demanding of concentration for everyone.
  • If this month's isn't the best, next month's will be better.
  • Remember, there is no competition and no failure in this, only failing to try.


Important: When you come to upload your calendar painting, include the month somewhere in the title. Make a 'Portfolio' under 'My Paintings', call the portfolio, 'My Calendar', or something similar and drag-and-drop your monthly calendar painting into it. 

- Good luck!


Join the fun everyone!

Great watching the grass grow!

Uploaded my first painting for this challenge here This was my first try at using pastel on Velour & Unison pastels (usually work on boards I prepare myself) which takes some getting used to! May try to do another one before the end of the month.


'Nil Desperandum' to all those who said they'd join in The Calendar Challenge and haven't managed to post something yet.  

Firstly, there are still 3 days of November left.

And secondly, you can join in during December or as soon as you can.

Remember this is not a race or a competition;. Without sounding too high-fallutin' about it, the goal is enquiry and self-development.

When you are ready, open up your calendar portfolio and save your monthly images into it and if I have overlooked anyone's portfolio and not yet linked it to your name at the top of this thread, please send me a message reminder.

So far, there are 9 Calendar Portfolios - 'well done' to the 9 artists we hope will continue to encourage one another through this. More always welcome and the best of luck to everyone having a go.

I'm not sure if I am linked to the other artists or not.  How do I do that?

Hi Elaine,

You don't have to do anything else.

See the list at the top of this thread? - That's where we will check to see what everyone has done so far.

Your name is already 'live' ie. you can click on it to reveal your Calendar Portfolio and similarly, anyone else who has posted a November image.

Elaine Hurst said:

I'm not sure if I am linked to the other artists or not.  How do I do that?

As if by magic...!

siobhán m dempsey said:

Hi I'm not live how do I do that?

Alright--I'm game---and it's a good time to start the painting year---before all the heavy drinking that goes along with New Years Eve

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