Multimedia concept artist
During 2014, Michelle Darvis tackled a challenging art project—completing one painting outdoors every day for an entire year. Among other things, she dealt with cold weather (above normal snowfalls and below normal temperatures in January) and a busy schedule (planning her wedding in August).
Darvis says painting en plein air, a French expression that means “in the open air,” gave her a new appreciation for the beauty of the seasons. Paintings from her project, “A Year in Plein Air,” feature scenes of Ohio and other places she visited last year, including many from around Kent State. “The campus is so beautiful,” says Darvis, who studied fine and professional art with a concentration in drawing at Kent State from 2003 to 2007.
She believes “we should do what we love every day of our lives,” and even painted with her husband on the morning of her wedding.
“My constant was painting on an eight-by-ten-inch canvas with oil paints. Other than that, I had no plan.”
Darvis is exhibiting her collection of 365 paintings in multiple cities nationwide in 2015. (See www.michelledarvis.com.)
We asked her how to develop a daily practice and move past roadblocks.
To keep motivated:
• Tell people your goals.
If the people around you don’t know your goals, how can they help you reach them? If someone tells you that your goals are impossible, move on. Find people who truly believe in you— they are out there!
• Build support.
Ask someone to check on your progress every day. Make it a point to talk to them or send them a daily update. It will help you move closer to your goal.
• Take care of yourself.
Being outside each day will give you a boost of oxygen, improve your mood and might even give you a new outlook. And stay hydrated; I try to drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Whenever I’m feeling sluggish, often I’m just dehydrated.
• Focus on one thing at a time.
Instead of counting how many days were left, I concentrated on the current day. If I felt overwhelmed, I would complete the next task, washing my brushes or laying out my pallet. Then I’d feel ready to head out.
• Work for a higher purpose.
I work for and am inspired by God. No matter what your beliefs are, having something outside yourself to work for—your family, people you love, people who need help—makes motivation come naturally.
Paintings from January 5, 2014, January 13, 2014 and May 4, 2014: