January 4, 2024

Happy New Year! 52 Weeks of Finding Light: Concluding Thoughts

by Tisha Mark in Finding Light Series2 Comments

  • Home
  • /
  • Blog
  • /
  • Happy New Year! 52 Weeks of Finding Light: Concluding Thoughts
Original oil painting by Tisha Mark. "Week 52, 52 Weeks of Finding Light Series" 5"x7" oil on linen panel (2023). Small landscape painting with a wintertime sunset reflecting in a body of water.

Week 52, 52 Weeks of Finding Light Series, 5"x7" oil on linen panel, by Tisha Mark (2023).

Happy New Year! I hope your 2024 is off to a peaceful start. As we wrapped up 2023, I completed my 52 Weeks of Finding Light series, so I wanted to make some space to share with you some final thoughts about that series.  

I began 2023 with a feeling of scattered creativity, meaning that I had a bunch of loosely formed ideas for what I wanted to paint, but I was unclear of which direction to follow. The common theme among all of these ideas was a desire to explore more ways to interpret light and atmosphere. This is how my 52 Weeks of Finding Light Series began.

Throughout the year, I thought more about why I'm making this art, what stories I'm telling. I spent time with source material, studying light in an intentional way, almost every day. To do this, I set alarms on my phone labeled “check the sky” to remind me to stop whatever I’m doing and spend a few minutes, just observing. I’ve mentioned this a few times on social media, and every time I do, I’m so delighted with the responses I get from other people who either already do this, or are inspired to start setting alarms too! It’s powerful, the way light connects us to one another. We feel something when we stop to observe light.   

Photo of Tisha Mark, "checking the sky." Photo taken by her son.

Photo of me "checking the sky." Photo taken by my son.

Original oil painting by Tisha Mark, "Week 5, 52 Weeks of Finding Light Series" 6"x6" oil on gessobord (2023).

Week 5, 52 Weeks of Finding Light Series, 6"x6" oil on gessobord, by Tisha Mark (2023). (Sold)

The amazing thing about committing to come up with something to paint and share every single week for an entire year is that I end up trying a lot of different techniques and experimenting with different color palettes that I might not otherwise attempt. Over the past year, I learned more about my creative process - what works for me, and what doesn't. I worked on my technical skills in a very intentional way, for example, creating light with glazing techniques that I wanted to explore more.

The difficult thing about doing a weekly challenge like this is that I felt pressure to come up with something to paint every single week. I believe that it’s important for my creative process to show up consistently to paint, even when I don’t feel particularly inspired to do so. This is something that I learned during my last 52 Weeks challenge back in 2021. But this hit me differently this time around. By around the half-way point in the Finding Light series, I had developed two or three directions that I wanted to explore more deeply than the quick small paintings of my weekly challenge allowed.

So, I started working on larger pieces in my “Marshlands” and “Breathe” series. At times, it was wonderful how these two series complemented the Finding Light series, and I even released a couple Marshlands paintings as part of the Finding Light series. But there were many times where I felt like the Finding Light series was “getting in the way” of focusing on this other work. The conflict I felt from this was draining, and I almost quit 52 Weeks of Finding Light several times because I wasn’t certain it served a purpose in my art journey anymore.

But I wanted to complete the series I had committed to, so I made some adjustments to replenish and conserve my creative energy. I allowed myself to paint a few small paintings at a time for Finding Light when bursts of inspiration struck, stockpiling three or four paintings at a time and releasing them once a week. This “cheat” allowed me to take much needed behind-the-scenes breaks from the series, and gave me time and energy to focus on the other work that was calling to me. And I learned that creating several related small works in short bursts of time like this suits my creative process right now. It was/is more enjoyable and energizing for me than painting one small piece at a time, and enjoyment and energy matter! This adjustment to my approach moved the Finding Light series forward in a way that made sense to me, and I felt much better about continuing through to the end.

As this new year begins, I’m looking forward to working with you to bring your ideas for your commissioned custom paintings to life! Check my Commissions webpage for how that process works. I am also so excited to continue painting light and atmosphere in the context of my Marshlands and Breathe series, as well as a new series of large seascape paintings that I’m in the early stages of planning. I’ll be bringing my new practice of creating several small works in short bursts of time with me into 2024, and will plan on doing a few Small Works releases throughout the year. In the meantime, I have added all of my available small works (including those from the Finding Light series!) into my Archive Sale in my shop. The last day of the sale is January 31, 2024, and then all of these small works will be removed from my shop to be upcycled and painted over. So if one of my small works speaks to you, now is the time.

Photo of a law dictionary open to a page with a charcoal landscape sketch in the middle of the page. Printed words on the page are partially visible beneath a thin layer of gesso and the charcoal sketch. A hand holds the page open. On the windowsill at the top of the photo is a cup of coffee, a piece of charcoal, an eraser, and a paper towel smudged with charcoal.

In addition to painting, I’m still slowly defacing my law dictionary with charcoal sketches, and I’m working on a webpage dedicated to that project. I’ll start posting general updates on my Blog webpage as well. If you’re interested in following me on social media, I’m posting more on Mastodon and Bluesky, while using the Meta platforms (Instagram and Threads) less.    

I will also check in with my email community from time to time, to share new work, exhibition news, and other thoughts. (Subscribe below.)

If you have any questions about my paintings, commissions, or would just like to chat about art, feel free to write to me at tisha@tishamark.com.

Thanks so much for supporting my art and for following along with my art journey!



Comments are closed.

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}