Could you be creative every single day for a year? We speak with artist Kavita Aras Rajput, who had the discipline to create 365 pieces of art in one year, and it’s all on display right now!
When we featured artist and mama of two Kavita Aras Rajput as a That Mama in 2015, she was in the early stages of her 365 project, in which she was aiming to create 365 individual pieces of art over the course of a year. She not only completed the project successfully, but the end result were 365 gorgeous pieces – mostly paintings – that are currently on display through this Thursday at the Right Side Gallery at Loewen Gardens. Read on to find out how she was able to stick with the project through thick and thin, and take a look at some of the gorgeous pieces, currently available for sale. Ultimately the project was about a lot more than making art, from the importance of setting goals (and sticking to them!) to the unanticipated value of acceptance. Read on for some major mama inspo!
What inspired you to do begin the k-art365 project?
One of my art teachers in New York used to do a sketch everyday and the thought of doing something similar excited me tremendously. At that point, I couldn’t quite explain what I was trying to achieve or where I was planning to go with it. I just had this strong urge to take on a personal challenge that felt both exciting and daunting at the same time. So on the 1st of January 2015, I committed to completing 365 small artworks by the end of that year. And then I promptly posted the personal challenge on my Facebook and Instagram pages so I felt accountable to follow it through.
What was the biggest unexpected challenge that you faced over the course of the year?
While it wasn’t strictly unexpected, the enormity of what I had taken on hit me only after I was deep into the challenge. The first few months went by swimmingly with lots of initial enthusiasm, but keeping up with the demands of the challenge got tougher as the year went by. Summer holidays and their resultant disruption to regular routines put me way off my plans. The challenge became tougher if I missed even a single day because that meant I had to do one more painting the next day. Several of the works took 5 to 6 hours or more to complete, so it was by no means a small task.
What were your biggest learnings from the challenge?
Besides improving my painting skills further, I really had to dig deep to think of different subjects to paint everyday. There were times when the inspiration to paint a certain subject was so strong that I couldn’t do the one I had previously planned to do. It was wonderful to see for myself, how my style, complexity and subject changed from day to day based on my creative energy on that day.
I believe that my biggest learning from the challenge was Acceptance. There were a few days when I wasn’t happy with my work. But I had to learn to still accept it and own it as mine. Not discard it or put it at the bottom of my pile of artwork like I would normally do, but post it on social media for the world to see. A big part of my challenge was learning to accept and love my not-so-good days as much as my good days.
Did you work in one particular medium or across a variety?
I started with an open mind about using a variety of media but I soon realised that I kept getting drawn only to watercolour, which has been my medium of choice for over 5 years now. All the 365 works are watercolour on paper. Additionally, some have ink or graphite for effect.
Did creating art ever begin to feel like a chore? Or did the project improve your discipline and stoke creativity?
There were definitely days when it was tough to think of new ideas and subjects to paint but surprisingly, I never once felt like giving up the project. The difficult days felt like a mini challenge that I had to overcome and thankfully very often, all it took was sitting down and getting started.
Over time, I learnt to let my creativity go through its ebb and flow and yet, at the same time, see to it that my discipline and commitment to the project stayed strong.
Did you get your kids involved in the project at all?
While my sons inspired my choice of subjects a lot – lollipops (Day 2), were my younger one’s favourite treat at that time and the transportation painting (Day 363) was inspired by his obsession with all means of transport – they were not actively involved in creating the artworks.
Until Day 261, when my then 5-year-old, Ishaan drew a picture of me on my watercolour paper. And I loved it so much that I decided to add in some patterns and colours and we created our first joint artwork.
Any tips for mamas who might wish to do something similar as a family?
For a family art project, I would suggest keeping it simple so it can be done regularly and flexibly enough that it doesn’t become boring. A daily project might prove to be too much for the little ones but a weekly or a monthly art project is definitely doable. Envisioning a final product would help too – either an art journal or album or a large canvas with lots of little works stuck on it – a place where the children can display all that they have created and look at it as a whole. A project like this can prove to be a tremendous learning experience for the little ones. They can learn through a fun experience how regular baby steps towards a big goal can make the big goal not so big anymore.
Were there any unexpected benefits that came out of the project?
While focusing on one painting at a time, I had lost track of the big picture and at the end, finally seeing what a huge body of work I had created, gave me a tremendous sense of accomplishment.
Hoping to share that with my son’s class, I did a little presentation talking to the children about the challenge, about the difficulties I faced and showing them the artworks. It was amazing to see how involved and interested all the children were in my personal journey as I took up a big scary goal and worked toward it slowly, one day at a time.
Being able to inspire a group of six-year olds and seeing the pride in my sons’ eyes has been one of the greatest gifts from this journey so far.
Do you have any particular favourite pieces?
There are several pieces I really love – the Mommy and Me Elephants (Day 105), the Goofy Giraffe (Day 224), Devi Shakti – the Divine Feminine (Day 268), and Big Wave (Day 155) are just a few of them.
Are the pieces available for purchase? What is the price range? Where and when can we view the pieces?
All the pieces will be available for viewing and purchase at the The Right Side, 75e Loewen Road, Singapore 248845 from 6pm on Friday, 16 September to 7pm on Thursday, 22 September, 2016. They are priced between S$75 and S$195 each and will also be available online at www.kavitarajput.com from 10pm SGT on 16 September.
Lead image, image #1 and image #4 via Priya Luthra.