Summer Challenge Series #1: Limited Supplies

The Summer Challenge Series is something I've had in mind for awhile. I find the deepest and most amazing discoveries come from challenging yourself and how you relate to the world around you. I like to consider myself a Mad Art Scientist, and challenging myself is something I do to continue growing. 

But I also know many of you are Mad Art Scientists as well, and Creative Warriors, and yearn to create lovely, meaningful art on a budget, or with little energy, or late at night when your family has gone to sleep. So I thought, why not be challenged together?

This is an informal challenge. There are no deadlines, homework, tasks, or lessons. Rather, if you happen upon this group and find yourself inspired by that week's challenge, try it. If you don't have time, don't. 

I'm working this in the following way: everything will help you discover more about yourself, and operates under that lovely rule -- you will get out of this exactly what you put in it

So, how much are you willing to give if self-discovery and fun is the end result? 


Recently, I’ve been working out of a series of art bins at my desk. I like being able to work next to the window, the sunlight dancing across my journal or canvases, and the air is brighter where dust dances in rays of light. Most of my supplies live in the closet studio, but to be honest, I haven’t felt comfortable working in there since the Concussion of Doom; the sky fell on my head, and I’m pretty sure that’s supposed to be some sort of sign. 

I mentioned this to a friend, and she admitted that she uses supplies out of a small scrapbooking tote she picked up at that big craft store we all know (and have a love-hate relationship with!). And Kelly has often posted about how she consciously limits her supplies so she can see things with fresh eyes when she cycles through things every month. 

It got me to thinking: what can one create with a small amount of supplies? 

And then I thought about the women chatting about Thrifty Art Journaling over at The Studio; how they have work-arounds and coupons and not a lot of supplies, and I thought, "You don't need much to create meaningful art." 

So I decided, last night, that I was going to run an experiment as the first week of my informal Summer Challenge Series. I’m going to use ONLY the supplies in the box for one week. Journal pages, paintings, whatever I want to do or work on, I can use what I have in the box, and nothing more

Why? Because it’s fun. Because, as I wrote on Tuesday, working with a limit of some kind can spark the brightest idea and smoothest creative flow. Because I’ll be forced to think different and problem solve. 

And also, because I want to show you that you can create wonderful art with a small amount of supplies

Here’s what I managed to get in the box:

Two things wouldn’t fit in the box: my set of Prismacolor pencils, since they have a mansion of space to keep them nestled, warm, and not breaking every time I sharpen one, and my bottle of GAC 100, which has become an indispensable tool the more I learn about acrylics and the chemistry around them. 

I’ll post art and pages here from this week…I’m kinda nervous, as I have 2 paintings I’m working on, but I’m curious about how they’ll turn out. One thing my friend said about working from a limited amount of supplies is that your work become more cohesive, since the colors and themes are centered around a single box or tote of supplies and colors. 

Why don’t you join me?  I think it'll be interesting to see what we create when we don't use much, and you'll be plesantly surprised by the beauty that comes forth!