Shilpa came up with the idea of deliberately controlling palette as a challenge to learn about color harmony and to instill discipline within us to create art everyday even when the task was sometimes laborious. She loves using watercolors, acrylics, inks, pens, fineliners, pencils and twigs to create pieces that evoke a sense of place or mood even when they are abstract. She can paint for example, the unraveling with just as ease as she paints winter! See examples of both below.

While Shilpa was thinking of this, I had independently started work on Gray Matter, a workshop I will be teaching in Portugal soon – about using Gray(a neutral) to tie in two other contrasting colors to make a harmonious painting. The concept of lean yet effective palette made complete sense to us. But she really wanted it to stretch the concept to a palette that was not chosen, but one that just happened to us. Randomly, if you put your hands in your pigment box and bring out 3 tubes, then, those 3 tubes are your color palette for a week, say. She with watercolors and I with a very very staggered effort on Procreate started this #mymsterypalette between the two of us. Since I am doing the #30x30directwatercolors challenge and am also teaching Gray Matters this year, it makes sense to tie it all in one piece everyday! My renditions are more realistic, like this –

or this scene from Santa Monica which really has only 2 major pigments but a dark gray helps create richer values.

However, this is not Shilpa’s first rodeo. She is what I call a determined yet kind hearted, focussed yet cheerful artist. She has stuck to creating for the love of creating art two years straight! To me, she embodies perseverance and I am eternally grateful for her doggedness in drawing and creating – time and art. If an art form is hard, she has to go do it. In fact, when it starts getting easy, she makes 100 days of lines her challenge and takes lines for a trip for 100 consecutive days! That’s right – 100 days without a break – coming up with a topic everyday and then following through!

Here are some of the tips she shared from her 100 day challenge which she intends to employ for the #mymysterypalette too. You can join her in this madness and hashtag your work #mymysterypalette and if you do it in watercolors, you can add #30x30directwatercolor hashtag too. With art, we’ve found, more the merrier – we grow with the community in our art and in our mind and in out outlook! Let’s see some of your art! And oh, yes, her tips here-

  1. Start one day in advance.
  2. Keep your papers cut to size, taped and ready to go.
  3. Get your materials in a separate basket/container.
  4. Basically, set everything up over the weekend or when you have time so that during the week, you can just paint.
  5. If you paint something that you don’t like as much, put it in your IG stories instead of your grid.
  6. Find a way to paint in bed. (Procreate app, you feel me?)
  7. If you paint everyday, you have succeeded.
  8. Quality of painting is another challenge, not this. We are setting ourselves for success!
  9.  All the best!