2019 is the third year of Direct Watercolor Challenge – a challenge that Marc Taro Holmes pioneered. Marc and I will co-host the #directwatercolor2019 on Facebook. Like every year, the idea is for all of us who partake the challenge to do 30 direct watercolors in 30 days of June i.e. watercolor paintings without underlying drawing. Each of us has a different goal for venturing on this journey – for me, it is often about

  • reminding myself of the glee of making mistakes,
  • taking off pressure to get it right at the first attempt.
  • In addition to the aim of inculcating a habit, I also have a research project, Vivify that I invite you to participate in.

Marc explains his motives here and what he wants to gain from his practice this June. He always has interesting observations to make!

Vivify wants to find out if music affects how we paint. To answer this question, first we have to conduct an experiment where participants do paintings with or without music.

  1. The research project is run in conjunction with 30 x 30 but only in week 2 and week 3 of the challenge, i.e., June 9 – June 22
  2. Artists who want to participate in the experiment, will-
    1. Use the same images they created for 30×30.
    2. Paint landscapes,
    3. Have a GMAIL account they will use to upload images in a folder that will be made for them individually,
    4. Like to be a part of a research project knowing fully well, that sometimes research doesn’t come up with the expected or likable answers.
  3. # of participants required in all = 80
  4. In addition to uploading images to the Facebook group, there is extra work of renaming images and uploading them to a folder made for you.
  5. You will be helping me to answer the question of whether music affects the quality of painting.


  1. Does Uma know what good art is?
    • No. Uma does not have definitive knowledge on what good art is. Art is very personal and therefore, cannot always be compared between two persons/genres. Whatever heuristics she uses to measure 2D paintings, she will publish at the end of her study. Art is not a competition, therefore, the idea of the project is not to score one participant against another. The idea is to measure progress of a group of people with similar habits.
  2. I don’t want to compete, I need art to heal my soul.
    • If knowing you are in an experiment makes you compete with yourself and therefore discourages you from participating in 30×30, then, do not take part in Vivify. Making art that works for you is more important than making my experiment work.
  3. Will I get a score at the end of the exercise?
    • No.
    • You will be part of a group, and results for the group will be published at the end of the project, if I have a successful metric of measurement on art progress.
  4. Most experiments don’t produce tangible results, so what’s in it for me?
    • Feel good about investigating effects of one art over another.
    • Get a chance to change the dialog in policy or work place practices, we first need numbers.
    • Uma’s immense gratitude even if you believed this to be a straw man hypothesis.