The January Challenge 2022

Hello 2022 – it must be time for the 64 Million Artists’ Daily Challenge (again!)

Alt text: a piece of corrugated cardboard roughly cut into a square.  There are 4 images drawn in black felt tip pen connected by directional arrows – a DAB Radio, a vinyl album, a turntable and two gig tickets.

Last January, I signed up for a series of daily creative challenges with an arts organisation called 64 Million Artists – I found them on Twitter & I haven’t looked back since. #TheJanuaryChallenge is a unique set of daily creative actions, designed to be easy & to be created from what you have ‘to hand.’  This year, there are 3 themes:

  • We Are Human
  • We Are Culture
  • We Are Connected

You can either choose one theme to follow throughout the month, or you can choose the ‘Wildcard’ option like I did – then you get a different theme every day.  Each Friday, the three themes combine into one challenge.  The challenge ideas are set by different creative individuals around the UK & anyone can apply beforehand to set a challenge.  You’re invited to share your work using the hashtags #64MillionArtists & #TheJanuaryChallenge & also tagging @64M_Artists (Twitter)

2021’s January Challenge was quite an effort for me because I was just embarking upon my creative journey.  Additionally, I was still recovering from my cancer surgery & radiotherapy, but I also caught COVID on 10th January, so I spent 10 days holed up in my bedroom, creating the daily challenges from what I had around me.  I believe that I triumphed with replicating the Himalayan Mountain range from my bedclothes & pillows, LOL!

In late December 2021, my phased return to work finished, so during weekdays, I’m fitting my daily challenges into my lunch hour. 

Similar to last January, I can’t do much in my birthday month because I’m in semi-isolation, as are most of my Capricorn friends.  We’re saving our birthday meet-ups for warmer times, so #TheJanuaryChallenge is a great way of making the time go faster & jump-starting my brain in 2022.

I also need to occupy my mind because I have a couple of preventative cancer treatments this month.  Alongside my regular monthly zoladex injection, I have my 6-monthly infusion to protect my bones in the Chemo Unit at Charing Cross Hospital, London.  There are more needles that I care to have during this month (I’m needle-phobic).  This is only my second infusion so I’m anxious about what to expect.  The side effects were horrendous for the first one – the infusion caused severe pain in my bones & gave me flu-like symptoms.  I’m being kind to myself this time around & I’ve taken a week off work to practice self-care.

As I’m now on the 17th day of #TheJanuaryChallenge (time flies!), I’m sharing a mini-selection of what I’ve created – & why – in a random order:

Photo 1

Alt text: a selection of different sized & coloured badges laid out on a faux fur bedcover.

Theme – We Are Culture – Day 4 ‘Lost & Found’ – this was all about what you collect.  I collect badges.  The photo shows just a very small sample, selected at random from a much large collection.  They’re from charities & causes that I support, to bands I like, to slogans that ring true to me.

Photo 2

Alt text: a miniature green succulent plant in a white pot & a miniature white toy pony with a purple mane & tail are placed in front of an acrylic painting – a desert scene with mountains in the background & the sun high in the sky – in colours of pastels, oranges & browns.

Theme – We Are Human – Day 8 ‘Land Art’ – I chose objects from my room that lay 3m around me.  Luckily my boyfriend’s unfinished painting gave a backdrop to my fantasy desert land!

Photo 3

Alt text: a montage of 4 photos – top LH is a cut out recipe from ‘Elle’ magazine (a French edition); top RH is the accompanying photo for the recipe of little cakes decorated with chocolate icing & each has a single yellow ball on top; bottom LH is a photo of a poem written on a blackboard about creating a recipe for 2022 “A touch of positivity, plenty of good friends, an abundance of laughter, don’t skimp on the music!!!” & bottom RH is a recipe for Strawberry Whipped Cream Meringues printed out from the internet.

Combining the challenges of Days 5 & 6 here; the theme of We Are Culture – ‘Vision Board for 2022’ which was written on my kitchen blackboard, then followed by the theme of We Are Connected – ‘Kitchen Stories;’ when I shared my favourite recipe for meringues (a recipe which was made for me by one of my closest friends) with my boyfriend who, in turn, shared his favourite childhood recipe with me.  It was cut out from a French edition of ‘Elle’ magazine from many years ago – Barquettes de Marron.  He would cry if the yellow icing ball was missing from the top of the little cake.

Photo 4 (& cover photo)

Alt text: The image is also the cover photo for this blog – a piece of corrugated cardboard roughly cut into a square.  There are four images drawn in black felt tip pen connected by directional arrows – a DAB Radio, a vinyl album, a turntable and two gig tickets.

Theme – We Are Connected – Day 3 ‘Connected’ – this is what connected means to me; how the radio connects me to artists that I grow to love through their music & eventually I see them play live.

Photo 5

Alt text: a montage of two photos – top: a blue hyacinth in full flower stands on a white metal table, outside in the garden; bottom: white lined paper with a haiku (Japanese-style short poem) written in blue biro – “The hyacinth stands tall, Apollo’s love enduring, Heartbreak for Zephr.”

Theme – We Are Human – Day 16 ‘Flowers’ – “Hyacinth Haiku.”  The challenge was to describe flowers & what meaning they have to us.  I looked up the meaning of Hyacinth & discovered a story in Greek mythology of the love-triangle involving Apollo, Hyacinth & Zephr.  I created a poem about their struggle & loss.

Photo 6

Alt text: an abstract drawing of different swirly shapes connecting up. Made with different metallic inks.

Theme – We Are Culture Day 12 – ‘Abstract Drawing’ – The challenge was to draw / paint wherever our mind took us on the page.  I created the twists & turns & shiny bits from my mind…I drew the original shapes with my eyes closed & then filled in the shapes with metallic inks.

Photo 7

Alt text: a head shot self-portrait of a lady with long hair, looking down & smiling, wearing a jumper & a necklace.

This was the 1st challenge in #TheJanuaryChallenge – ‘The One Line Self-Portrait’ – a self-portrait in one line created with a thin brush & in metallic copper ink.

Photo 8

Alt text: an A3 pad with words & letters in different sizes, fonts, colours & shapes, cut out from birthday cards & stuck onto the page.  The words tell the following story – “All hail the wonderful queen, who had the nicest birthday, ate two birthday meals, stuffed lots of cakes, wore five new outfits.  She celebrated for one month, woo hoo!  Then she needed a holiday!”

Theme – We Are Human – Day 13 – ‘Word Recycling’ – I collected words from my birthday cards & wrote a story about a queen who had a riotous birthday.  I think this is my favourite one & 64 Million Artists were very kind & featured it in their Instagram round-up of the day.

Photo 9

Alt text: a montage of two photos – top: my garden at dusk with white fairy lights around the garden, a white metallic table & chairs, & a brick shed in the foreground, green foliage against the brick walls in the background; bottom: a written piece in blue biro on A5 lined paper, words as follows – “My garden, tranquil, talks around the firepit, fairy lights sprinkle magic, end of work gin, amongst the passionfruit and fuchsia.”

Theme – We Are Culture – Day 2 “Why I Love…” – For me, it’s “Why I Love My Garden”.  My garden is the most important space that I have in my life, especially when the sun goes down.

Published by The Musings of Spu

I'm an Essex girl who went West to find fame and fortune. 'The Musings of Spu' is the home of all my creative output, whether that be my writing or the 'stuff' I've made.

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