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Local Artist Accepts 30 in 30 Challenge


By Ellicottville Times Staff

Thirty days, 30 paintings. That’s what artist Robin Zefers Clark, owner of Brookside Studio, has set out to do in the month of September. The international artists’ event challenges artists to create 30 unique paintings in 30 days, a feat Clark said isn’t always easy.

Clark heard of the challenge while listening to the Artist Helping Artist podcast, hosted by Leslie Saeta. With more than 1,000 artists participating around the world, Clark decided to throw her hat in the ring, pushing herself a little bit farther.

“I’m challenging myself to do my paintings plein air … which is on location,” Clark said. “A lot of times I’m in the studio … this is a little different.”

Since starting the challenge, Clark has painted in Otto, Ellicottville and Allegany State Park, depicting landscapes of the area. Her first painting was done outside of her studio, allowing her to run back inside if there is something she was missing. Clark said it was a little bit of a trial run, but she has since packed a bag with everything she needs. Along with her paints and brushes, Clark brings an easel and umbrella.

“The umbrella isn’t for me … it’s so the sun isn’t bright on my painting and messing with the colors,” Clark explained. “The sun is strong, but it hasn’t been that bad … I think because I’m concentrating on my painting.”

Clark has been enjoying her challenge, both for her painting skills and the atmosphere of being on location. While she tries to scope locations beforehand, Clark said she often finds herself exploring other locations. One day she set out to a location, but found the lighting to be off, so she moved to an old cemetery, that was surrounded by a corn field limiting her view.

“It’s fun to change the location … go places I haven’t seen,” Clark said. “The nice thing is every location has its own smells and sounds, so it’s different every time. And I like meeting people, talking to people who paint or stop by to see what I’m doing.”

Clark is using oils and acrylics, two mediums she’s out of touch with. Although she has her master’s degree in oils, Clark mainly uses watercolors at Brookside Studio. Pictures of the paintings she creates are uploaded to her blog, her Facebook page and the podcasts’ blog, where people can follow the challenge.

“Thirty paintings is a lot …  but I’m not expecting to hit a wall, because I’m having fun with it,” Clark said. “This is a really great challenge. It’s getting me outside going to see places and meeting people.”

With more than half her paintings done, Clark is pushing herself a little more, with a plan to use her grandfather’s paintbrushes and paints. Her grandfather was an artist and got Clark into painting, so she’s hoping to honor him by using his brushes she found while cleaning.

“I remember sitting in his Hudson car, it was cold and there was a painting on the steering wheel … you could smell the turpentine in the car and there were paint smudges all over the car,” Clark remembered. “I haven’t picked up oils since 1982 … so this will be a good challenge.”

After completing the challenge, the retired art teacher will showcase her paintings at art shows and her upcoming open house. Along with Hog-Shed Pottery Studio, Clark will host the East Otto Country Holiday Open House Nov. 5-6, from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Clark will put her paintings up for sale after the challenge is completed.

Normally, Brookside Studios has regular hours, but during Clark’s 30 in 30 challenge, customers should call her and set up an appointment. In addition to the watercolor prints, Clark also accepts commissioned paintings and pencil sketches, everything from family portraits to portraits of dogs. For more information on Brookside Studios, or to follow Clark’s challenge, visit her online at or on Facebook at Brookside Studio Watercolors. To set up an appointment, call 716-713-5359.

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