“iPhone/iTouch Painting a Week” Group Completes its First Year!

Week 19: Velazquez Tribute by Sandy Schmidt (Blue Sky Day)

And so it is that the inaugural year of “iphone/ipod painting a week” has come to a close.  The iPhone art group was founded only 52 weeks ago by a very talented fingerpainter we’ve all come to know and love named Sandy Schmidt (also known among the community of fingerpainters as Blue Sky Day) who, with a little nudging from her daughter, decided to create a group that would challenge iphone artists of all backgrounds, skill levels and interests to produce at least one painting a week on an assigned subject.  The group, originally dubbed “ Brushes 52”, proved to be a huge success in its first year, and within weeks became the go-to place for artists seeking a challenge, new direction, inspiration or just plain out fun ideas for fingerpaintings.

Over the past year, the group membership has grown to 191 dedicated artists who have, week after week, created masterful fingerpaintings inspired by creative themes and Masters of the past like Rembrandt and Basquiat!

We wanted to take a moment to reflect on the group’s growth over the past year–and what better way than to chat it out with two artists who have been there from the very beginning, Sandy Schmidt, group Administrator, and Patricio Villarroel, group Policeman/Art Detective. 🙂

FP.it: What was your original vision for the group when you started it?

Sandy:  My vision was really more of a desire to share my enthusiasm for the new medium. I started using Brushes in January and started thinking it would be more fun and more challenging to paint an assigned theme and to share with like-minded individuals.  Then my daughter, Lindsey encouraged me to start the group.  It never occurred to me that it would blossom and become such a wonderful community or that the many friendships would be a part of the deal.

FP.it: And how did you select the artists in the first year?

Sandy:  I don’t think that I have ever selected an artist!  I just opened it up to the group and they flooded in!  The group members have definite favorite artists and I knew that my faves would get in there.  What I didn’t expect was that the list would be so wide ranging and that the artist assignments would become very educational for everyone.  Our artist list takes us in to 2012.   I don’t think this group will ever run out of artists.

FP.it: When did you decide to incorporate artists into the weekly challenges and why?

Sandy:  The addition of “in the style of a known artist” came in Week 12.  Patricio Villarroel had suggested, and this is a quote: “great painters (monet-like, bacon-like (that’s for me ;)), hockney-like, rembrandt, picasso and so on)”  We also tried to start an infinite painting project but it fizzled out.  Maybe we’ll try that again with a less complicated structure.  We are a multi-lingual group and it is best to keep things simple because things get lost in translation.

FP.it: The group currently has 190 members, how do you feel about the growth of the group and what do you think you can attribute the growth towards?

Sandy:  I am very pleased with the growth of the group (actually it “jumped” to 191 today!).  There is a core group that participates regularly and others come and go when they have time or when they please.  I think of it as an “open studio” come on in, paint, talk, laugh, be.

FP.it: What do you feel people get out of doing the weekly challenges? what do you get out of them?

Sandy:  For me, it is exactly what you called it, a challenge.  If it weren’t for the group I probably wouldn’t be working on a painting of “Rain” OR a painting in the style of Salvador Dali!  The challenges are a wonderful exercise … and a way stretch my imagination, skills, knowledge.  I can’t really speak to what other groupies (haha just made that up) get out of it.  I do know from  their comments that the group is a family, that it is educational, that we all care about each other and that we all love fingerpainting!

Patricio:  I’m very happy to be part of this group.  I like to see all the artwork for each assignment—this sometimes influences my work.  And sometimes I influence them too. It is a great collaboration.

FP.it: What’s your favorite week? theme? artist?

Sandy:  I really liked Week 3 “Circus” … it was so fun and colorful, and I think it was where I fell in love with the Brushes Bunny drawn by Benjamin Rabe, and Week 2 “Icon” where we had a contest to design the Icon for the group, and had Steve Sprang, the developer of the Brushes app choose the winning icon (drawn by Mikedia).  I could not possibly choose a favorite artist!

Week 2: Icon (the selected Group Icon) by Mikedia

Patricio:  I would say kandinsky/Picasso for favorite artists and music/abstraction for favorite themes.  So week 20, music/Picasso, wins! 😉

Week 20: "Music"/Picasso Tribute by Patricio Villarroel

FP.it: Patricio, you are endearingly referred to as the group “policeman”, ensuring that the posts remain in line with the group rules and themes, will you continue this role in the 2nd year?  If so, can we allot you a more official title…like Group Commissioner?  How would you feel about wearing a group designed badge?

Patricio:  I have some difficulty managing this now.  I have 207 Flickr artists contacts to visit each day, something like 5 or more fingerpaintings a day, and from time to time, I also work to have some money to buy an ipad!  ;-))) So, last year, I was not such a good cop–Sometimes it takes a couple weeks for me to see what has been happening in the group.  But, happily, people posting there are very polite.

I would like to wear a group designed badge! ;-))) Seriously, I think we need more cops in the group this year, or at least, have two assistant helpers. 🙂

And no Commissioner, please.  Just cop, a FREE cop—or an art detective ;)))

FP.it: Sandy, your cat Ed seems to be a frequent subject for a lot of themes and artists, is he your muse?

Sandy:  Haha … good old Ed.  I have had a lot of cats as pets in my life but Ed is a very special feline.  I can’t explain it … I just really have a bond with him.  So yes, he is a muse.  Lots of times I am working away doing a faithful interpretation of an assignment and I start thinking “what would it look like with Ed’s head instead … “  I really get a thrill when other members include Ed in their work.  Ed with a ray gun.  Ed in a museum.  Ed sharing noodles with the Bunny.

Week 52: Salvador Dali Tribute (featuring Ed) by Sandy Schmidt

FP.it: I know you’ve completed every week’s assignment–who else completed all 52 weeks?

Sandy:   Ya know I think that I missed an artist and maybe a theme.  I think that even prolific Patricio may have sat one out!   The numbers are misleading because multiple paintings on a theme or artist are allowed.  Amy (BaumySue) may very well have completed each week’s assignment from the time she joined.  I don’t know how to go about checking!

FP.it: Anything else you’d like to say about the group–TO the group–about the first year?

Patricio:  I just would say that I’m very happy to be in all the great Flickr artists groups.  It’s very nice to feel that some people understand what you are doing–sometimes even better than you do.

Sandy:  I love the group.  It will run its natural course like all things and I will savor all the wonderfulness of it while it lasts.  I would like to say to the group members:  THANKS.  It’s really the members that run this.  🙂  I love you guys.  The camaraderie is so nice.  Now go and paint!

And there you have it—Sandy says “GO PAINT!”  The transition from year one has been pretty seamless–as Year 2 Themes and Artists lists are already in effect.  Year two’s Wk#1 Assignment?  Vegetables and Don Martin

For any iphone artists out there looking for a steady source of inspiration, maybe wanting to experiment with new styles or learn about a new artist, this may just be group for you! (and you can make a few new friends too!)

So, my original plan was to post a slideshow of works submitted by the group.  Unfortunately, there are way too many beautiful pieces to choose from. Instead I will ask YOU–what’s YOUR  favorite week–theme , artist tribute or both–from the group’s first year?  Share it with us! Post a picture or link in our comments so we can ALL see!

(Want to take a look at Year 1’s Assignment list?  Click here.)

13 Responses to ““iPhone/iTouch Painting a Week” Group Completes its First Year!”

  • suzi54241 Says:

    what a great and fun story. Bravo

  • Benjamin Rabe Says:

    Brillant take on my fav group and a deep bow to Sandy pulling this all up! I just asked the bunny and he’s pleased his friend Ed is on stage finally, too. That group was really a driving force to me to get into fingerpainting.
    Also kudos to Patricio who is really on of the strong pillars of the whole movement (humble as he is he would never admit 🙂 )
    thx mia for a great post.
    So don’t you all think that group deserves a first year edition book of it’s own? (Here’s a looking at Thierry 😉 )

  • patricio Says:

    thanks benj, and as you said, i’m not a pillar, just a fingerpainter 😀
    great idea about a year ebook for the group, but very difficult to select 4 (2 on each assignement) of each week to have a more than 200 pages book… i guess how many people can see 200 pages in his iTxxx ? this is the problem i have with thierry’s mobilart books (i forced me one time to see the all thing)

  • Mia Robinson Says:

    thanks for the comments…but, really, this is a momentous occasion and the artists within that group deserve to be celebrated.

    ahh, would be great to see a slideshow of pieces chosen week to week…(but with a search feature too…so that you could look up a theme and someone’s interpretation…i was thinking that as I was perusing the gallery…there are so many extraordinary paintings that have come out of that group. And as I’ve told Sandy, it is my “go to” spot for me whenever I just can’t find any inspiration. Love the challenges and more than anything, I love learning about new artists…I think my favorite Artist Tributes were Loisel, Rego and Klimt. The first two, because I was totally unexposed to them and their styles…brilliant artists! And Klimt because I always always wanted to do a Klimt tribute but never buckled down to do it…until I came to the group. 🙂

    for Loisel, I especially love fhierro’s piece–

  • Deborah McMillion Says:

    I began in a lonely posting. Then Flick joined and I saw she had these cool themes. Then I discovered this group and my art world and friends exploded. I love the subject themes best of all because it’s a framework but with a huge room to move in. I think that is essential–that and policing–to create such a great dynamic. If I had an assistant badge I would gladly help our Police. But he really needs a nice official one!!
    This is a wonderful place to reside and thanks Mia for this spotlight but especially to Sandy. Even when it’s raining it’s a Blue Sky Day.

  • suzi54241 Says:

    Here here ….. Blue Sky Day…. ^Up^ ^Up^

  • Thierry Says:

    Wonderful story! May this group create more great art for a loooong time to come.
    My feeling is that I missed a lot by not taking part to this adventure , by lack of time mainly as many projects filled my year already.
    I would be more than happy to do a free book retracing the first year of this adventure but will leave it up to you Sally to decide about doing one and eventualy to collect the work, it’s your baby.
    There is now in the code a direct link to the web feature, to link the book to the Flickr pool.
    Great article Mia! 🙂

  • Thierry Says:

    A thousand times sorry Sandy for sliping on you name, just a bit tired, I just replied to a post from Sally, hence the confusion…can’t trust my neurones anymore:( So Sandy it’s up to you, let me know if you think it’s something you want to do!

  • Sandy Schmidt Says:


    I’m intrigued. Let’s talk. 8D


  • Rita Flores Says:

    Great article! I think being part of this group has been my favorite part of being on Flickr. I’ve learned so much from not only looking up the various artists during the week but by seeing how all the other Fingerpainters are using different apps to recreate the different artists. Even if I don’t contribute every week I find myself checking the group every couple days to see what everyone else is doing. Two of my personal favorites were the works inspired by Modigliani and Klimt. Looking forward to more great work in Year 2.

  • n_n Says:

    Kudos and heaps of thanks to Mia for the wonderful article and Sandy for spearheading this groundbreaking and inspiring group and Patricio for being its vanguard and towering inspiration!!! I joined in Week 32 with Giacometti as my first contribution to group, a latecomer, but with the group’s generosity and encouragement I have always felt welcome and more inspired. I never knew that a virtual family of artists would be possible, but here’s undeniable proof. So thank you, thank you, my fingerpainting family!!!

  • Julia Kay Says:

    A great group!
    I love incorporating the themes into my work when they seem compatible, and sometimes being challenged by more unfamiliar styles and subjects. I’m more of a drop in, drop out participant but I love checking in on the group and seeing what everyone is working on even on weeks I don’t participate.
    Thank you for creating and maintaining the group, and for this excellent write-up/interview.

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