Michael Teel was content with his career as a creative director but missed the challenge of fine art.
He had that, "I'm not getting any younger" feeling when he decided to do something about it - and in a pretty public way.
This past August, Teel issued himself a challenge and committed to writing a blog about it: creating a painting a day. Or at least try.
He hasn't perfectly adhered to the schedule. Life has sidetracked the 52-year-old father of four a time or 10.
But Teel has more than 50 little projects to show for his efforts so far. What's better is that his work shows clear improvement from his first efforts, in technique, use of color and composition.
He has sold some of them, to friends and at the East End Bazaar holiday event, and he has some hanging at the Bluegrass Kitchen, a restaurant in the East End of Charleston.
Not bad for 6-inch by 6-inch oil paintings on gesso board that Teel mostly considers to be "practice."
"It's kind of cool," he said of the process, designed to keep him loose and working quickly so as not to over think the process.
"I give myself an hour or an hour and a half to finish them," he said. Many are still lifes, created by found objects at home, often produce and cups or bowls or utensils.
This past week, when he hit painting No. 50, he was working on a series of landscapes from photos he took in the area, including a porch of a St. Albans neighbor.
"I'm really working on composition and color," Teel said. He's hard on himself and writes about that in his blog (michaeleteel.blogspot.com).
"Note to self, 'Don't paint small detailed objects. Stick to simple shapes in these small paintings.'
"Ouch! Another rough night. This was a cup shaped like a monk. Couple more nights like this and I might start questioning my sanity. I didn't think it was possible, but I think I'm getting worse.
"I present 'Lemonhead and friend.'"
OK, so the rendering of the odd cup turned out a little rough. But Teel didn't give up.
Day 48, Jan. 14, he revisited his nemesis, this time with the top off the cup. The results were clearly better, and Teel ended his blog that day on a positive note.
"I would like to state here, that as good as 2012 was to my re-awaking inner artist, 2013 will see my work grow by leaps and bounds. I'm looking forward to August 19, 2013. That will be the one year anniversary of my painting blog. I can't wait to see how far I've come in a year's time," he wrote.