By Miller Reynolds
Milé Murtanovski is depriving himself of sleep to complete an exhausting artistic feat.
The Picton artist calls it his ‘Burning the midnight oil’ project, which challenges him to paint 100 portraits in 100 hours or less.
“I like challenges, and I wanted to do something that stands out, something that gets some attention for my artwork as well as my wife’s lantern festival,” he said, in a phone interview Monday.
Upon finishing his 100th portrait, the finished collection will be on sale for $100 each, with half of the proceeds going to the inaugural ‘Firelight Lantern Festival’, a not-for-profit community-art event that Prince Edward County will be hosting next spring.
“It’s going to be a community oriented event, where everybody is going to be able to make their own lanterns using inexpensive materials,” he said.
Murtanovski, who has been painting since 1988, says he paints to capture beauty.
“Life inspires me, it sounds flakey but it’s true, I get my inspiration from the things around me.”
To make this project possible, Murtanovski reached out to 33 of his Facebook friends and asked them if he could paint their portraits. The one condition he required is that these friends reach out to 33 of their friends, and those friends do the same, supplying Murtanovski with enough people to paint portraits of.
The final portrait will be of the artist himself.
Murtanovski describes the process as being “Very productive, very tiring,” and says there have only been a few minor mishaps thus far.
“It’s like a marathon, I’m running it to finish, I won’t stop once it’s 9 o’clock,”
Fans of Murtanovski have had the chance to watch the artist hard at work through an online stream.
“The live stream actually is turning out to be really entertaining for people, they’re tuning in, and commenting and saying they’re addicted, it’s an interesting side effect,” he said.
Because this is a first time project, Murtanovski is unsure if he’ll make it an annual project.
“If I do it again, it will take a different form somehow,”
The artwork has already started to sell, it’s being uploaded to www.burning100.blogspot.ca  where people can pick out the portraits they wish to purchase.