I am about to set off on a creative adventure. It’s one I vaguely recall reading about before, but not one that I’ve seriously considered in the past. It’s the “100 Day Project” but with a few personal caveats.
First, I’d like to thank Jennifer Barrile for introducing me to the project. Her art is gorgeous, so please follow this link and take a look at her blog. She’s doing the 100 Day Project with a personal theme, and I look forward to seeing all she creates during the process.
Second, I know I’m late for the party. The 100 Day Project officially began almost a month ago. The start date was April 7. That means I’m weeks behind before I even begin, but for my purposes… well, being late just means I have an opportunity to make a dramatic entrance.
Not really. There won’t be anything dramatic about what I do, and I doubt that too many people will be looking my direction anyway. That’s important for me, you see, and that brings me to the caveats for my personal 100-day project.
You may already know all about the project, but in case, like me, you somehow missed out when invitations were sent, here’s a slightly-edited blurb from their website:
The 100 Day Project is a free art project that takes place online. Every spring, thousands of people all around the world commit to 100 days of exploring their creativity. Anyone can join. The idea is simple: choose a project…do it every day for 100 days.
What got me hooked was this little diagram. I’m a sucker for anything that outlines a simple, one step at a time approach to doing something. It’s cute. I guess it’s a little gimmicky, but once I saw these little stepping stones meandering all over the page, I knew I was a goner. Who cares that I’m weeks behind? It doesn’t really matter, and the reason it doesn’t matter is because I’m not doing this for “The 100-Day Project” website or organization. I’m not jumping into this for the online art and creativity community. I’m doing this for myself, and if I start late and finish late, it doesn’t make a bit of difference.
There’s more to it, of course. There’s signing up for the newsletter — there’s a free option or a costly subscription option — and there’s an online community to join, so that “we can cheer each other on.” Sorry, but that’s where I opt out. I signed up for the free newsletter, but I’m not interested in joining an online community. This is a project I want to do for myself.
The project also officially includes using a hashtag and sharing every day — for 100 days — on social media. Again, I’m opting out. Because this is a personal project, I don’t necessarily want to share everything I create. The way I’m doing this project also means I may or may not have a lot to show for my one hundred days. Mostly, though, I just don’t like being pushed or prodded. I’ll show my work if I feel like it; if not, I won’t.
So, what will my project be?
Here’s where it really does get fun. A 100-day project can be anything. It doesn’t have to be drawing, painting, or any specific art form. This, you see, is not purely an art challenge. It’s a creativity adventure, and that means it’s open to anything and everything.
Again, from the website:
Pick something you want to do every day for the 100 days of the project. What can you do? Anything at all! Paint, draw, dance, knit, doodle, sing, brush your teeth.
There’s a handy FAQ that gives a few additional suggestions, such as keeping the activity to a quick 5-10 minutes each day, choosing something that doesn’t require a lot of costly materials, and most of all, picking a project that you’ll enjoy.
But then the website goes on to have you sign up and announce your project, and here’s where we part company. I understand the reason for signing up and showing up each day. It’s called accountability. We’ve all started projects we’ve quickly given up. Maybe a little push or a bit of encouragement might have kept us going. But, then again, who can say? For some folks, making an official proclamation could be just the thing. For others, it could mean walking away from the whole project. Different strokes for different folks, you know!
The project organizers do realize, of course, that not everyone wants to share their work, that projects can be quite personal, and that there are apt to be ups, downs, mis-steps, and stumbles along the way. They concede that, ultimately, it’s our project and our choice on what, when, where, and how we share — or don’t share.
Coming across this 100 Day Project is perfect for who I am and what I’m doing right now. Yes, I’m late, but that’s because this is the right time for me to begin. I wouldn’t have been ready to start any creative project on April 7. We’d been in our new home for three days at that time. I was in the middle of unpacking boxes and putting things away. I had no art studio set up.
But now, I’m ready to go! I’ve recently started doing watercolor doodles, I’m committing myself to daily watercolor warm-ups, and I’m having fun making bad art. Lest you think, however, that my personal project will be some version of 100 Days of Awful Artwork, let me quickly explain that my focus for this creative adventure will be more on process than result. I’m embarking on a hundred days of learning and growing.
Having decided recently to set my oils aside temporarily and pursue other media, this 100-day project is a great opportunity to do precisely that. Since I’m playing and doodling so much with watercolor, that’s what I’ll be using for my project.
Watercolor is so completely different from oil painting! What watercolor painting has to offer is exactly what I’m looking for:
- Opportunities to play with colors
- Developing a looser feeling in my art
- Learning to be more creative with lines and colors
- The ability to do quick paintings
- Reasonably-priced materials
- Lots of fun in the painting process
Oh, I know all too well how frustrating watercolor can be, but I intend to steer clear of too many overly-technical and difficult pieces. This project, for me, is going to be more about learning, doing, and having fun.
So, I’ve grabbed a book from my art shelf: Watercolour Painting with Aubrey Phillips. My early attempts at watercolor landscapes were inspired by Phillips. Here’s one quick look back at a painting I did in 2016:
Now, four years later, I think I can do better. I think I have more understanding of how to use colors — even with watercolor paints — and how to create depth and distance in landscapes.
I know I’m more ready now to learn from Aubrey Phillips than I was four years ago. His book on watercolor painting is going to become my personal 100-day project. I plan to go through it slowly — one page a day — and glean as much from it as I can. I want to read, I want to study, I want to ponder, I want to process. I want to follow his demonstrations, do the exercises he offers, and I want to slowly make my way through the spring and into the summer, taking my time as I create a bit of art.
I won’t be posting day-to-day updates about what I’m learning or doing, but from time to time I’ll share information I’ve gained or maybe even a painting I’ve completed. Maybe what I’m doing doesn’t sound like much of a creative project, and maybe it doesn’t lend itself too well to hashtags and sharing on social media. That’s fine with me. It’s my project, and I’m excited about it.