- Sheryl Brake
My 100-Day Project 2023: The First 10 Days
For whatever reason, I decided to jump on the 100-day project band wagon this year. Why not, I don’t have anything else on my plate? (Eyes rolling) Right!
The official start date for 2023 was February 22, and when I started it was already February 24. So, I was already behind, but I thought – “it’s all good, there is no pressure.” I will just do 100 tiny paintings even if it takes me longer.
My Previous Attempts at Artistic Challenges
I have tried participating in challenges before and have failed – or have I? I have always started challenges thinking it would be so fun - a chance to participate with other artists.
But for whatever reason I seem to never complete them. I either get bored with the challenge, made the goals too big (me and my big harry audacious goals) or life just got in the way.
Ultimately, I just stop, because it is too stressful and admittedly, I end up feeling bad because I didn’t complete the challenge and let others down. Exactly who, I am not sure.
But are they failures, really? I gave this some serious thought and decided they weren’t failures.
Afterall, the challenge stretched me to try something different and I have learned from them. I also determined that if I want to actually complete a challenge, I should probably change my approach.
Changing My Approach to Artistic Challenges
After giving thought to why I hadn’t completed challenges in the past, I decided to put some criteria around my 2023 100-day project that would help me stick with it and actually complete the challenge. Here's the criteria I decided upon.
Spend 10-15 minutes a day on the project.
Surely, I could find 10-15 minutes every day to work on a project. I can choose to spend more time, if I have it or want to, but no less than 10 minutes. I can spend time on the project while drinking a cup of tea, waiting for dinner to cook, or during a break from work.
Keep the project small in time and size.
If I was only going to spend 10-15 minutes a day, I needed to keep the projects small. Keeping the project small would ensure that:
I could complete a project in a day, and
It not become overwhelming.
Keeping the project small also means that it can be portable, a bonus when you are always on the move.
Get rid of expectations.
This is a big one for me, the ultimate perfectionist. If I was going to complete the 100-day project I needed to let go of each project being a perfect piece. I would use the time to experiment and play with different pigments, methods and subject matter.
Break it down into bite size pieces.
Instead of thinking about 100 (that seems like so many, doesn’t it?), I decided to break it down into smaller “chunks” of 10. This seems far less overwhelming. Surely, I can complete 10 paintings.
Give Myself Grace.
Let’s face it. Life happens and somedays just don’t go as planned or allow for that little bit (even if only 15 minutes) of creativity. So instead of beating myself up about it, I decided to give myself grace and just let the 100-day project happen. Maybe, I would have to skip a few days – that’s okay. Maybe, I can complete several on a day – if I want to. My goal is just to complete 100 projects – even if it takes me more than 100 days to complete.
Deciding on What to Paint
Keeping the criteria above in mind, I have decided to paint 100 miniature watercolor paintings in various sizes. Not only did this meet several of the criteria above, but it also allows me to use up a lot of the odd-sized remnant pieces of watercolor paper stacking up in my paper storage. Bonus!
I decided not to pick a particular subject matter – why limit myself? Instead, I would not have expectations about what I would paint and to give myself permission to paint whatever comes to mind that day. It might be a landscape, a tree, a flower, an animal, or something different all together.
Take a look at how I painted Day 3 in this little video.