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  • 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:


  1. I could complete a project in a day, and

  2. It not become overwhelming.

  3. 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.



Artistic Goals for My 100 Day Project


I wanted to use the projects as a time to play and experiment. Some of the things I hope to learn from my 100-day project include:

  • Could I use just 3 colors to make a beautiful cohesive painting?

  • Playing with watercolor pigments so that I can better understand their behaviors (yes, some don’t behave nicely or play well with others).

  • Explore pigment properties – e.g., granulation and transparency.

  • Most of all - Have FUN!

The 100-day project is a great place to do that because there is no pressure.


The First Ten Days of My 100 Day Project


So, with criteria in mind, paper prepared, and materials determined I officially started my 2023 100-day project. The first 10 paintings are painted on 2 ½” by 7” pieces of watercolor paper. A perfect size for some small landscapes.


I painted day 1, then day 2 and so on. Admittedly, the first few weren’t easy (the high expectations were lurking in the back of my head), and I had to resist the temptation to get too detailed. I wanted to keep these small paintings soft and loose – something that doesn’t come easily for me.


But once I got going the paintings came more easily and things started to flow. Here is a peek at a few of these little gems (and some of my favorites).


I am pretty happy with the first 10 days. There are paintings I love and some that I don’t like at all. That is okay, I don’t have to like them – "remember the criteria Sheryl and just paint".


During the first 10 days, I experimented with a limited color palette of three colors (more on that in a future blog post) and absolutely loved the results.


I am feeling positive about actually completing my 2023 100-day project, at least for now. On to paintings 11 through 20. I hope you will join me on this journey, whether you participate in your own 100-day project, or just follow along. Thanks for being here.


I have some exciting plans for these miniature paintings. So, be sure to stay tuned for more details on my 2023 100-day project.


And if you are interested in having one of these for yourself, be sure to reach out to me for more details. Just contact me using the link below:


 

Have you ever attempted or completed a 100-day project? Let me know. Why not try one out yourself? By the way, you can choose just about anything for a 100-day project.


You could choose to draw in a sketchbook for 100 days or draw 100 figures, but it doesn't have to be art related. You could write down 100 things you are grateful for. Maybe donate 100 items from your home that you no longer use or bring you joy (someone else might enjoy them) or commit to walking 100 days. It's entirely up to you.


If you have participated in your own 100-day project, let me know in the comments below. What did you learn? Did you enjoy it? I would love to know about your experience.


With love and gratitude,

Sheryl

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