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  • Sheryl Brake

My 100 Day Project 2023: 40 Paintings In

In my last post, I wrote about my past experiences and expectations on starting an ambitious 100 day project. As I write this post, more than 100 days have passed since starting my 2023 100 day project and I have just over 40 small paintings to show for it.

Okay, not exactly the results I had hoped for. "So, what happened?", you ask. Life is what happened. Being an artist can be difficult, especially when it is not (yet) your full-time gig. Despite best intentions, sometimes life just comes in waves, crashing waves. Let's just say it has been high tide and I have been under water a bit. So unfortunately, I have had to put the 100 day project on pause for the last couple of months.

For those wondering, I am not about to give up, but have pushed my self-imposed deadline out a bit further. But before charging ahead, I decided it would be a worthwhile effort to review my goals and objectives and think about the project and whether I need to change anything in order to complete it.

Reviewing project objectives and goals

I reviewed my criteria for my 2023 project, a sort of check in, to how I was doing. Here's what I discovered.

Spend 10-15 minutes a day on the project.

This was definitely working initially as I had set up a small area on my kitchen table to paint 5 minutes here and there. But, instead of keeping materials handy (i.e., on the kitchen table) the project landed back in my studio. Can you say, "out of sight, out of mind?"

Conclusion: Make your project easily accessible so it is easy to work on.

Keep the project small in time and size.

This has been working well because it allows for me to complete a project (or more) in a single day, is portable (more on that below), and has kept the project from feeling overwhelming. Initially, I was working on them daily using small chunks of time (until I moved the project back to the studio).

Conclusion: Keeping projects small in time and size is a key to success, especially, if you are not a full-time artist.

Get rid of expectations.

The goal here was let go of my perfectionism and use the time to play with pigments, methods and subject matter. I think I have done a pretty good job here, except for the expectation to complete the project by June 30 - which is obviously not realistic at this point.

I do enjoy working on these small paintings and I am using the paintings to improve my brushwork, find pigments that I really like and color palettes for use in future paintings.

Conclusion: Removing expectations is good for allowing experimentation and play and letting go of perfectionism.

Break it down into bite size pieces.

When I set out on this adventure, I decided to break down the project into smaller “chunks” of 10 paintings. Not only did this make it less overwhelming, but I felt a sense of accomplishment with every set of 10 paintings completed. I even used the 10 to create a kind of theme for each set of 10.

Conclusion: Breaking down into bite sized pieces, definitely works. This one gets a definitive thumbs up.

Give Myself Grace.

Okay, this is a big one! Here is what I wrote in the last post:

"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."

And that is exactly what happened. LIFE. So, this is me giving myself grace and reminding myself that my goal is just to complete 100 projects – even if it takes me more than 100 days to complete.

Conclusion: Grace is a beautiful gift you can give to yourself and reminded my of this beautiful quote.

"the heart of a warrior beats with grace and perseverance" - unknown

Batching the photography

Country Roads Day 11 100 Day Project
Country Roads Batch Photography in Process

Another thing I have learned from doing this project is this. It is much more efficient to photograph 10 - 30 paintings at a time, than individually. There are several advantages to batching photography, including:

  • only having to get your photo gear and props out once instead of multiple times,

  • getting consistent lighting for a series of paintings,

  • efficiency of swapping out the paintings in a single shot, and

  • being able to batch edit all my photos at one time.

Just keep painting

I am a person of action and though I may not be speedy, I get a lot of satisfaction from checking the box when I complete a task. Based upon my evaluation of the project thus far I know that I will need to:

  • Keep the project accessible and in sight,

  • And continue to give myself grace, because, well, shit happens!

I see no reason to stop working on the 100 day project just because I didn't meet a deadline. The project is coming a long, albeit slowly, and I am enjoying the break from my larger more detailed paintings.

Paintings 11 through 30

I switched up the sizes on the next 20 paintings, going to a 3" x 3" square for paintings 11-20 and 3" x 3.5" for paintings 21 - 30. Changing up the size was a welcome change from the previous 2.5" x 7" paintings. And out of the 3 sizes, I am not sure which I like best. Which size do you prefer?

Paintings 21-30 went relatively quickly, as I had hit my stride and was painting nearly every day, a few minutes here and there. I used a spring Jeeping trip to Moab, Utah as inspiration for a set of 10 paintings. Since, I made the project portable (remember the goals), I went prepared, precut watercolor paper and my travel palette in tow. I even took them in the Jeep with me so that I could sketch out various scenes on our daily excursions.

It was so much fun capturing the beautiful Utah landscape and capturing memories of our adventures at the same time. Just take a look at some of these fun paintings.

What a fun set of paintings this was! I loved the beautiful color palette inspired by the Utah landscape and the earthiness of these paintings. I think they will look great framed and displayed in a small grouping, don't you?

Tiny paintings deserve frames too

I decided that these paintings deserved to be framed. I chose a lightly colored frame, so as not to overpower the art and have decided to float mount the paintings in the frame. Float mounting allows the rough edges of the paper to be exposed, a kind of rustic feature that I think is just perfect for these small paintings. What do you think?

High Mountain Lake Day 15
High Mountain Lake

If you are interested in having one of these for yourself, be sure to reach out to me for more details and to get EARLY ACCESS.

Just contact me using the link below:

Looking forward to more

I am still feeling positive about actually completing my 2023 100 day project. And even though the project may not be complete just yet, I have so much to do to get these small paintings up on my website and ready for purchase.

The 2023 100 day project has been a journey to be sure. I look forward to more miniature paintings and sharing more of my progress with you.

Thanks for being here!

With love and gratitude,



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.



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