my 100 days project
Last year I was lost. I knew in my heart that a new path was unfolding in front of me, but I couldn’t quite see the road clearly. I knew I wanted to paint, but I was terrified. This is when the crazy idea of starting #the100dayproject came to me.
My watercolor journey started with letting go. Letting go of perfectionism and expectations, letting go of who I was and embracing who I was becoming.
WHAT IS THE 100 DAYS PROJECT?
It is a free global art project that anyone can participate in. It was started 5 years ago by Elle Luna and Lindsay Jean Thompson. The concept is very straightforward: commit to doing something for 100 days and share it on Instagram. You can choose anything from painting, to photography, cooking, drawing or singing.
MY THING WAS PAINTING. MY COLOR WAS INDIGO.
The first thing I did was write down on a piece of paper the start and the finish date of my project. I then announced on Instagram that I was going to do it. I told my husband and my friends that I was going to do it. This way there was no way I could back out or give up.
On November 21, I took my brushes, tube of indigo and paper and painted my first painting. I was so proud of myself! I scanned it, photographed it and posted it on Instagram. I even edited it and uploaded in all my shops. A great start!
'Why was I ever scared of doing this? It’s so fun and easy!' I told myself.
EVERYTHING WORKED WELL - FOR ABOUT 3 DAYS.
On Day 4 I didn’t have time to paint during the day, so I painted in the evening. And guess what? There was no way I could make beautiful photos. I did it anyway. It was a struggle - I gathered all the lamps in the house, but the photos were still awful. I was very unhappy with the result.
Day 7 was when my inspiration decided to leave me. Before I started, I'd imagined so many things that I was going to paint. But there I was, after only 6 days and there was nothing left. Just me and a blank A4 page.
Day 10 was when I realized that I wasn't going to have 100 beautiful paintings on A4 paper. This was the day I figured out that this project was also about experimenting, not only about the finished product. I started painting on new media and smaller paper. I tried different brushes and sponges.
Day 41 was when I got really brave and I took the experiment further. I stepped away from watercolours and started playing with alcohol inks. I became fascinated with the complete freedom they gave me and how the inks danced on the paper.
Day 61 was when I discovered gouache painting. I made some abstracts, and they started coming out of me so fast that I couldn’t force stop the project. I made 20 paintings in 2 days. It was like letting go of something trapped in my soul. I became aware that the creative process cannot be forced - it needs its own time to manifest.
Day 94 was when I knew for sure I was going to finish the project within the 100 days timeline. Until then, I doubted if it was going to happen.
Day 100 was the last day, and I reserved it for painting only. I ended the cycle with a mountain painting, like I did in day 1. But it was a different scene, with a big moon guarding it. For me, it was the perfect ending. I was at peace.
DID IT GO THE WAY I THOUGHT IT WOULD?
What I was expecting before I started was that, every day, I would paint one beautiful painting on an A4 page, style it and post in on Instagram, then scan it, edit it and post it on my online shops. Well, if you’re thinking this is insane, you’re totally right. My plan failed miserably after the first week.
I soon realized that, first of all, I can’t style a photo every day. I paint mostly in the evening, when the light is bad and I can't get good photos. So that was out! Then I realized I can’t make a beautiful painting every day, because some days are just for experimenting. Then came the realization that I can’t even paint one painting a day. Sometimes I paint 10 things, and sometimes absolutely nothing comes out.
So I had two choices: quit, or make it work for me and make up my own rules.
I went for the second choice. I reset my goal to be: 'paint 100 paintings in 100 days.' Not one painting a day. There were days when I painted 10 paintings, or even more. These were beautiful experiments, especially the ones with new mediums like gouache and alcohol inks. There were days when I painted nothing, and that was okay.
DID I FINISH MY PROJECT IN 100 DAYS?
I cannot express the happiness I felt that last day, seeing all my paintings together. I was both proud and confused, because I didn’t quite realize what had just happened. It was a game, but it was something more, too. I was in the process of finding myself.
WHAT DID I LEARN IN THE PROCESS?
I learned to let go of perfectionism. Before I did this project, I wanted everything I created to be perfect.
But some of my paintings were bad. Really bad! I didn’t want to share them. I didn’t even want to keep them. I just wanted to throw them all away.
I took a deep breath and posted all of them, the good and the bad. I kept all of them, and in time I became totally proud of my project as a whole. I numbered all of them, and I think I went through the pile at least 10 times, just counting and enjoying them.
In the end, the project involved a mix of experiments, textures, painting classes, learning new techniques, and being inspired by other artists. I didn’t post on Instagram in real time. I didn’t scan, edit and upload the works in my shops every day. It wasn't about that.
It was about finding myself through the project. It was about finding my voice. My soul started to speak louder and louder, and all I had to do was step back and watch the magic.
You can check out the hashtag #100chipipaintings on Instagram to see all my paintings together
My indigo art prints
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