So I completed my first 100 day project.
100 days of florals in order to help get over my fear of painting flowers. I think it worked? I painted a lot of flowers a lot of different ways and some them of them I actually like.
I went and looked back through my #100daysoffloralsprojects hashtag (find me on Instagram @rachelloftis) to calculate what percentage of stuff I love, like and want to hide from. Here’s what I gathered:
Stuff I made that I loved (this means passionate love, not just deserving of a smile or weak approval. I’m talking about heart pounding love): 12% (that’s so much higher than I expected!!)
Stuff I made that I liked enough to be passable: 49%
Stuff I made I’d rather just hide from now that the project is over (that’s a nicer way of saying stuff I hated): 39%
These percentages are pretty good I thought. I liked or loved more than half of what I made, which is a miracle. The point of the project is to make art every day and stretch yourself. To be honest, I did miss a few days so I had to make a couple pieces in one day. But I felt very stretched. Even with a theme as broad as ‘florals’, I had to get creative with how I posed them, combined them, what mediums I used–though they’re mostly watercolor or ink drawings–and which types of flowers. I get bored pretty easily but there is something even better about putting up a few boundaries for what kind of art to make and then getting creative while following the ‘rules’. I don’t know that I would ever run out of ideas for florals but now that I’m done with the project, I’m excited about the freedom to explore other things.
These 100 day projects sound really intimidating, I know. I was pretty terrified when I first started but now I’m pretty proud of what I was able to accomplish.
The thing is, is that the more intimidating a challenge is, the more I know I will grow by tackling it.
The results of this challenge:
1. Developing an every day art-making habit.
2. Ending up with lots of pretty pictures!
3. A focused goal to work towards while improving my drawing skills.
4. Making new friends along the way! Working towards a common goal with other people makes the whole journey so much more fun and keeps you going on a bad day (or lots of bad days).
So if you’re on the fence about doing a 100 day project, here’s some encouragement and suggestions:
- Pick something that could be done in 15 minutes or less every day if that’s all you’re going to have. Don’t try to plan giant projects for every day because you’ll run out of steam really fast. Some pictures I made took an hour, some half an hour and few would only take about ten minutes if I was in a hurry.
- Expect to have some bad days and don’t be discouraged by that. So you miss a couple days. As long as you’re expecting them, you can’t be surprised by them and you can’t condemn yourself for them. Just keep showing up and the creativity will start to flow. Sometimes when I just didn’t know what to do, I would start with looking for pictures of flowers. I’d usually stumble across a photo so gorgeous, I couldn’t help but try to draw it. Figure out a simple way to inspire yourself to jump back in and do that.
- That leads me to: soak up as much inspiration as possible! For me, it was photographs of flowers. I didn’t want to look at too many drawings or paintings because I didn’t want to fall into the trap of copying another artist’s style. I used Pinterest to make a florals board and created a spot on my phone for keeping screen shots or photos I took myself. Any time I was feeling stuffy or blank, I would visit my boards and would immediately at least have something to base a picture off of.
- Don’t expect to love everything you make. Share them anyways, it’s worth it. If you read my percentages above, you saw that I actually hated about 40% of the stuff I posted for this project. But so many pieces I hated, other people loved. It’s very confusing. And it goes the other way too. Some pieces I was in love with, other people didn’t get very excited about. At the end of the day, it’s not about the result, it’s about the practice of doing it and showing up. It also doesn’t hurt to develop thicker skin; a project like this helps you build up some of that grit that’s required to push forward regardless of how you feel about your ability.
One of my favorite quotes about art sums up this project nicely (sorry if this is repeated, I just love it so much):
Don’t think about making art, just get it done. Let everyone else decide if it’s good or bad, whether they love it or hate it. While they are deciding, make even more art. -Andy Warhol
Anyways, I hope this encourages you to think about trying out the 100 day project next time it rolls around. I learned so much about myself, my style, what I like and don’t like. And I’ve already started brainstorming for the next time I’ll be participating!