Friday, May 29, 2009

Flying Girl and the Hundred Days, or day to day today is the day

Flying Girl and the Hundred Days, or day to day today is the day
Golden Fluid Acrylic, Watercolor Pencils, Pen on Moleskine paper, 5x8"

I'm trying not to push myself yet. A few days left until my 100 in a 100 days starts. But, I've found that if I don't have a painting, I don't have anything to post about. This is a habit that I built the last time I started painting every day. I fell off the painting habit, so apparently, I fell off the posting habit.

I like this girl. She has 99 days in her dress and the 100th in her ribbon with a feather. Her reward for reaching her goal.

In order to reach my goal, and to help you all reach yours, if you so choose to take up the challenge, I am thinking about the tricks and techniques that will help me paint a whole picture every day. Please forgive me if it's rambling or poorly written, I am running out of time to straighten all my thoughts... and I kind of am doing this project to give the heave ho to my old perfectionism.

The first trick is to pick my challenge to suit me. I want to have finished paintings, not just sit down to paint every day. This is what I need to get me back on my path.

Fit your 100 in 100 challenge with your long range goals. Fit in into your life. If you're trying to discover the poetry in your soul, then choose to do a poem a day. If you are trying to live creatively as the mother of young children, then make it a crafting activity, new recipe to cook, or a personal creative project a day. It doesn't have to be one thing only if your goal is to do all around creativity. Maybe you are writing a novel. Make it a page of your novel a day. It's really not that much, but if it gets you sitting down every single day to write, it will make you A WRITER. You can raise your limit later. I also like the idea of taking a wonderful photo a day, something you want to share with others, a way to document a period of your life. Maybe you want to do a blog post a day and build your creativity that way. Maybe an art journal page a day. Whatever you'd like to do, challenge yourself to do it everyday and see where it leads you.

Another trick I have to keeping this creativity going is to set limits. The last time I did a painting a day, keeping to the theme of Flying Girl kept the "what shall I paints" from getting too overwhelming. A theme might help with the limits, or a genre, or a medium. But also, as a painter... keeping the paper size small helps me. I experimented with going a little larger, and my paintings took twice as long. I might cut my large papers in half to manage my finished painting goal. Or perhaps I'll try more ACEOs (2.5"x 3.5") or do a few inchies (1"x1") or twinchies (2"x2"). I have set my personal goals so that postage size art is not cheating. It's experimenting. What kind of limits would make you feel like you could achieve this? Paper size? Page count? Only black and white photos? A time limit? Maybe you spend 30 minutes a day writing? Small steps become the big journey.

And how do we keep these ideas going? This is very tricky. I like to use prompts. Sometimes I will go to a site like Illustration Friday or Thursday Sweet Treat, or Inspire Me Thursday. Sometimes I will pull words or phrases randomly from a book or a collection of words I have. Sometimes a quote or song or poem will inspire me. Sometimes, I am inspired from looking around blogland... inspired by a picture or an idea someone brings up. To keep those inspirations, instead of losing them when I sit down to create, I keep a notebook and sketch or write my ideas as they come. You're half way there if you already have your ideas. My last ditch inspiration is too let my medium lead the way. I close my eyes and pick 3/4 paint tubes, and then I paint whatever comes out of that combination. You could collect ephemera from the day and make poems/art/whatever out of that, too.

Timing... that's a tough one. When do you find time to work? I like setting a schedule and keeping to that, because then you end up with a muscle memory that equates a certain time of day to your creating. I sit down to watch tv and MUST paint. Maybe first thing in the morning you go to your computer and start writing. If you want to create daily, you need to commit time daily to your creating. Carve it out. It doesn't even have to be one long block of time. I'm a big fan of 15 minute increments. I've set alarms for 15 minutes in order to write the first draft of my novel. Also set 15 minute alarms to take care of business, after which, I allow myself to create... that time can go both ways. If you feel your kids or your day or your physical condition or your commitments never allow you to be creative... one way might be to incorporate those constraints into your art. Kids everywhere? Draw what they eat for lunch everyday. Stuck in a work meeting? Create character profiles from your coworkers. Do an art journal documenting your pregnancy day by day, your worries, your moods, your hopes, your name search, whatever (yes I am talking to you).

Here's a question that has already come up. What about accountability? Do I expect everyone to post updates daily?


I will admit that NEEDING something to post every day kept me painting when I was crying "but I don't waaaaant to!" but I wouldn't say it's required. There are ways to build the photographing/scanning/posting into your daily habit which makes it easier, but it's not necessary. If it works for you, you could post updates once a week or keep it all on Flickr or only write about what you've done in comments.

The way I look at this challenge, and the way I will be playing it is do what works. I will break any rule that stands in my way of my real goal.. which is to paint more finished work. If I paint two smaller paintings one day, and don't paint the next, that's good. If I do a collage instead of a painting, it's cool. If I take an old painting and redo it into something new, that will work too. Starting late? No problem. Make your own finish date. Need to take 3 weeks off because you are going on vacation? Add three weeks to the end. Or switch your product to a travel journal. I really don't care. There's no losing in this challenge, and you're the only one you have to please. I was actually thinking myself that I might do 100 paintings in 100 weekdays... and take off the weekends. If that idea makes you happy, please, steal it.

All it will take to please me is if I can inspire you to reach for your creative dreams.


Shell said...

I think once you get a rhythm going with your 100 painting in 100 days, you'll know how to you want to achieve it.
I'm an actor, I started working on my monologues every day for about three weeks. Now, I switched to every other day. It has been amazing to me how more connected i am to my monologues and how I'm more natural with my work.
I know after doing this challenge, you may not stop or may even alter but your connection and love to your art will increase.

Amanda Fall - PersistentGreen said...

Rowena, I just finished another blog post about this project...and checked back in here, only to find this lovely warm post of yours. My thoughts of the past day or so echo much of what you say here--it's not about the "rules," but having guidelines in place will help make this a productive and effective time.

Did you have any idea about the mini revolution you were starting with this project?

Coreopsis said...

I REALLY like what you have to say about the "100 in 100" and I think I'm going to do that myself. I probably won't post every one (yesterday's post was one), but I am going to DO it, because it IS important. So many people want to do things, or be things, and never make the time to do it. What could possibly be more important.


aquamaureen said...

Yes, "mini revolution"!!!!!! "Break any rule that gets in the way"!! woohoo!!!

I have just added (for myself) my one rule: HAVE FUN. I want JOY to saturate my watercolors. It's time.

Thank you, Rowena, more than I can say.

Leah said...

Woohoo! What an exciting challenge you've set forth, Rowena!!

Beverley Baird said...

Rowena what a perfect challenge. I love the idea of making your own rules as you creat. Aquamaureen's rule of being sure to have fun is a good one too!
I want to do so much - create, write, craft. So my goal is to give myself an hour a day to be creative - in whatever avenue that takes.
I plan to start Jun 1, ending Sept. 8. This definitely ties in with 101 in 1001! I'll just keep doing 100 day challenges!
Thanks Rowena.

Leone said...

Thanks Rowena for a wonderful idea. Last year I committed to making one purse/book everyday for a year but got bored with it after six months and was going to switch to something else but never did find that "something else" that I felt inspired enough to do. I need lots of practice painting so this idea is great. Whether it's in my art journal or a small canvas doesn't matter it will be practice. And as aquamarine says do it with joy. Thanks all for sharing, especially Rowena for this great idea.

KnittingJourneyman said...

Sign me up for the 100 for 100 mini-revolution!
I love that....
I am stealing the idea and running with it....
I'll be drawing every single day-for 100 days...
Thank you for the inspiration...
and your paintings are so vibrant-I love your work...

Jé Maverick said...

I have to join. I'm going to post a sonnet a day for 100 days. I hope I can finish it. Good luck to everybody else who takes up the challenge! :)

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