#100dayproject

(Day 1 page)

The idea of 100 days of sticking to just one way of creating is not appealing to me.  I am skeptical of my ability to hang in there for that long. Also, I seem to thrive on variety, having the freedom to create as ideas come to me, leaping from drawing everyday life, to stitching fragments, to knitting and crocheting and many other things in between. To actually pick ONE and say “I’m gonna stick with this for 100 days!” fills me with doubt and makes my eyes glaze over. At least, this is how I’ve reacted each year the #100dayproject posts have rolled around on Instagram. Nope. Not for me. Thank you.

And yet…simmering on the back burner the last few days was a question. Could I find anything I might even remotely like to do for 100 days? Something that feels free, varied and allows for leaps within one vein of making? Awake unusually late last night, a flash of brilliance (or madness) tickled my fancy till I was standing at my drawing table making marks in a brand new sketchbook. (Queue up the Hallelujah Chorus here.:)

At one minute until midnight on the first day of the #100dayproject, I posted a rather poorly lit photo of the first entry (see first image above).  I had recently purchased a random sketchbook with 132 pages of Mixed-Media paper perfect for housing all 100 days. I had only filled the first page with a tulip sketch, testing the paper for its ability to withstand watercolor, colored pencil, marker and oil pastels. I loved the 7″ x 9″ pages and their thick 120 lb. feel. The slick paper allows a lovely hand to swooshing pastels around. I knew this would be perfect for the next 100 days of expressive, intuitive, mark-making pages. Here are some of my own self-imposed guidelines:

  1. Non-objective, intuitive, abstract works. As scribbly and child-like as I want to make them.
  2. Any media, any combination including watercolor, acrylic, pencils (both water media and wax), oil pastels, soft pastels, grease pencils, charcoal, collage (both painted papers and found papers), markers, pens, fine liners, ink, bamboo sticks, calligraphy pens, etc, etc.
  3. Must work quickly without thinking. I love working like this, without critiquing as I go. The only thought allowed will be, “what do I want to put down next?”
  4. Only one per day in this book. But I can, if I want to and if time allows, create more mark-making works in other sketchbooks or on canvas.
  5. Space on the left hand side to stamp the date, write the number for each of the 100 days, and any thoughts on the process for that day I’d like to record. Love this last piece of the process.

I could hardly get to sleep I was so excited about this adventure. I’ll post many of them on Instagram but perhaps not every day. I might just post them in groups of four or a weeks worth of them at a time. We shall see. My aim is to create each one first thing in the day as part of my morning practice of reflection. Simple, short and oh so sweet!

(Day 2 page)

I’m also considering beginning Tara Leaver’s 7-Day Challenge along these same lines. Tara is a wonderful abstract artist I follow and whose teaching and work has been very inspiring and helpful to me. I love receiving her newsletters filled with such helpful advice and encouragement for the artistic path. I look forward to reading what she has to say every week! A 7-Day Challenge is far less intimidating than 100 Days!  I did this challenge two years ago but used Freeform Crochet as the method of creating small fiber paintings. It was a super way to explore all that yarn and stitches can do in creating images. For this year’s 7-Day Challenge, I’d like to create the same mark-making works I’m doing for the #100DayProject but on slightly larger paper or on mini canvases. I haven’t decided which yet. But I need to decide soon since The Challenge  begins tomorrow! What in the world has gotten into me?? A 7-Day Challenge AND a 100 Day Project? Good Grief. I must surely be crazy!

Crazy about art, crazy about color, lines, shapes and marks on a page! Wish me luck! Better yet…join me in one (or both) of these ventures! It will be fun, probably challenging at times, but rewarding to have a nearly filled sketchbook with pages and pages of merry marks!

Here’s to the next 7 Days and on to 100!!

Truly…I think I need to get my head examined.

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If you are interested in Tara’s 7-Day Challenge, be sure to read the highlighted post above. There you will find a free downloadable worksheet designed to help you pinpoint what you’d like to try for the 7 Days. We can do anything for 7 Days, can’t we? It’s the 100 that feels a bit daunting. But I’m giving it a go! <3

 

Michelle’s Challenge: “Go Big!”

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One of the artists whose work I admire on the One Drawing A Day blog, Michelle Bedigian, posed a challenge over a week ago. She recounted that one of her former teachers had challenged her to “Go Big” when she went out to sketch on site. This was to shake things up a bit and to make her approach a drawing differently.  The “big” size she was challenged to do was 36″ x 42″…oi!

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I took this challenge immediately! However, not even owning a board or paper coming anywhere near that size, I decided to use the largest piece of paper I had which was 22″ x 30″. All week long I looked forward to taking the hot press w/c paper on a board with my French easel and all kinds of drawing media and watercolors, to our Ciener Botanical Gardens here in Kernersville, NC. I typically draw and paint there with no bigger than a 9″ x 12″ sketchbook, so this was going to be fun! I have certainly done larger paintings and drawings on location before, but this time I wanted to approach it in a similar manner to how I work in my sketchbook and see what would happen. In other words, I wanted to “think drawing”, rather than “proper painting”. This may not mean anything to you, but in my mind, there’s a big difference.

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Friday morning dawned with gray skies and spitting rain. We had been having this weather all week and I was just sure the clouds would part for Friday’s adventure. Humph. Not to be daunted, I hauled my stuff there anyway, determined to find some way to “Go Big”, even in the misting rain. Right as I hopped out of my car, I saw it. Just the view I wanted to draw! Flowers in the foreground, main building behind with the Methodist church in the far background. Yes! And as I got out my stuff, I realized the back hatch of our vehicle would provide some shelter from the spitting rain. Perfect.

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I was joined by two of my dear artist friends from Reidsville who had come to Kernersville to draw with me. They were not daunted either and found a terrific spot under an awning to draw for the morning.  Once my setup was in place (which was truly perfect using the back of my car to open up all the supplies for ease of reach) I attacked the drawing, trying not to think too much. I had splashed a bit of watercolor on the page the night before. I often enjoy drawing over an underpainting (or rather an undersplashing). It helps tone down the large white expanse of the paper and offers lovely surprises later on as you view the finished the drawing. (See the first photo above for the “drawing only” on top of the pre-splash of watercolor.)

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I got really caught up in the moment, only stepping back a couple of times to take a look and dive back in. After two hours, I decided I had hit the “niggling” stage. This is where I begin adding little bits of this and that which aren’t really helping anything at all. Even though I wish I had stopped long before I was near niggling it to death (I almost like the “drawing only” version the best!), I still liked it immensely if only for the fact that I did it! I drew larger and more expansively and oh boy was it fun!

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I can’t wait to do this again! My little brain is hopping with ideas and different approaches and mixes of media! Definitely a challenge worth taking many times over! Perhaps you’ll try it too! I highly recommend it!

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I’m including some close-ups of specific areas of the drawing so you can see it better. It really was a gray day so I apologize if the photos are a bit dim as well. C’est la vie!

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And in case you’re curious as to the media I used, here’s a list:

Faber-Castell watercolor pencils, Feber-Castell PITT artist pens of various tones of black and gray, Prismacolor Premier Fine-Line Marker 08, Loew-Cornell oil pastels, Loew-Cornell 7020 Ultra Round watercolor brush size 14, American Journey Watercolor paints with a few DaVinci Gouache colors.

Here’s a definition of the word “niggle”:

nig•gle (ˈnɪg əl)

v.i. -gled, -gling.
1. to spend too much time and effort on inconsequential details; trifle.
2. to criticize in a peevish way; carp.

***Should you be up for an excellent read about an artist’s life, read J.R.R. Tolkein’s Leaf by Niggle. 

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The Smell of Honeysuckle

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One day recently as I walked near my favorite Lane, I smelled honeysuckle! I could smell it before I could see it. And then, rounding the corner at the top of our neighborhood, there it was…a blanket of white and yellow vining in a tangle of overgrown weeds.

Bliss! You know how it is…

A hush of the scent comes wafting ever so gently on the morning breeze, blue skies dancing as the smell increases until it’s heady fragrance nearly knocks you over! But it’s a curious thing, this honeysuckle. If you go up to it, actually pick a stem of the flowers, they don’t look much like they smell. You expect to see some sultry, large-petaled, bright colored flower to match the fragrance that drew you in. Instead, you find small straw-like flowers in pale shades of white and yellow. And when you put the flower to your nose, hoping to breathe in more of its musky odor, you can barely smell it, causing you to wonder if you have the right patch of flowers.

Honeysuckle fragrance is best from an entire patch of it, rather than a single stem. I like that. It speaks to the whole “we are better together, than just on our own” thing.

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Now…how to paint that smell? I put this challenge to myself, and stood for rather a long time in front of my drawing table. Eventually something came out of my brush. The above is my attempt. Here’s how my thinking went as I tried to paint the smell, without painting what honeysuckle looked like.

*What medium does honeysuckle suggest? The vivid heft of soft pastels? Heavy acrylics? Black & white pen? Watery watercolor? etc. I decided that watercolor was perfect for the ethereal smell of honeysuckle.

*What about the smell is predominant in my mind? Is it the light sweet aroma? Or the strong, heady odor? I decided I think of honeysuckle as being light and sweet with a few punctuations of the strong stuff. So my painting needed to be on the watery side to depict this airy fragrance.  Then have bits of more concentrated color and some splashes to denote the heavier smell.

*What small bits of its physical properties can I include but not describe? The fact that the fragrance wafts from the ground up was something I tried to suggest with the darker greens near the bottom of the page and the slight blue at the top. And the little stamen in the centers of the flowers seemed delightful and significant…so I added a few as “hints” here and there.

So this is how my mind goes with a challenge such as this. The cool thing is that if you posed these questions to many artists, they would come up with totally different paintings. Or even across disciplines, the results would be so varying. Why don’t you try it? Post it on your blog or FB, or Everyday Matters FB and share with us!

CHALLENGE: ??How would you paint, collage, stitch, write, sculpt, etc. the smell of honeysuckle??  (No need to be a professional at this…just have fun with it!) AND>>> let me know you’ve done this, so I can see it and compile them into a post later. 🙂