Mavis Penney, Canadian painter-coach-mentor-friend and I set out on March 2nd, 2009 to paint one 5 x 7 painting each weekday until we had 100 completed paintings. We’ve been posting them daily since then.
Day 2 - Early March 2009
"By painting each day for 100 days I hope to learn about that which exists off the beaten path, to learn about seeing, to learn about myself."
This is the statement I shared at the beginning of this 100-day challenge.
So that leaves me asking myself that question: What did I learn?
Certainly I learned about mixing colors and making brush strokes and preparing 100 gessoed boards. Loosening brushwork and pushing colors beyond reality was almost necessary after awhile. Painting trees purple or skies yellow was less a risk than an allowing of something that was natural to me. It was nice to have an outlet to allow that expressiveness.
I learned to look for color, beauty and interest where my intellect, and neighbors, said there were none. And most often I found what I was looking for.
Day 6 Raccoon Skull
I learned that sometimes is okay to do something because all the cool kids are doing it. Now that I’m one of the cool kids, I find I don’t need it so much. I am a daily painter for sure. I just don’t see a need to finish a painting every day. I prefer to let things settle a bit, and return later with a fresh eye. Working out a color choice or a composition needs peaceful consideration. It’s hard to do when the clock is ticking.
I learned that doing scary, challenging things can lead to unexpected outcomes. New opportunities have opened themselves to me because of the relationships, energy, and pile of paintings this project has brought about. (Mavis and I are included in a very cool site called Following the Masters, hosted by Michele Burnett. I'm also a new member of the Burkholder Project, due, in part, to the stack of daily paintings I brought in to show Anne Burkholder. )
I learned to know when I'm licked, and by the 74th day I was toast. I learned to allow myself a rest. After all, this was only a painting challenge, not building the Great Wall of China against Mongol invaders.
I learned to take what I do seriously, but not to take myself too seriously.
I learned that setting challenging goals is important for my - or anyone's - personal growth. I believe now that achieving them is maybe not so necessary. The triumph, at least for me, was in the honest attempt. Dealing with inconvenient time frames, the anxiety of starting and finishing constantly, the emotional roller coaster of delight and disaster (sometimes within minutes of each other) and deepening faith in myself despite looming doubt is the true hard work of what Mavis and I chose to do.
Day 100 - Across the Pond 2009
We're done with our 100 paintings in 100 days challenge. As Mavis suggested to me, I'll let out a yelp of triumph and allow myself a dance across the room.