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Why 100-Days of Art Projects
Day 1/100 days art project: it is about the creative endeavours you could achieve in 100 days
Hey, I am Susan & welcome to Happy Surprises, your free weekly newsletter! If you find inspiration and joy in this creative space, why not share it?
PS: This post is quite lengthy, so if you can, please read it on Substack - let’s just say I have a lot to say about challenges :)
Can you believe it, there are only 100 days left in 2023?
Doing creative and art projects simply to create again, build a habit, make a change or make more art has been a personal journey. The number ONE reason I have been able to stick to my commitment is because of my WHY.
It also brings to mind Simon Sinek's 'Start with Why,' a book I read in 2015 that has stayed with me.
Seeing through creative projects is no longer about counting the days; it’s about persistently following through something that you LOVE and could do daily. No doubt, there will be challenges along the way. But it’s about learning to let go of the pressure of when and how long you should spend on it.
And the best part is that you decide on the rules! Just don’t forget to celebrate along the way, and not just when you reach the finish line.
So today is day ONE of a HUNDRED day of my new art project, and I thought it would be fun to share my experience that shaped it, emphasizing that the path to achieving a 100-day art project success wasn't as magical as it might seem from these past challenges and projects.
While 100 days of doing the same thing might feel intense and overwhelming, I genuinely believe it is about the creative endeavours you could achieve in 100 days … 🪄
Prompt: You could always start with a 5-day art challenge and spend as little as 5 minutes. Day one is just about starting and putting something down on paper and continuing this step for five days.
2016: 30 days of Adobe After Effects
I remember reading a newsletter about someone embarking on a 100-day writing challenge and I found it so inspiring that I wanted to try something similar. One hundred days of doing the same thing sounded so constrictive, dull, and so uncreative, ha! It was, of course, intimidating, but the idea of 30 days was a good start for me.
At the time, I was no longer painting or drawing, but I was doing video editing and video production as my profession. I constantly felt the pressure to enhance my editing skills so I decided to try out this new challenge:
100 days Adobe After Effects Challenge. However, by day 30, I had more than enough and came to the conclusion that I hated working on After Effects. Thirty days of it were enough for me to realise it was not my forte. While I didn't complete the full 100 days, it was still a successful project during which I acquired a new skill and quickly discovered that it was not for me.
2017: 100 days of morning routine.
This was the year when things weren't going too well, and soon it went from bad to the worst year of my life. Yet, I had some very special moments this year that I am lucky to have experienced.
Nevertheless, I was consuming so much content, signing up for way too many online marketing/business courses, reading only marketing, business, and self-development books, and attending all these networking events that required me to speak Dutch. It was too much and overwhelming, to say the least.
Somewhere in between, I discovered a book called "The Miracle Morning" by Hal Elrod. It's meant to help with productivity and kickstart habit changes. It was nothing groundbreaking when I first read it, and I don't know how I feel about the book today.
100 days of The Miracle Morning Routine (consistent with 5-10 minutes of silence, affirmation, visualization, exercises, reading, and journaling first thing in the morning) had a huge impact when I hit rock bottom and needed to pick myself up. It became my guide to a new beginning, a new chapter in my life, just a few months later.
2018: 30-Day Art Project
This project started as a joint effort among a group of us, all committed to a 30-day challenge within a Facebook group.
Here’s the Facebook post before & after completing 30 days in July 2018
Before: I’m committing to nurturing my creativity by getting back to drawing and journaling in the afternoons. We leave at the end of the week for our road trip. So it’ll be very therapeutic to be out in nature. x.
After: This challenge has given me a purpose to pursue my commitment to getting back to drawing. Something I’ve been meaning to do for the last 10 years but I kept putting it off or having excuses.
For me, this has been a personal journey and what’s made it easy for me to stick to my commitment because of my WHY. It’s no longer about counting the days but continuing to do something that you love daily.
I lost my beautiful dad last December, 2017. While we were in the hospital both in the waiting room, he looked at a painting in-fron of us and asked me why I hadn't continued with art since I used to do it all the time during my study years. I didn’t have an answer, but I knew there was a message he was trying to tell me. And that moment would haunt me later. My dad was an incredible artist himself, and luckily, I'm surrounded by his art at home. So, I grew up admiring art and artists.
My breakthrough was on day 28. I started to draw again because I wanted to make Dad proud but by day 28 I was doing it for me and loving it.
Drawing every day has become my way of connecting with my dad and learning to deal with grief by creating.
2020: 100-Day Art Project #1
This was the year when I decided to share my artwork openly to a new Instagram profile dedicated only to my art. My commitment was to show up every day despite making ugly or pretty art. There were many days I wanted to quit, or I was posting 5 minutes before midnight, but I never gave up, and thanks to the support I got home, that was sometimes, the only extra nudge I needed to get through on tough days.
A tradition that I started in 2018 and have kept doing is to end with a new interpretation of the first artwork. This has been a fun way to see my skills and style develop over the years.
Here’s the Instagram post I wrote on April 15, 2020
I just can’t believe that I’ve easily spent over 100 hours creating art 😱
Looking back at what I wrote on Day 1 it’s so awesome to see that I followed through:
✔️ dedicate to as little to one hour of creating and less consuming
✔️ post on Instagram and share my process
✔️ create a daily habit of making art
✔️ enjoy the process, and let go of expectations
✔️ it’s about having fun experimenting and not trying to create a masterpiece in one day.
Though I’m not totally convinced I have found “my art style” I’m no longer worrying about it other than — reminding myself to just keep creating and stay curious, be brave, and share more art!
The biggest hurdle during my art challenge was the beginning of the pandemic. At the time all I wanted to do was sink in the couch and postpone the challenge! So pulling through it for the right reason helped me deal with the global pandemic by continuing to make art.
It’s so important to give yourself a creative space for expressing yourself, to work through emotions — to me, art is my daily mindfulness practice.
2020: 100-Days of Art Project #2
Later the same year, I did another 100-day challenge (whaaat? I know!!!)
Here’s the Instagram post I wrote on December 30, 2020
🙋🏻♀️ I made it to 100-days consistently painting, drawing all sorts of flowers 🌸
🙋🏻♀️ It’s my 2nd round of a 100 day art project in 2020 🥳
🙋🏻♀️ But technically, I’m 8 days away from completing 365 days of daily art practice and sharing it here 💫
I started this little idea to help me spark my creativity again, and get back to making art again. I knew I had to build a habit of a daily art practice. It was not always easy to show up everyday but the biggest challenge was to focus on the process not the outcome.
On January 7, 2020 I made the commitment to showing up everyday. Not for the likes or to grow a following (though I have made some wonderful connections along the way) but just to build the muscles of creating. Once I completed the first project, I gently kept going out of curiosity not knowing what was going to happen this year to me, to us all!!! 2020 was full of suprises to say the least.
So despite all the craziness that has brought me - us - everyone this year - it’s the ONE thing that has helped me look forward to, stay connected, feel a sense of calm and a way to release lots of emotions during lockdown. Practicing art is my therapy, my creative outlet and I am grateful for it.
2021: 100-Days of Art Project
This was the year I moved my art challenge to my official Instagram account because I was ready to share my art with people who knew me and I was ready to pivot from a video expert to “becoming an artist.” Looking back, I wish I shared it on my Instagram feed but I was a bit shy to share it with people who knew me (what they may think or not?) so I just shared it on Instagram Stories. Filming the art process is so amazing to look back at now, but took me so much extra time and sometimes a bit of distraction away from my art. You can see some of the videos here.
Here’s the Instagram post I wrote halfway through the challenge 🥳🏋🏽♀️🤸🏽♀️
The first time I did this art challenge was back in January 2020. Though I was more focused on completing the goal than enjoying the process but I somehow managed to complet it.
Then I did another 100-day challenge that same year (whaaat? I know!!!) to help me finish the year on a creative and fulfilling note! That it did!
While my rusty art skills were improving during these two challenges. It was having this daily practice of creating that helped me deal with everything that came with the year 2020, the pandemic and not been able to fly home for Christmas...
I believe that Creativity matters. It is therapeutic, calming, self expression and not just a hobby or something we just did as kids. Creativity needs nurturing and space to create.
2022: 100-Days of Art Project
Here’s the Instagram post I wrote on December 31, 2022
100-days of Art Consistency 🧜🏼♀️🪅✨💅
I started this challenge during the lockdown in 2020 to help me cope with all the mix feelings and frustration I could not express at the time. I had already done my first 100-day challenge at the start of 2020 and figured why not do another round since we were all stuck at home anyways!!!
So I decided to turn my energy into being creative and productive. Rather than mopping around feeling sad and disappointed. Suddenly I had something to look forward to every day.
Though it’s a struggle to build a creative habit, it’s such a magical way to end the year ✨
Art is my creative outlet. It’s my grief toolkit. It’s helped me heal the heart and soul.
It’s been my guide to letting go of perfectionism and getting unstuck in the outcome. It brings me calm, joy, and fulfillment but I also have to work for it.
I must admit there are plenty of days that I got bored with it or just didn’t feel like it. Let alone posting ugly art on social media!!! But I had made a commitment to myself, to make the time to make it art.
I’ve learned to not worry about making crap art because I know the more I do it, there bigger the chance there’s of making beautiful art along the way.
2023: 100-Days of Art Project (Sept 22 - Dec 31)
Embarking on the 100-day art project is a blend of thrilling and daunting feelings and I find myself why do this again? Why make such an effort? Yet, here I am, doing I am committed to because I know that something magical is waiting to unfold, and it’s about enjoying the process not focusing on the outcome.
This year I have decided NOT to share it on Instagram, at least not every day like I have in the past. The major reason is that I am no longer very active on Instagram, and I prefer to share a weekly update (and occasionally more if I have something to share) on Substack. I love Substack as my new creative outlet! Also, I am adding a new layer to this project, but more about that next time!