Thursday, February 23, 2017

52 days of drawing or 1/7th of a year.

If you divide 365 by seven you get 52.1428571. I used a calculator. In case you thought I did that in my head. When I reached 50 days of drawing everyday I patted myself on the back because I seriously didn't think I'd be able to keep it up.
I put a lot of stuff out here that I don't follow through on. That may look bad, but do you follow through on everything you start? Of course not. That's why the gym empties out after Valentine's Day. New Years resolutions are a great idea, but few of them really stick. It's the idea. Good intentions and all that. But life derails even the best laid plans. So 52 days--minus the .1428571-- is 1/7 of the way through a year! It helps me to know I've reached a milestone. (Even if I have to make a milestone up) And to see that I only have to do that 6 more times!

Anyway, on day 50 I thought "that's a few more days than 30". I usually do a month of daily sketches at the first of the year. And, being the lazy woman that I am, I started doing it in February because it only has 28 days. (One year I think it I had a leap year in there and should have just done January). A month was a lot of work!! So how am I going to do 356?? And why put it out there publicly for all to see me fail??

I'll tell you how I'm doing it. First, I let go of all the self imposed rules I had for my past month long forays. I never really wrote them down, or even acknowledged that I had even made rules until I realized last time that I felt such pressure everyday because I needed to have something worthy of sharing. I realized then that it was self imposed pressure. Rules I had for myself if my work was public and rules I had if no one saw my sketches! Rule one-it can't embarrass me! Rule two-it has to be a watercolor. (Cause that's what I do, ya know?) Rule three-the subject should inspire me. (Because how do you create beautiful art if you are not inspired)...You get the idea? I had these silly rules that resulted in pressure to perform. Pressure to perform can take the joy out of the process. And that, my friends is the lesson.

Art is life. In life we dress ourselves up and put on a smile and say "I'm great!" when someone asks how we are. It's the best side of us-the side we want people to see. And it gets deep here-it's not really real. Life is messy and so is everyone out there! And art is life! So I threw out my dressed up, "I'm great!" work and I post my sketches no matter how bad or good they turn out. And trust me, some of them have been...less than good. If I were focused no the product this would be a problem. But my focus is on making art. Any kind, not just sketching. But drawing is the go to. At some point I may do some printing or other types of art. For me, this is about being intentionally creative. Making art every day. I also continually tell myself, you can always stop. If I look at 365 days I get a little freaked out. If I look at just today, I can do this. And by golly, maybe I can. I'm still giving myself room to opt out. Because while art is life, it's life with a little "l". There are some things on the life list with a big "L" that may make this little challenge a bust. We'll see. 

What happens when the day is so busy that on the way home from a late dinner you scribble this and call it a day!
And art takes time, which none of us has enough of. So the biggest thing this is doing for me is making it habit. When I started taking spin (cycle) classes at the gym I did so for my mental health as well as my physical health. I've always done some type of exercise, but never consistently. Having this consistency has created a need. I NEED to do this exercise now or my body tells me it's not happy. That's what is happening with my daily art practice. It's a pain in the neck to fit into my schedule, but it's becoming something I look forward to. Something my mind needs! And I think that creative expression everyday is feeding and fueling me in the same way exercise fuels my body. Again, remember, it's all about what we feed that decides what we grow! 

I carved out a longer space of time to do some more detailed work. Took 50 days-but what a refreshing time! I'm just glad she turned out so well or I would have been bummed!
 So I have only two suggestions for these 365 days--no rules, these are self guided suggestions! Suggestion one--get it done! One day at a time. Suggestion two-it's about process, not product! That's it. And some day's I throw two out entirely! Being realistic with this has opened me up creatively. I start my day looking for what I will draw. I think about other forms of art I can dip into again as I go through my day. I've started looking for longer spaces of time to do more detailed work. I usually do it after dinner and it's become a wind down meditative time for me. But this Saturday I carved out a few hours to do this portrait. And it felt good. Here's to another 52.1428571 days! 


  1. I am still learning but thanks to your reinforcement I am taking a couple of classes and trying to carve out time to paint/draw something as many times a week as possible. Sometimes, the art is just thinking about what I want to do, planning in my head. Other times a painting is started or completed. As you say, it really isn't necessary to place ourselves under so much pressure. Art is a joy although unbelievably frustrating at times!
    Keep up the good work.

    1. Yes! Art is life-and life is a joy although unbelievably frustrating at times!

  2. Hi, I found you; nice to meet you today! J.