Hello! Well, I've been trying to write this post in progress for days. Now that I sit down to finish it, I understand why it's taking so long; it's wordy with lots of thoughts and links and photos too. Here goes!
Shortly after the new year, I shared on Instagram that I'm doing a year long daily creative project this year. Well, actally, 2: a page a day in one book and a pattern a day in another. I loved watching Jennifer Orkin Lewis do her year long daily creative last year which she shared every day on her IG. She's started a new project this year, and writes about both in length on her blog post here. So good. So inspiring. So, last October I started my planning for my own version of this concept. I bought four of these journals with plans to do the same, a page a day. I chose the Drawing book because it had a soft cover and heavy enough paper for me. I intentionally wanted books that weren't special, or expensive, or handmade. I wanted this project to be all about the participation, not the result. Well, the result of the sum of all the pages, yes, but not about any individual page.
The plan for this set of books is similar to Jennifer's last year. A page a day done in 30 minutes or less. For me, I'm adding the challenge of trying to use mainly gouache, a paint I'm not super familiar or comfortable with, and am excited to learn more about. My general plan is to loosley paint something I see, or something sort of realistic from my imagination- to try different things, to stretch, (like more people and less birds).
I bought Elise's goal tracker and printed two out at 75% so that they would fit inside my books. I paperclipped them in, so that as I move on to the other books for the year, I'll bring it along.
As I was settling in to begin this project, I realized I had two other sketchbooks that would work for a daily creative project, and decided to add a second daily creative commitment- one pattern a day painted (? I'm not sure I'm commited to gouache or paint even being a must- maybe pencils, pens etc. will be used in this book, time will tell.) Again, to be done in 30 minutes or less. Ideally, I plan to do these pages at the same time as the other series.
Why 2? Because I think that 2 totally different books with different pages will help to keep the focus on the participation and not any page or result. To keep it moving, as they say.
Why do a daily creative for a year project at all? Here's why I am:
I don't have any problem wanting to create every single day. And I usually make time to do something creative. I would choose creating over eating or sleeping or excercising (duh) or housework (double duh) most every day. So, I think fitting it in won't be a problem. Especially because I find it easy to separate out projects where I care about the result vs. creative exploration, and creative exploration is usually a process where things flow for me, so I probably won't use 60 minutes to do these both a day. (So far, I think I'm spending about 30 minutes total.) But, what I'm not good at is structure in my life, and creating habits, and commitment to finishing big projects. I think that using creativity to learn to embrace structure, committment, habit development and finishing vs. something like excercise might be a good way to make real progress on these things. A more gentle method of behavior modification. ;) Will it work? Who knows. I'm thinking it will, and no matter what happens with my personal behavior modification experiment, nothing but good can come of it. I'll certainly love some pages along the way, I know I'll love the sum of all the pages, I assume I'll learn a lot about materials and my skills will improve. So, why not?!?
I love a project that isn't "precious", ya know? Feel like doodling? Go ahead...
I'm not planning on instagramming every page...but I do plan on sharing them here...at least the painted page book, maybe not the patterns. I'll probably do a big post monthly of all the pages or maybe mid month updates too. Here are some when I started this post way back when:
When this man showed up out of nowhere (I began thinking I'd paint a girl), I got very excited. Not because he's anything special...because he's very atypical for me. A man painted in gouache, that never would have happened on this day if I were just playing in my regular art journal. I love to try and stretch creatively. I love to discover something different in my creating.
How's it going so far? Pretty good I think. Here are my thoughts so far:
- I like it, and still believe I'm going to love the sum of a year's worth of both.
- If asked, I don't love any of the pages yet. I don't mind a bit, it really isn't about that. And I know that repeating a process 365 times will surely bring some I love as well as some I hate and everything in between if I were to step back and evaluate them objectively.
- I'm finding it more difficult to think of things to paint in my sort of realistic page book. It's much easier to draw from something else, like a page of a bird book. I'm not easily inspired to draw what I see around me, and find drawing things from my imagination challenging (which is all good!). I just think I haven't fallen into a groove, and that I will eventually.
-It's hard to create complicated repeat patterns on the fly, in paint.
- I'm still not playing nicely with gouache. Much to learn. Much more comfortable when I use watercolors.
-I'm not using a pencil to draw first, I want to develop my ability for looser, free flowing drawings.
-I don't think it's helping at all with my embracing structure, as I haven't set a time that I do it every day. I want to do it first thing in the morning, so far, that hasn't been happening.
- I'm not thrilling at checking off (painting in the dots) on the tracker sheet. Sometimes I forget to do it for days. I don't know if that means anything or not, I just thought it'd be something I looked forward to each time.
- I'm still totally committed to it.
So, how about you?
Are you still with me? I told you it was a long, linked filled, wordy one.
Are you doing any daily creative project this year?
I know the concept is not a new one. I've seen so many inspiring artists do these in the past. Like Lisa Congdon's 365 Days of Hand Lettering, or Lisa Solomon's A Domestic Life Project. And I learned about Cristal Moody's #yearofcreativehabits after it was over, but she's started a new one this year, an oil painting a day if you want to follow along. I loved the link she shared with the Jerry Seinfeld's productivity secret. Of course, your daily habit length of time doesn't have to be 365 days, it could be 30 or 7, or whatever you want...
...so, do you have one to share? Inquiring minds want to know, and follow along, and cheer you on...so leave a link in the comments if you do!
I love the start of a project, I'm hoping I learn to love finishing as well. I totally think it's possible to learn to see sticking it out differently...finger's crossed! xo