If I think back as far as I can, I don't think there is anything I have ever willingly attempted to do everyday for 100 days besides Sleep, Eat, and other essential human tasks. In doing this challenge, I think I have learned something about myself, my creativity and expression.
I am by no means going to to say I have figured it all out, not by a long shot. Yet, by doing something everyday for 100 days, I understand more about my insecurities and fears around doing things that I am passionate about.
It wasn't long ago that I was that girl in the corner of a local cafe ferociously scribbling melodramatic poetry and angsty drawings in my journal while sipping coffee and smoking rolled cigarettes. It seems as the years have slipped by I haven't given up my cafes or my journals, but I gave up the cigarettes, and somewhere down the line I stopped giving myself permission to openly express my creativity in everyday situations.
During this 100 day challenge I had to quickly give up the idea that I would have set aside time to paint each day. If I was going to complete the challenge, I had to have all my supplies with me all the time. If that meant I had to whip them out in the waiting room before an appointment, in the car waiting to pick up my kid from school or on the beach during our family vacation, that is what I would have to do.
No more apologies for being an artist on a mission. No more worrying if someone would find it odd or showy to make art in public. I realized I have carried a heavy guilt that I wanted to make art. Even when putting my paintings up for an art show, I seemed to carry a weight of shame putting my art up. What the heck? What is that?
One of my favorite books on creativity is What It Is by Lynda Barry.
She wrote it mostly about writing, but so much of it centered on the creative process and how to stimulate it and be a doer of it. The page in the book that floored me was a simple one. It wasn't mind blowing or anything, it just struck a chord. I knew this kind of questioning intimately.
Editing those questions out of my thoughts while making art has been a lifelong battle. I almost gave up making art worrying so much about how my creativity would be perceived.
In reflecting on the 100 days of Faces Challenge there are two things I have to say. The first is that I loosened up. I stopped worrying about judgements on my art and I even was able to have fun. My husband was even bewildered a few times when I was laughing and snickering to myself while painting. Another thing happened when I would labor on a piece that I wasn't feeling keen on. I would be amazed the next day when I looked at it and liked it. Some of those pieces ended up being my favorite in the series.
Secondly, I learned that work doesn't mean what I thought it meant. I like to work. Sitting around is boring, unless it's with intention like in meditation. I'm a doer and I like to share what I do. I realized that it's not work that is hard, it just hard to do work that you don't love. When you love your work, the word work is interchangeable with the word life.
So obviously, I am choosing work that I am passionate about and can share with others. What work do you choose?
In moving forward, I have not been painting everyday, but I still carry my supplies with me most places I go. I just never know when the next moment will be available to dive into a drawing or painting. I do it because It is my work and I know it doesn't suck because it comes from a place of love.