Reflections on Doing the 100 Days of Faces Challenge by Nico Lund

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.

Either Side Will Do                                                                                                   Ink, Watercolor on Paper 7.5"x7.5" a new piece in the aftermath of the challenge

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.

Excerp from What It Is by Lynda Barry

Is it good? Does it suck?

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?

from 100 days of faces     5"x5"      watercolor


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.

Why is it so Hard to Put Time to the Things that Matter? by Nico Lund

Studio at Fremont Space, Seattle Wa.

Studio at Fremont Space, Seattle Wa.

How is it that we put off the work we get the most enjoyment out of to do the busy work that we hate?

Since moving into my Fremont Studio, I have realized how much I procrastinate going there, but once I get there, I can't believe I don't go more? It's like writing a letter or exercising. The longer you put it off, the harder it is get back to.

It boils down to discipline. You either have it or you don't. You can be the most talented __fill in the blank__, but unless you actually get to it there will be nothing to show; like it never existed. But, boy will those clothes be folded and dishes washed!

As a writer thinks about story, I am often thinking about my paintings. What I want to add next to a composition, a series that would be cool to do, squeezing paint out of tubes. If only I could telepathically create visual experiences for people....wait, that might get creepy...never-mind.

So I packed my bags, grabbed the dog and got to the studio today. Maybe it was the quintessential Autumnal rain slipping from the Seattle sky or the dark morning before we fall back with daylight savings. Whatever it was, I woke up with the forceful need for reflection, and an angry itch to make something. "I Gotta get there. Gotta paint. Let's do this!"

When I got there, I reacquainted with the current large pieces I have going and dabbled on some smaller ones. All in all, we listened to a little old school circa 91 Mazzy Star, a little St. Vincent, we laughed, we sang, we painted. It was great! I can't believe I don't get there more often!