100 Days of Creativity: more than half-way through

Today is day 61 of my 100 day creativity challenge (you can read more about the background to this project here and here) and I wanted to share some further reflections as I move towards the final straight.

Picture the scene: you are out walking through beautiful countryside with the aim of climbing a particular peak. You can see it in front of you and you stride up the sloping path towards it. When you reach the top, guess what – you are not standing on your intended peak, but instead a nearer, lower rise. ‘Your’ peak can still be seen in the distance, so off you set again, only to find the process repeating itself, such is the nature of the landscape. The thing is that when you get to the second ‘false’ rise, you look back down on the first and it seems now so insignificant, even though it was initially a challenge to climb.

This is how I feel about my 100 day challenge. From my 61-day perspective, the 100th day still seems like a distant prospect. Yet looking back on my previous two posts about this project, one written at the start, the other at the 25-day point, it seems like years ago that I was feeling rather daunted at the prospect of tackling 100 days’ worth of image-creation. From my lofty platform of two-thirds through, all those worries and fears are tiny and insignificant.

There is definitely a life-lesson here, right? I suspect we have all heard the ‘take one day at a time’ advice many times when considering some kind of endeavour. Just focus on making a change the here and now, and you will naturally gravitate towards your end goal. Yes, ok. Fine. We know this logically but it can be hard to buy in to it emotionally, to really believe that small steps add up to make a big difference. Actually doing it provides the empirical evidence that such an approach does actually work.

 

it’s all in the doing

I have often picked up art materials in the past with the aim of developing my creative skills. After one of two ridiculously bad drawings it has been all too easy to give up when it becomes immediately obvious that the kind of masterpieces I admire in galleries are beyond me. The difference this time is that I have given myself permission to ignore the quality of the work produced. The aim has been to create something each day, regardless of merit. By focusing on the process rather than the outcome, I have given myself the space in which to move forward.

It has been a joy and a marvel to experience a sense of development and progression. I have come to love the question ‘what if…’ when exploring new image possibilities. Here’s an example. I created this image for one of my daily posts:

I love the colours, texture and movement here. I enjoyed the process by which it was created. I decided to have another go at a similar image:

 

Again, I love the colours, slightly more intense than the first, the shapes with more body and heft. What if I combined the essence of both images into a third?…..

 

I was really pleased with the glassy nature of this one – the shapes seemed to be taking on more form. So what if I went one step further, with an added colour….

 

Wow! I adore this image – it might be my most favourite of all, so far. I love the textures, colours, shapes and sense of fluidity. But perhaps most of all, I love that I would not have been able to create this image from a standing start – it took the work on the previous three to get here.

Ah ha –ย this is the benefit of a daily practice.

So on we go. I will look forward to sharing more thoughts about my project in the coming weeks. In the meantime, it might be of interest to know that all my images have been created digitally. Most have been developed on an iPad Pro with an Apple pencil, using the marvellous Procreate app. For a few others, I have used my iPhone and a stylus, with the Procreate Pocket app.

And for anyone who cannot see my daily entries on either Instagram or Facebook, here is a gallery of selected work since my last blog post:

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100 days of creativity: some initial reflections

Nearly a month ago, I wrote about my intention to pursue a creativity project, specifically publishing digital art sketches for 100 consecutive days. I am now a quarter of the way through, so it seemed timely to record some reflections about how things are going.

Before I started this project, I was not 100% sure whether I would actually be able to do it. Would I really have the discipline and the ability to produce some kind of art every single day? It turns out to be much easier than I expected. It helps that I am really enjoying myself. And the commitment to publish my pieces provides a certain push to make sure I do so. Would I have been able to produce something every day without that public accountability? I’m not sure. ย But I definitely think it is a useful form of motivation, and perhaps something to reflect on with other habits I would like to cultivate (I’m looking at you, piano…)!

It is certainly the case that publishing one’s work allows for the building of a thick skin. Not that I have had any bad reactions or anything – quite the reverse, many people have been very kind and complementary about the images, which has been really lovely. It’s just that honouring the terms of the project means there is not usually time to waft around wondering if a piece is entirely finished. In other words, good enough is good enough. This feels extremely healthy and avoids endless introspection about whether a creation can be allowed to see the light of day. “Publish and be damned”, as they say – and very liberating it is too.

I also very much like the feeling of pushing through barriers to produce something which even vaguely resembles the idea in one’s head. My ‘Bicycles’ image to mark the start of this year’s Tour de France is an example of this – I wanted to produce an image which showed cyclists sort of emerging from the French Tricolour. I was not exactly sure how to achieve this, but I worked away at the overall notion and eventually found a solution, which was hugely pleasing. I think this might be one of my favourite images so far:

 

 

Some of my blogging friends who do not follow Instagram very kindly asked me to post some of my images. ย I am pleased to have been able to come up with a wide variety of styles and subjects. Here is a gallery of ‘edited highlights’!!

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Overall, this is such an enjoyable project to have undertaken. It really feels like I might finally be on my way to fulfilling my life-long ambition of honing a daily sketching habit. Hooray! ๐Ÿ™‚