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: my digital doodling project

It’s no secret that I am a huge believer in the power and value of creativity to enhance our lives. This can take any form – it’s simply doing something which you love and which makes your heart sing.

Q: what is creativity?

A: the relationship between a human being and the mysteries of inspiration

~ Elizabeth Gilbert, Big Magic

At the start of a workshop recently, attendees were asked to introduce themselves – you know, that initial ‘creeping death’ exercise – to include something about ourselves that we felt other people should know. I found myself saying that being creative every day was one of the most important aspects of my life, to the extent that an absence of creativity causes detriment to my health and wellbeing.

Cue a rather uncomfortable tumbleweed moment, as the other participants looked at me blankly. Admittedly, this was a somewhat unusual thing to say in the context of a business meeting about strategic planning. In fact, it even came as a surprise to me to find out that this is how I felt. And yet, as I was speaking, I could feel in my bones the compelling truth of my words.

I consider myself to be very fortunate that I have the time and mental energy to make things on a regular basis. I have written plenty of times on this blog about my knitting and crochet projects, baking escapades, photography etc. But it occurred to me that I don’t actively prioritise being creative as an essential part of how I use my time.

A couple of days ago, I was on a train to Glasgow for a meeting. Whereas I would usually be checking e-mails, ticking stuff off my to do list etc, I chose instead to make some art. I had been reading a book about the Scottish artist Charles Rennie Mackintosh over the weekend – this year marks the 150th anniversary of his birth – and decided on the spur of the moment to close the inbox and doodle some CRM-esque roses:

I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed working on this sketch, for which I used the Procreate Pocket app on my phone and a stylus. Just 30 minutes of this activity gave me a zing in my heart and a spring in my step for the rest of the day.

Developing a regular sketching habit has been on my list of ‘things I really want to achieve’ for far too long now. So I have decided to have a go at the ‘100 day project’ challenge. This is where you commit to doing something small each day for, yes, 100 days in a row. It can be absolutely anything – I have seen examples of people doing yoga, taking a photograph, publishing a favourite quote. You get the idea. In my case, I will be publishing a digital doodle on Instagram each day. Here’s the first one:

Sitting here at my desk, I can hear a wide range of different birdsong – goldfinches, great tits, chaffinches – but what stands out are the swoops of the swifts’ rasping screech – a wonderfully iconic sound at this time of year.

I wondered whether it was wise to write about this project at the start, or whether it would be better to discuss it at the end, once I could say I had actually done it. I decided that sharing the experiment as I went along might be more interesting. Who knows, in a few weeks’ time, I might be writing about how difficult it was to maintain. But let’s not be too negative. I am actually expecting to be writing about all the very positive and joyous results of finally embracing a habit which has long been my wish to develop. We’ll see! ๐Ÿ™‚