“By painting each day for 100 days I hope to learn about that which exists off the beaten path, to learn about seeing, to learn about myself.”
This is the statement I shared at the beginning of this 100-day challenge.
So that leaves me asking myself the question: What did I learn?
Certainly I learned about mixing colors and making brush strokes and preparing 100 gessoed boards. Loosening brushwork and pushing colors beyond reality was almost necessary after awhile. Painting trees purple or skies yellow was less a risk than an allowing of something that was natural to me.
I learned to look for color, beauty and interest where my intellect said there were none. And most often I found what I was looking for.
Mostly I learned about myself.
Setting challenging goals is important for my – or anyone’s – personal growth.
I believe now that achieving them is maybe not so necessary. The triumph, at least for me, was in the honest attempt. Dealing with inconvenient time frames, the anxiety of showing up constantly, the emotional roller coaster of delight and disaster (sometimes within minutes of each other) and deepening faith in oneself despite looming doubt is the true hard work of what Mavis and I chose to do.
I learned to know when I’m licked, and to allow myself a rest. I learned to take what I do seriously, but not to take myself too seriously. I learned that I’m a pretty good painter.
We did it! And, as Mavis suggested to me, I’ll let out a yelp of triumph and allow myself a dance across the room.
Lessons Learned – 100 Days Off the Highway.
I started this project with the intention of using my daily paintings to sharpen my painting skills by doing 50 watercolor paintings and 50 oil paintings on a particular theme.
If this was all the benefit I received from the past several months, it would have been what I was expecting. But, of course, there was a lot more.
Beyond the technical skills any person can develop by daily practice, I came to realize the importance of personal skills like teamwork, commitment, and sheer stick-to-it-ive-ness. We all give lip-service to these things, but it wasn’t until I was in a situation where I had to rely on them that I experienced how they worked.
A further benefit is that I now have a body of artwork, some of which has been on exhibition, and some of which has been sold.
Perhaps the greatest benefit for me is my deepening awareness of my own working methods, honed with my art-partner Patricia, in our constant exchange of ideas, comments, criticism, whining, coaxing and coaching. It may be that we each could have completed a project like this on our own. But I know that I learned a lot more about myself and my artwork simply because I stayed with the project and completed what I set out to do.
Thank you for staying with us along the way!