A little over a week ago I decided to start a 100 day project. The goal being to paint from start to finish one small painting every day for 100 days, with the intent on refining my watercolor techniques and skills. The art will be nature themed and be a collection of small, 5×7 or smaller, studies. Pieces may include anything from flowers, birds, sealife, or bugs. If it is part of nature and the environment then it is fair game. Day one began on August 12, 2017. I am optimistic that I will be able to see the project through. However I am apprehensive on staying on track during upcoming travel and show commitments.
I usually am able to devote time to my art daily, however I am often inconsistent as to what that means. I may draw, or work on a larger painting, or I may be making working on other things that I need to get done in preparation for shows. Sometimes my art related work is spent traveling to or being at an art show. What I haven't been able to do is establish a routine of daily practice. This is why the 100 day project is important to me. It is an opportunity for me to start creating good habits, and to set aside some time to practice and study in my craft.
Here is my first week of daily painting and what I learned from each.
Day One. Dragonfly Study.
A more than one friend connects me with dragonflies. They are in my yard daily, and I find nymphs from time to time in my lily barrel. I am starting this project with a dragonfly. It is my starting point nothing more nothing less. Just the creature that I have decided to begin my journey with. I have also decided I will save this photo reference and revisit this image on day 100 just to see the difference in daily progress.
Day Two. Leaf Study.
A simple leaf. As much as I paint nature I have never taken the time to paint a leaf. Taking the time to consider the veins and the irregularity of colors. I am very happy with how this turned out. It has given me more to consider when approaching foliage in my paintings. The water drops on the leaf did trip me up a bit. Which is what inspired the following daily study.
Day Three. Water Droplets.
Since the droplets on the leaf were such a challenge I decided to turn to my sketchbook and just paint water droplets. I did a little pencil sketching as well to better understand the anatomy of a water droplet.
Day Four. Seashell Study.
I have a pretty large natural history collection. What better place to look for inspiration that all of the treasures that I collect and hold dear. I have so many seashells. This is the first I choose to reference for this project. I tried to pay special attention to cast shadow and trying to ensure that the banding on the shell properly followed its contours.
Day Five. Feather Study.
Some months ago I was blessed with a stay at a farm. As a souvenir from this adventure I collected several feathers mostly from the Guinea Fowl on the property. This was one of the feathers from that trip. The whispy edges of the feather where what I found to be the most challenging of this study.
Day Six. Butterfly Study.
I have so many butterflies. Some are preserved in glass cases. As is the one I referenced for this study. There is so much iridescence in their wings, which I attempted to capture in this one. In the end I used iridescent paints to give her the sparkle she deserved.
Day Seven. Caterpillar Study.
Shortly after posting the Butterfly I received a message in Messenger. It was a request to “Please Paint This!” With a wild looking caterpillar photo included. I really wish I would have painted this one much larger, in order to really do it justice. He still turned out really cute and my friend was tickled at the attempt.
You can follow my progress and see the pieces daily as they are finished on my Instagram. If you want to get involved I still have 93 days to go so I am open to suggestions and painting prompts to help me get through to the end.