The first 43 of #the100dayproject2019 as seen at Erabellum in The Arcade at The First Saturday Art Crawl in downtown Nashville, July 2019

Why I Quit the 100 Day Project

The short version of why I quit the 100 Day Project: I got tired of working small and I ran out of time. The long version: I got halfway through but was overwhelmed and would rather move around and paint big paintings.

This time last year, I announced that I was painting 40 paintings in 40 days.

An assortment of Brad Blackman’s 40 Days of Abstracts series, standing on a white background in the studio

It was a fun project to paint 40 paintings in the 40 days leading up to my 40th birthday. And I completed all 40 paintings on time! I learned a lot about myself, showing up every day. It was a successful project. But I was exhausted! Something I quickly forgot about, five months later.

So in April 2019, I decided to participate in the 100 Day Project

The 100 Day Project is simple, just like Art Every Day Month or Inktober: you make art every day for a certain period of time. These challenges are great for getting out of a creative rut, or for making yourself do something consistent.

I discovered a few years ago that one of the best ways to do a daily artwork challenge is to have a specific theme and a small size.

I think that’s why Inktober has enjoyed such popularity and success. You end up with 31 pieces of the same medium and probably the same size. Since there is a list of prompts, you don’t have to come up with the idea for each one. The social media hashtag allows you to see how others respond to the prompts, which is fun.

But with trying to ramp up a freelance graphic design business, I ran out of energy and time to dedicate to the 100 Day Project. I got behind and resorted to my trick of attaching several canvases together to create a larger scene, thus knocking out several small paintings at once.

Days 34-42 of the 2019 100 Day Project

Days 34-42 of the 2019 100 Day Project

That was when I realized I missed painting on big canvases. Switching from a four-inch square to a twelve-inch square was exciting. I remembered how this used to be tiny. Once upon a time, I didn’t paint much of anything smaller than twice this size!

I like to paint big

I want to move when I paint.

I want to feel something when I paint.

I want to paint on giant canvases like Robert Motherwell.

Move the paint around with a broom or something.

I want to surprise people when they walk into a room with one of my paintings, and they see this huge canvas that touches their core.

The sheer number was overwhelming

Since my style is abstract, the best abstract paintings come from the heart with a very loose plan, so it’s hard to go with prompts. Abstracts are best when improvised and then adjusted to fit concepts of design and color theory. And trying to plan a hundred paintings when your best way of painting involves minimal planning is hard.

The next time I do a challenge, I’m likely to do something else

Next time, I’ll probably just make a point to simply show up in the studio each day at a certain time. Maybe I’ll go live on Facebook or something. (Would you tune in to that? Let me know in the comments.) I want to take the pressure off myself to produce a finished product each day. It’s enough to show up in the studio daily.

The funny thing is, I’ve said this before. I made my daily painting project just about painting every day and not completing something every day. Life keeps teaching me the same lessons over and over again!

What’s a lesson you’ve had to learn several times?

I imagine you’ve had to re-learn a few lessons along the way. What’s something you’ve had to learn more than once?