Monday, October 19, 2009

Going for 100

This post is a bit of a non sequitur, but by posting it here I make it real, so here goes.

Something in the October issue of The Pastel Journal caught my eye - it was an article entitled 'Going for 100' by pastelist Marla Baggetta about her self-challenge to paint the same small landscape 100 times. I am focusing more on scratchboard and whiteboard these days than the pastels, but the basic concept applies regardless of your medium. It's not a new idea - on WetCanvas there are very often challenges such as '100 x in 100 days' ranging from subjects, subject groups, media, etc. People often do similar challenges without the time limit.

The reasons for such a project are many - for many animal artists it is a way to explore a range of species or breeds, giving you a framework to systematically study their differences. For some it is a way to stretch their knowledge of a particular subject - to capture it from different angles, maybe even in different media. Marla Baggetta's goal was as a practice in gesture painting. She limited herself by time and size so that each painting was spontaneous. Her rationale was that if I know I'm doing 100 versions of this same scene I will mentally relax. Some of them will be crappy, some of them will be great (refer to my previous blog entry about the paralyzing effects of worrying about perfection). Also, by using the exact same scene for all of the paintings she was able to put away worries about subject, composition, etc and focus on the subtleties of colour and value instead. This, in turn, led to taking more chances and working sometimes outside of her 'box'.

I've been intrigued by this idea for some time and it falls on my perpetual 'someday I'll do that' list. Well, fellow procrastinators out there know that particular list rarely ever gets accomplished. Unless you say you're going to do it in your blog and newsletter... then you have enough external pressure to fuel you (right? Hm, we'll see I guess).

So... I'm officially announcing my self-imposed 100 Dog Challenge. My personal goals are to explore some breeds that I may not otherwise ever 'get around to', to shift my focus away from the end product (like Marla Baggetta said - not all of these are going to be masterpieces), to loosen up with my sketching and to produce 100 dog sketches!

1) 100 dogs, any media on paper is acceptable

2) Limit to roughly 1hr/piece (ie I will try to not spend more than 1 hour on each one - this promotes the 'gesture drawing' component of this project, this is not a hard and fast rule)

3) No time limit to complete this project (between my other art commitments and full-time job I think that would be a bit too much)

4) I will only include sketches from this post onward (no cheating here :D)

5) I will post all of the sketches (even the ugly ones) here on the blog as they are completed

And to show that I'm really serious about this, here's my first sketch:

Jazz (9 x 12" graphite on paper)

This is a beautiful doggie I met at the Basalt Sunday Market. I loved the way the light caught his face as he sniffed the air. It took a bit more than an hour (closer to 1.5 hours - see, there I go breaking the rules already!). I might turn this one into a whiteboard, if I do I'll be sure to post it in a future entry.

So welcome along for my 100 dogs journey! I hope you enjoy the art - comments are always welcome!! Let's see what 100 dogs does for me, and if any of you are artistically inclined I encourage you to consider your own 'Going for 100' challenge!

And in other news...

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~ Pam


José said...


It's an awesome work, namely the realistic lighting and the dog's expression/pose.

Kind regards,


Robin said...

Boxers are among my favorite breed, you've captured his personality very well and that's the most important thing! Congrats!