watercolor painting

The End of the 100 Day Project and Days 91-100

Wow! I can't believe I'm finally done with the 100 Day Project! Sure, it was supposed to take place in 100 consecutive days, sure it was supposed to be completed by 2015, but who cares?! Even if it took me 278 days, I made 100 pieces of art based on Brian Eno's deck of cards, Oblique Strategies. I am feeling good today.

Regarding daily art projects, it can be difficult to get work done everyday.  Whether other freelance work to do: packing orders, painting orders or being stumped by the card, I found myself not staying super consistent with the project. Perfectionism also got in the way. Still, I was determined. 

I really liked straying from my usual materials when I did (embroidery, collage, weaving), but those tended to take more time so I couldn't do that frequently. I actually thought I would push myself more with size and that kind of thing, but with the decision to sell everything for $20 each AND with my other freelance work, there is just only so much time in the day so a lot of these pieces are on the small side. 

Some things I have found with what I made:

  • Blue - I really love using blue. Maybe it's my love of the ocean, the sky...I don't know, but I do like it. 
  • The natural world - I love painting nature. Whether space, water, plants, I love it all.
  • Humor - I really like a little humor and wit in my art. I actually didn't learn this until 2012 at my solo show at Seeing Things Gallery.
  • Mystery and Experiments - when I made a sudden decision to add a crazy color or cover something or run the art under faucet water, awesome things happened.
  • Style - I think my style evolved with the 100 Day Project. 
  • My - The work from this project felt like it was 100% me: from my experience, knowledge, memories and passions. 

The Future:

  • Books - I feel like I am ready to continue working on my book proposals now that I am clear on how I would like to illustrate them
  • Big - I am looking forward to bigger illustration projects, bigger paintings and installations after working so small
  • Ideas - The way ideas formed from this project blew my mind. The mental process of getting to something requires a mixture of stepping away to do something completely different and just sitting and plugging away at it until something happens. 
  • Change - I foresee a year of unexpected and magical new things

Please stop by Seeing Things Gallery on February 6th to see the last 20 drawings and any available 100 Day art. All will be for sale for that same fun $20 each price. 

And these are the last 10...


Day 91 Accept Advice

I asked Bryan to tell me what to paint and he said, "Paint about how you thought Interstellar would be and then paint how you felt about it after." At first I didn't want to do it, but then I thought it would be a good challenge. I wanted to paint on Color-Aid paper, a material I have used a few times in this project. As you can see, I thought it might be 'garbage in space', but then felt it was more like 'silly confusion in space.' Yes, I used a vintage Spirograph.


Day 92 What would your closest friend do?

Day 92 What would your.jpg

My sister would stay at home in her slippers and save money so she can travel the world. 


Day 93 Is there something missing?

Day 93 Is there something.jpg

I have been frustrated with the real estate market for my friends and family. It's insane in the Bay Area right now. It feels like unless one or both heads of household work in tech or you bought years and years ago, good luck getting a house in this area. There are waiting lines and bids for homes in places you wouldn't think would be competitive. It's nuts. 

I proposed that the community above has a community garden, basketball court and park. Each home has a full basement, clawfoot tub and porch. Each home would be $1,200 a month with options to buy. 


Day 94 Distorting Time

This one is pretty self-explanatory:)


Day 95 Use 'unqualified' people

I asked my non-artist dad and brother to name a color and a country. My dad said blue and my brother said Republic of Congo. 


Day 96 Ask people to work against their better judgement

I have been thinking a lot lately about how we all need to push ourselves more and do things we are afraid of. You can stand on a cliff and look at the view or you can dive in.


Day 97 How would you have done it?

I got a terrible flu last week and although I was able to break the fever in 24 hours, I did have a lingering cough and lethargy for days after. On this Sunday, I felt like a blob on a couch all day, watching movies and documentaries.


Day 98 Go to an extreme, move back to a more comfortable place

Of course this was painted on a very wet day in San Jose. A-Frames are something I paint frequently so its symbol of comfort has double meaning here. 


Day 99 In total darkness or in a very large room, very quietly

Another one relating to darkness, but in a different way. I painted this portrait in complete darkness on a 15 minute timer. I used one brush. I would dip it into the paint or onto the palette and test it on my fingers to feel if I picked up enough paint. I used my fingers to sort of pinpoint where the shapes were going in relation the edges. Such a fun experiment!

It's funny, throughout this project I did scratch some of the art and start over that day. I would feel like it wasn't good enough. I feel like I would have never shared a painting like this one before since it's so crude. It felt like no big deal when I did. 


Day 100 What wouldn't you do?

Day 100 What wouldnt.JPG

And the last one! I thought about this one for a little bit. I wanted it to be amazing or the best one or whatever, but as I brainstormed it I just wanted to convey the achievement I felt. At first I thought of painting a trophy, but that wasn't quite right. I then came up with this, which I think works perfectly. 

New Painting: Dinner Party

Lately, I have been working on a new gouache dinner party painting. It's for an art show with the theme of food and love at Studios on the Park in Paso Robles. Since I love food, I had plenty of ideas for the show. The one idea I knew I was going to carry out was a dinner party viewed from above. I equate food and love with cooking and eating with those dear to me. I wanted the painting to feel personal, yet relatable to others. The final painting combines two memorable meals: a dinner party I hosted with 7 others and a spontaneous dinner in Cadiz, Spain. I'll explain in further detail, but let's start at the beginning. 

I knew I wanted the table to take up the whole composition. I knew I wanted a table runner so I added that early. After I had some of the bowls and plates drawn in, I photographed some models (myself and Bryan) to get the hand gestures right. 

Bryan modeling. He was so ready and willing!

Bryan modeling. He was so ready and willing!

Bryan made a great model. I shot him from above my home work area. You can see I was antsy to lay down some paint, so I started painting in the wood salad bowl and servers.  

Using myself as a hand model.

Using myself as a hand model.

I had a lot of figuring out to do. After I realized I wanted to reflect a specific dinner party with myself and 7 friends (4 couples) I had to include 8 people eating at the table (4 women, 4 men). Painting a dinner party created some challenges. Had dinner started already? Were they on the first, second helping? What is each person doing? Eating, drinking, pouring, serving, slicing. I had to create a little scenario for each person at the table. The initial sketch took a little time to plan out. It wasn't highly detailed, but I did have to lay in the hand positions, plates and bowls. 

I was again antsy to get some details in so I started working on the food. I decided to darken the wood grain so the table runner and other details would stand out. You can see here how I taped the watercolor paper to a scrappy piece of foam core. I often write notes in the tape. I noted whether they were male or female and what might be on their plates. I also had to think of where their knives and forks were: resting on their plate, in their hand, etc. 

Here you can see I removed the napkins next to the plates that I had in the initial sketch. As I worked, I realized if they were eating dinner, the napkins would be on their laps. I really wanted to show the napkins because I thought the rectangular shape next to the plate would make it more interesting, but I did want to keep it realistic so they were left out. 

Plaza Mentidero locals

Plaza Mentidero locals

I mentioned the two memorable meals that inspired this painting. The dinner party I had at my house with seven good friends (more than a friend Bryan, Anabella, Cortez, Nate, Lucia, Dave and Misa) and a meal in Cádiz, Spain. In Spain, between my apartment and art studio was La Plaza del Mentidero. Although Cádiz has many plazas, this one was really special to me since not only was it convenient, but the restaurant owners quickly began to know me as I popped in for tapas or walked by and said hello. Two particular restaurants were my favorite: Mmmm! and La Mentirosa. They were across the plaza from one another and the cooks and owners were good friends. One night when I was at Mmmm! (often called Silvio's, since he was the owner), the cooks and servers came over with a pan of fish and potatoes. I was sitting by myself in the corner and they made me come over and join them. They were such a generous group, so welcoming and kind even though I had only been there for a month. 

Here is my version of the pan of fish and potatoes, to reflect the meal in Cádiz. I love the way the fish came out with the tail hanging off the plate, simple lines to shape it and the shadow. It is my favorite way to paint: intuitively and without thinking, diving in and doing what feels right. I used some cross hatching, a technique I have not used for awhile.

When I'm not working in my studio, I paint at home. When I paint at home, my cat Oscar inevitably walks across my paintings. 

The final dinner party painting. 

The final dinner party painting. 

You can see the different personalities and appetites here. For example, the woman at the lower left corner is a vegetarian. I wanted it to feel somewhere between the first serving and second and the fish just came off the grill. Everyone either has their mouth full or they are talking and laughing. 

I still have other food painting ideas. Like the time a group of friends and I hiked up to Mission Peak on a full moon and picnicked at the top. Or when my dad makes arroz con pollo or gallo pinto. Or when my mom would make tea and snacks for us in the garage on rainy days when we were kids. 

What's a memorable food experience you've had? I'd love to hear about it in the comments below.