100 Days 100 Paintings
In the beginning of July (2010) I embarked upon a project that has literally changed my habits, relationships, use of time, and confidence in myself as a painter.
Right now, one of the worst tragedies resulting from our habit of manufacturing throwaway products is the mess on the beaches and in the oceans created by millions and millions of discarded plastic drinking water bottles.
I decided I was ticked off about how I have to practically climb over all the plastic trash when I go for walks on my favorite beach. I mulled and stewed about what I, a single little entity on the face of the planet, could do to help alleviate the problem and even help create a solution.
I finally decided to commit to painting 100 paintings in 100 days (business days), and put them up for sale for $100 each to raise awareness and money for the cleanup of the planetary mess.
And since I really don’t like working small, I chose to do 9″ x 12″ paintings, instead of the usual 4″ x 6″ most of the people I’ve seen doing 100-day projects like this do. Turns out it’s perfect, because if it got any smaller I’d tear my hair out.
Yes, $100 is about one-tenth of what I’d normally get for a painting this size, but it’s also enormously freeing – I feel like I can play with the work more than if it was trying to be some precious expensive MasterPiece.
I had to ask myself in the very beginning, before I set up a single thing: is this venture something I’d hate doing by the 25th painting? Would it seem more like a job than fun? Would I be able to do what I committed to do? How did my Deep Self, my Souul, feel about it?
I had to laugh, because…
…it was a Go on all levels, and felt really fantastic. Now, 27 paintings along, I still feel great about it, and am loving it all.
I’m very tired by Fridays, and it’s been way more work than I thought it would be, but all the things I’m discovering and the peaople I’m meeting make it all very worth while.
NEVER WORKED IN ACRYLICS BEFORE
Keep in mind I usually paint in oils. But since people are ordering these paintings right after they’re done and I can’t do the requisite 6-month curing time for the paint to dry, I chose to do them in acrylics – with which I have never worked before. Talk about a learning curve.
COMING OUT OF MY HERMIT CAVE
I’m a pretty hermitous person, so I gave a lot of thought as to how I could do the get-the-word-out part without losing my sanity – too much ‘out in public’ time wears me out and makes me cranky for days.
It was a real stretch to think about doing any of the speaking or hobbing and nobbing most activists seem to do. So I figured I’d go for simplicity and see what happens.
At first when I thought this project up, I thought I’d better write a biz plan, a marketing plan – the whole nine yards. But since I just don’t think that way and it made me feel kind of sick to do so, I decided to just jump in feet first and let my passion for painting, clean oceans, waterways and beaches rock me and lead me where it would.
I discovered that that was OK, because my experience using the systems, technology and principles I’ve learned over the past few years marketing both online and off as an author, coach and radio show host have come in really handy.
The painting takes up only about one-third of my time. The rest is writing articles, posting to FB, Twitter, my art-store websites and keeping up with the chronicle I’m creating. To be honest, I never knew marketing could be so much fun!
I thought of creating a static web site with sales page and all that, and it just didn’t feel right, the way that biz plan didn’t.
So the first thing I did was create a Facebook Fan page and posted my intent, along with the first couple of paintings. I’m not at all a Facebook whiz, so it’s been another learning curve, but it isn’t that hard.
In only a few days I was delighted to see a lot of people coming aboard and telling their friends about it. I do about an hour every other day of ‘friending’ people on my regular FB page, then invite them to come to my fan page and hit the ‘like’ button.
Sounds like crazy work, but it’s gotten me more exposure to a more diverse group of people than a single website ever would to start off with.
I’m also finding that, through the principle of 6-degress-of-separation, some really amazing people are coming aboard – even one of the most respected senators from my state. Add to that friends of friends of friends from my local area who I never knew – newspaper reporters, musicians, politicians, surfers, woowoo people – you name it. Not to mention people from all over the world who have similar interests – it’s incredible.
I love how systems make things easy, so as I first began this work, I watched myself as I went through the steps each day, and refined the pattern so I could do it faster. My routine keeps things easy – paint in the mornings while it’s still cool (I live in Hawaii), and in the afternoon I scan the painting, tweak it, and make 3 different .jpg versions for the various sites I post on (Facebook, Twitter, FineArtAmerica, Cafepress and Etsy).
Then I write my keywords out, and a little writeup about where the idea came from or what the painting means to me. I make sure to save it in the same folder as the individual painting’s jpgs.
Now I can upload the various jpgs and the writeups to one after the other of the sites, send out tweets, add a post to my blog, and finally, add the day’s entry in the chronicle I’m keeping.
OTHERS WORKING FOR YOU….
I found a fantastic site where I get people to do research – for 5 bucks! – because I just don’t have time to do it. I post their results in articles on my blog. It’s a great source for cheap but good help of all different kinds, from the mundane to the bizarre: http://FiveRR.com
I didn’t know, stepping into it, how very much work it would be – I thought paint, upload to FB. Simple, right? But then I kept thinking of more ways to get the word out, and now I do quick posts to about 5 or 6 different sites every day.
It’s been educational and elevating all the same. I’m becoming an even better painter than I ever dreamed I would, and I’m also getting very familiar with WordPress, Facebook, Twitter, FineArtAmerica, Cafepress and Etsy.
And am certainly finding out some pretty shocking facts about our rampant consumerism.
Like: we the people of the USA throw away 85 MILLION plastic drinking water bottles – every DAY!
Ouch. I can’t even imagine that many things, much less that many every day, and much less throwing them out. Where do they all go? What happens to them? (Curious? Watch this cool little video and be surprised:
I also discovered that I’m not an against-ist – I’m not against plastic drinking water bottles – I’m for reducing the need for and consumption of them, and for the creative and responsible use the ones already extant.
And I’m for the creative and responsible use, recycling and disposal of the waste we have already created.
This is an important distinction, because I have found that when you fight something, you perpetuate it. But if you bypass hatred, shame, blame and resentment and ask ‘what is something that has never been done before, how can I open to new possibilities,’ you create the space for something new and wonderful.
I didn’t want to become a ranting hate-monger putting plastic bottles down and frowning all day, so this attitude works great for me – and doesn’t alienate people who might otherwise have been allies.
It’s been great doing a painting every day – I never know what I’m going to choose to do each day, or what style I’ll do it in. Yesterday I completely surprised myself by doing a cartoon, and a couple of days ago I painted a cactus – as someone who usually paints on the more mythical side of things, cacti were not something I ever thought I’d paint. I’m so pleased with how it came out I could pop – I’m not usually a realistic painter, but this one took the cake. It looks exactly like the plant I drew it from right down to the dot.
It suddenly struck me a few days after I started the actual work that I needed to find sponsors – duh! So I’ve been in chats with various companies and organizations to get funded so I can do all this – the project takes up the time I’d usually spend with coaching clients, so I need to replace my usual income.
Several people have come out of the blue and have been really helpful with really amazing ideas and suggestions – I’ve been amazed about what they were willing to do.
One guy, who works at http://message-broadcaster.com (who I met through FiveRR.com), gave me 100 days of tweeting my site to his list of over 90,000 people instead of only the 4 weeks in his ad so it would go with the 100 days, 100 paintings, 100 bucks theme – how nice is that?
5 SOLD ALREADY!
Out of the 27 paintings I have so far created, I’ve sold 25% of them already (Woohoo! Even one to my brother!). I donate a percentage of sales, so I have been able to make some nice little donations to my favorite action-taker company, The Story of Stuff. They produce the most interesting, engaging and entertaining videos that help people find out what’s going on, and offer real solutions and alternatives.
The best thing has been being totally able to live inside my passion, skills and talents, doing what I want, when I want. Now I feel way more comfortable talking to people with all the passion and intent I feel – without anyone backing away shaking their heads thinking I’m ‘too much’, obnoxious or insane. That’s what used to happen to me, but not anymore.
Some of the paintings I don’t much like, some I do, and some I just really love. I’ve played with color and black and white; smooth strokes, rough strokes, small and big strokes; thin paint and thick paint; smooth art board and rough canvas – I’m having a ball.
I recommend the exercise of 100 works – and especially doing it in conjunction with a Cause of some kind – it feels really great to be able to give some of the earnings to people who are doing the right things. You don’t have to worry about legalities or being a spokesperson or partner to any organization – all you have to do is paint, collect the dough and give part of it away. As I said before, I’m going for the simple way, and this is what works for me.
I hope you’ll try it, too, even if just for the freedom of allowing yourself to paint something utterly different every day.
RESOURCES & SITES:
Here’s where you can see the various sites I’m talking about:
REGULAR FACEBOOK PAGE:
Where I started out with a personal page. http://bit.ly/Lyon-FB-page (Don’t be confused – it’s under the name of my radio show, I Dare You Radio, the home of which is at http://IDareYouRadio.com.)
FACEBOOK FAN PAGE:
This is the fan page I told you about. I use one because I can eventually have way more ‘friends’ than the 5000 on a regular page. Here: http://bit.ly/100-100-100
This is actually a pretty cool site. At first I was put off because it was so craft-oriented, but they have all sorts of stuff on there, including fine arts.
They also have a very good newsletter that helps you with photography, marketing, and other things you need to know about to sell your work. It’s cheap, too. http://Etsy.com/AngelaTreatLyon
FineArtAmerica.com is a print-on-demand site. You upload your images, and people can go there and buy your images as prints on paper – framed or not – and on canvas, and as greeting cards. It’s 30 bucks a year.
You get your own website, too, that you can modify to look the way you want, including header. http://AngelaTreat-Lyon.ArtistWebsites.com
I have used Cafepress for about 9 years now. It’s another print-on-demand site, but this time for merchandise like mousey pads, journals, bags, shirts, hats – you name it. I stay away from cloth printing, though, and just go for the journals, mousey pads and other hard stuff. http://CafePress.com/AngelaTreatLyon
And yes, I can be very, very silly, which is why I call them mousey pads.
I use a WordPress foundation with a theme I bought. It’s almost stupid-easy to post in it.
This is a fantastic site where you can take those huge long links and shorten them into little ones that won’t get broken in emails. The best thing is that you can track how many people click on each link to see which ones work best and where. I track each link I put on Twitter to see what people click on. http://Bit.ly (no .com)
This is where you can outsource stuff you don’t have time for or don’t know how to do for five bucks at a time. Don’t laugh – there’s some good stuff there! FiveRR.com
FineArtViews has some of the best articles on art and marketing I’ve seen. They have new stuff every day. I love their Canvoo article links, too. FineArtViews.com
I hope you have enjoyed reading about my adventure, and that you will seriously and funly consider what you could do that would fit your soul’s fulfillment needs, and do something that will help the planet and fill your heart at the same time.
IMAGE: Moonlight Dreams, 9″ x 12″ acrylics on canvas, © Angela Treat Lyon 2010, all rights reserved internationally.
It’s sold! Don’t be disappointed you didn’t get the original – you can get a really high quality, good-color print of it here in various sizes and on paper or canvas: http://bit.ly/Blue-Moon-Dreams-Prints, or get a mousey-pad of Moonlight here: http://bit.ly/Blue-Moon-Dreams-MP