It’s A Wrap: My 365 Experience

Originally posted March 1, 2013

Sketchbooks and Journals from a 365 project

    Innovation.  Perserverance.  Emerging.  Discovery.  Finding My Voice.  Getting It Done.

Just a small sample of the words and phrases I have used over this past year in creating my 365 project.  I now have 3 sketchbooks and 2 journals brimming with drawings, paintings, and ideas that were fueled by the experiences of this year and I can’t wait to share them with you!

But let me backpedal just a little to how it began.  One year ago today, March 1st, I armed myself with a sketchbook and a journal (which I had just received from a good friend for my 40th birthday) and devised a 365 project after hearing about the concept from a blog post on Etsy.  I developed a few perimeters for myself: I would choose a word or phrase that seemed relevant to me that day, create something in my sketchbook, and then journal about it.

At that time in my life I was producing very little artwork.  I had only just started consulting with my mentor and coach, Kelly, about a dream that I had to convert the kid’s playroom into a studio and begin to build a business based on my art.  I was feeling overwhelmed and a little scared, but I knew that as a foundation I had to start making art again.  And this seemed like a good way to start

365 Sketch- Ebb and Flow- Dawn Petrill
4/16/12 Ebb and Flow from 365 Sketchbook

If there is any one title I could give to the experience of constructing my 365 Project it would be this: Ebb And Flow.  Some days I felt inspired and invigorated and other days- well, I didn’t.  I learned early on that I couldn’t try to make every single drawing or painting a masterpiece.  It just wasn’t feasible and realistic.  What kept me going was my determination and commitment to see the project through.  If I had stopped after a failed drawing then my project would have ended a week after it began!

Some days I would create an inspired drawing:

God Knows Well from 365 sketchbook
11/6/12 God Knows Well
                What I Would Do If Given the Chance from 365 Sketchbook
1/20/13 What I Would Do
If Given The Chance
Free Thoughts from 365 Sketchbook
6/11/12 Free Thoughts

and inspired writing: 

11/6/12- God Knows Well.  I was reading the passage in the bible about Adam and Eve.  How Eve was talking to the Serpent and he was convincing her to eat the fruit of the forbidden Tree of Knowledge.  The phrase that the serpent used which stuck out to me was “God knows well” (Gen. 3:5 “God knows well that when you eat of it your eyes will be opened and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.”)  This made me realize how we get so caught up in our own world but have such little understanding of it all.  God penetrates through our walls and sees everything in it’s entirety.  My drawing was an attempt to recreate what we know of ourselves, what we know of God, and the immensity of God.  I could never do it justice but there it is!

1/20/13- What I Would Do If Given the Chance.  The drawing started off entitled Busy.  The black was the frustration I was feeling of having so much to do and not getting anything done.  But as I was drawing it slowly changed into What I Would Say If Given the Chance because I feel like there is so much bottled up inside of me and this drawing was coming through from the subconscious part of me.

6/11/12- Free Thoughts.  Today’s drawing is a diagram of sorts from what I was feeling.  The kids have been out of school for a week and a half and I’m just craving some time to myself.  I have a spare 15 min. to do this while the kids are occupied and N’s aide hasn’t arrived yet- so I’ve shut the door to my studio and let my feelings wash over me.  My shoulder muscles are actually throbbing!  This was the picture in my mind of a heavy, twisted tunnel.  The yellow in the middle are my thoughts being squeezed through.  But once in awhile there is a break and my thoughts are allowed to be free in the space above- where unhindered time floats free.  I wish I could decribe my feelings better but I have only a few minutes to take a few deep breaths and then rejoin the world again!

Other days I would do it just to do it:

It's Done- Now Celebrate! from 365 Sketchbook
12/7/12 It’s Done, Now Celebrate!– A cheerful yet uninspired page from my 365 Sketchbook

Some days I was happy:

It's Friday!- from 365 sketchbook
5/18/12 It’s Friday!
Getting My Groove Back from 365 Sketchbook
3/20/12 Getting My Groove Back
So Excited To Be Here!- from 365 project
2/3/13  So Excited To Be Here!

2/3/13  So Excited To Be Here!  We just got back from a weekend away to see S’s family and the entire time I was thinking of my studio and my art.  When I carried our luggage in I stopped at my studio door for a brief second and just  breathed it in.  I love being here!  I love doing this- all of this. (arms outstretched)  I’m so excited to be here!

There’s a lot of great elements in my drawing.  Not sure if it’s cohesive yet but a lot to work with.  It goes with how I’m feeling- I’m full of potential and just need the time and perserverance to get it all out!

Other days, not so much!:

Feeling Drained- from 365 sketchbook
2/25/13 Feeling Drained
I'm Spent!- from 365 sketchbook
6/28/12 I’m Spent!
Being Sick Is Not So Fun- from 365 sketchbook
12/22/12 Being Sick Is Not So Fun

Some days I was inspired by music:  (see this blog post for more examples)

Singing The Soggy Bottom Blues- from 365 sketchbook
5/11 Singing The Soggy Bottom Blues

And sometimes I was downright silly!:

Onward- from 365 sketchbook
10/15/12 Onward
Painting With The Girls- from 365 sketchbook
10/5 Painting With The Girls
Por Que?- from 365 sketchbook
4/26/12 Por Que?

4/26/12 Por Que?- Why?  Not sure what the image and thoughts have to do with each other today.  I was thinking about the famer’s market coming this summer and a picture of a chicken popped in my head.  I’ve also been influcenced by many hispanic themes lately with all the great Mexican food I ate during my trip to Chicago, the Latin American art that I saw there, and a great book I’m currently reading, The War of Don Emmanuel’s Nether Parts by Louis De Bernieres.  So this drawing is the culmination of all those disjointed thoughts!

So what’s next? 


A theme I’ve been hearing constantly is to just keep going.  I recently heard an interview with Dan Pink, business guru and bestselling author, who recommended that you show up every day with morter and bricks.  Some days you’ll only lay a few bricks and some days the morter won’t set right.  But if you show up every day the wall will eventually get built.

Therefore I think I should keep going with this project.  Shouldn’t I?  But my year is up.  I have built the wall.  Or have I?

My solution is to no longer call it my 365 project and allow it to become my daily sketchbook and daily journal.  I hope to continue them for a long, long time and let it develop into whatever it wants to become.  I have a vision of a long row of sketchbooks lining a 16 ft. shelf up above the south-facing windows in my studio.  It could happen!  If I’ve learned anything through the experience of my 365 project it’s this: that I have the strength and determination to do just about anything I set my mind to do! The hard part is in the doing, not just in the thinking.

How about you?  Have you ever dreamed about doing a 365 project?  What would it be?  I’d love to hear your ideas and cheer you on.  If I could do it so can you!

Art Studio- Dawn Petrill
My studio is slowly coming together.  Here it is in a flurry of messy activity during this my Studio Week.  Stay tuned in the next couple of weeks for a studio tour!

Have A Fantastic Week!

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