The First 50 Days

I realised early on in the 100 day project that doing a post everyday was a little ambitious!

I have been working in an A5 sketchbook and posting everyday on Instagram Stories then sharing to Highlights so you can follow my progress without having your feed clogged up!

I thought I would update you on my first 50 days of storytelling and where it has taken me.

Days 1-4

The first few days of the project were spent trying to get a clear idea in my head about exactly what I wanted to accomplish during the 100 days. I looked at my intentions and thought a little about what I thought about which areas of storytelling I wanted to delve into.

Days 5-14

My original idea for the 100 days was to create 100 paintings on 10x10cm wooden squares. After a difficult start to the year, I decided to downsize that to give myself time to recover and spent 10 days planning elements of a walk along the coast to Dunstanburgh castle. They are not yet finished, I couldn’t quite pull them into what I had in my head so I decided that giving them a few days to breathe might help (by which I obviously mean I tucked them away so I didn’t have to think about being stuck on them!).

Day 15-25

I decided to spend time reviewing my past work and look at which aspects of storytelling were working and where I had missed the mark. Little did I know that having a break from the panels would turn the project into something so helpful and teach me so much about my work.

As I have said, my work is based on my own experiences in nature and the stories are an important part of that. I realised I was not making the most of this and not communicating it very well.

I thought about storytelling in landscapes, about the story that is visible and how to communicate that more effectively and about the personal story which is not clear. The connectivity of figures within each piece, the colours I had used and how photographing my work with props and videos tell more about my story and therefore my work.

Day 26-27

Looking at my work, physically writing down the narrative I was trying to communicate then seeing how effective I had been was incredibly helpful. I made me realise that writing down the story of each piece before I begin would help keep my intentions clear in my mind and help my make conscious decisions in each piece.

Day 28

I looked at an article by Lisa Hassel for Digital Arts online which was really interesting.

Technical advice on things like composition and perspective and keeping a clear idea of concept to keep the narrative on track, she has some great advice.

Day 29

I had a look at mark making and how it can be used to make your story clearer.

Day 30 -37

Having realised how helpful writing a description of what I experienced was, I tried painting a picture in my sketchbook then writing about what had happened. It felt almost like a diary or journal, with the images there to remind me of what I felt.

Day 38-44

It was interesting to look through Instagram and notice other artists who utilise storytelling in their work. I am really drawn to how people use titles as an extra level of communication. Some people have a real talent for names!

I also looked at working in ranges and painted a few more seascapes I had visited.

Day 45-46

As I had realised that writing was helping, I had a look online at the on how to tell a story when writing and found a number of essential 5 elements of storytelling.

The first 5 elements were; Characters, Setting, The Plot, Conflict and Resolution. The first 3 seem to make sense but then conflict and resolution did not seem to make sense, other than as part of the process of creating. I felt like these did not apply to my work so I had a further look and found 5 which were slightly more relevant to my art; Premise, Plot, Character, Prose and Theme.

Day 47-50

I finished the first 50 days with a another painting and another couple of artists I admire.

The project has not been what I thought it would be at all.

It has been much better and I have learnt a huge amount about my work and which direction I want to move it in.

For the next 50, I plan on working on the wooden squares to create blocks of 9 following a process of; write a story, highlight 9 elements of that story in small and large scale then paint and draw on the blocks.

Jo x

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