This year I decided to participate in the 100 Days Project, a free, global project, hosted online where people do one creative act every day for 100 days. You can learn more about it on their website and see what other people are doing by searching under #the100dayproject.
It seemed like a big commitment and I have plenty of other things going on. From the project start date, on April 3, until mid-May, I won’t even be at home. I knew I needed a project I could bring with me and that would interest me enough to want to do.
I’m still not really sure if I’m going to succeed. I’ve tried daily projects before, and not made too much success. But I had an idea and I wanted to give it a try.
I’ve tried daily projects before, and they never really worked for me. A couple of years ago I was doing a sketch a day from my surroundings. I did for a little over a month and I felt like the practice ended up drained my energy, and that the work I was making ended up worse for the daily push. With that project, it made more sense to ruminate on my surroundings and draw when I got inspired then to have to search out something to draw every day.
Many people do daily sketching projects to great effect and make beautiful work, but I learned that just wasn’t for me. However, I did want to take another stab at a daily project. I like the idea of participating in an online art community. I like watching other people’s projects develop. I also like the idea of trying to do something similar but slightly different, variations on a theme, of pushing through the boredom and seeing what comes out the other side. So I sat and thought about what a good project would be.
My daily project: 100 Glacier Cyanotypes
Last winter (2017) I got pretty into the process of making cyanotypes from my drawings. I blogged about it so you can read back to learn more about my inspiration and process. Since last winter I’ve wanted to try this process with the subject of glaciers. The glacial landscape plays a big role in my life. I met my partner on a glacier, I spent a couple of summers guiding hikers on the Root Glacier in the Kennicott Valley, McCarthy and Kennicott are surrounded by glaciers and every day I look out my cabin window to a big glacial river. I’ve spent time skiing and climbing on glaciers, covered with snow, and bare ice. Last summer I did an artist residency in Prince William Sound where I spent time with tidewater glaciers. I also worked with the Juneau Icefield Research Program where I spen time with others studying glaciers. I worked with another artist Hannah Perrine Mode who also makes cyanotypes and makes work about glaciers and seeing her work further fueled my fire. You should check out Hannah’s work too while you are at it! She is finishing up her MFA thesis right now.
Anyway, I decided I had enough glacial inspiration in my life to create 100 pieces of art. Having a theme like this also saves me the energy of deciding what to draw every day, which was the hardest part of my previous attempts with daily projects.
A collection of the drawings that I use to make cyanotypes from
I started on April 3rd. Each day I create a drawing, working mostly from my photos. I draw with a permanent sharpie pen on transparent vellum. Each drawing is 4.5 x 6” but sometimes I cut part of it out. Then when it is sunny, and when I have time, I make cyanotype prints with the drawings. Cyanotype prints or sun prints expose with UV light, and I use the sun as my light source. The ink blocks the sunlight and leaves a lighter place on the paper. Where there is no ink the paper turns blue. My drawings are negatives and since glaciers are white and light blue (usually) I get to draw the ice, which has been very satisfying.
I plan to write another post soon about some of the drawings and prints themselves, talking about glaciers, and the places I’ve gotten to explore. So far I’ve only touched the tip of the iceberg with my photos. I’ve been traveling through my drawings to Prince William Sound and the St. Elias Mountains. I just started a series from the Kennicott Valley and the Root Glacier. I’ve been enjoying it a lot so far, so I’m excited to keep at it and see how it develops.
Have you tried or wanted to try doing a daily project? What did you think?
The first batch of cyanotype prints
I wrote this post a while ago, when I was working on a mural in Nondalton, and I haven't gotten to post it because I was so busy with that project. After leaving Nondalton I went down to Seward to go on a short backpacking trip with my dog. I got back to the trailhead to discover that my car was broken into and a bunch of my things stolen, including all of my 100 Day Project. I posted about it on Facebook and Instagram in hopes that maybe someone might come across my work somewhere, but probably it's in the trash. Anyway, I'm taking a short break, not really because I want to, but mostly for practical reasons. I lost the supplies I was using and wasn't able to find them in Anchorage, so I need to order them online and that takes a while. I really enjoyed the start of this project, so I'm going to continue it and make 100 Glacier Cyanotypes somehow, just maybe not for 100 days in a row as planned.
Also big thank you to the Seward community and others who shared my post on Facebook, to people who looked for my stuff, and the person who found my Avi backpack and turned it into the Troopers. Lots of people have sent sympathy and it all helps me feel better about this event which never should happen, but unfortunately happens to lots of people.
Finally, if you were enjoying my travel sketchbook series I'm still going to finish it! I just needed to take a break and add some fresh content. Up next, I'm going to write about the awesome mural the Nondalton students made with me.
Some photos of my process: Making a drawing, exposing it on cyanotype paper, rinsing the paper and letting it dry.