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About Artist,  Art Tip,  Artwork,  Life

100 Day Project 2020 Reflection

If you’re a follower of my social media, you probably already know that I recently finished the 100 Day Project.  The 100 Day Project is a challenge hosted mainly on Instagram where different creators pick their own project and rules and then spend 100 days completing the project. 

This year was the second year that I’ve participated in the challenge.  Last year for the project I did 100 days of at least 30 mins in the studio.  This encouraged me to spend at least a little time in the studio each day.  It was a great challenge because sometimes when life is busy, I like to convince myself that I don’t have enough time to create.  The project was eye-opening to the amount that can get done in a short amount of time and it also got me into a good routine of making time for creativity every day.  It resulted in so many beautiful works of art!

Below are the links to the blog posts sharing more about the process and the artworks that were completed during the project. 

Recap of Days 1-25
Recap of Days 26-50
Recap of Days 51-75
Recap of Days 76-100

This year for the 100 Day Project challenge I chose 100 days of being present via video on social media.  The idea of doing anything on video kind of terrified me, so I thought it would be a good challenge to expand my comfort zone.  When the pandemic hit, the project ended up adapting to the circumstances.  I had originally planned on all sorts of fun fieldtrips – visiting nature sights, art show openings, gallery visits – but suddenly the world looked a bit different and I had to make some changes.  

The videos turned into more showing works in progress in my studio and getting a behind the scenes look at my process.  I shared some art tips and a few business tips relevant to the turbulent times that we’re navigating through.  You got to see the process of painting the giant palette for Palettes of Keuka from prepping the wood to the opening artist reception.  You got to come along in the journey with my Corona Self-Portrait series and hand-painted birdhouses. 

Escape to Paradise by Laura Jaen Smith. Giant hand-painted palette-shaped painting of waterfall in Cascadilla Gorge in Ithaca NY
Corona Self-Portrait: Mask Up by Laura Jaen Smith. Gouache self portrait of women in red tanktop and sunglasses, white homemade mask tied around her neck blankly staring at viewer. Red background.
Van Gogh Birdhouse. Squared birdhouse with yellow roof, tan base. Hand-painted scene inspired by Road with Cypress and Star

I’ve compiled all of the days into ten YouTube videos (approximately 30 mins each).  The first one is linked below.  On the individual videos on my YouTube channel the topics for each day included are listed in the description. 

I encountered a few challenges while completing the project (other than being in a pandemic, of course).  Most of my challenges centered around working with outdated/older technology.  I thought it may be helpful if I share the issues that I ran into so anyone thinking of doing videos can adapt or update as needed. 

Lighting and backgrounds.  Ideally I would have a nice designated area where I could do videos with a nice amount of natural light and a background that is cohesive with the information I was sharing.  My studio is in my living space (which is small) so my options for backgrounds was limited and natural light was hit or miss depending on the day.  Something I may look into in the future is different artificial lighting options. 

Camera holder.  The camera holder during the project was either myself holding the camera or a cheap holder that has to clip onto another object.  The holder posed some challenges in that I had to find something that it could clip to nearby and then make sure that the weight of the camera didn’t wiggle or unframe the shot.  You can see some examples of my fancy camera set ups below.  

Camera set up. Camera stand clipped to stool around yard stick pointed towards Escape to Paradise by Laura Jaen Smith palette-shaped painting in distance.
Photo of camera set up. Camera stand clipped to stool.
Photo of video set up. Camera stand cliped to a chair pointed towards white shelf in distance, elephant planter with spider plant, Cascade Mill Falls painting on stand, jade plant.

Storage space.  For the project I was using an older cell phone with very little storage space.  This resulted in only being able to do videos that were around 5 minutes long and having to transfer and delete them after posting.  I found that this really limited me in the amount of work in progress videos that I could share.  

Video editing.  Video editing is another thing that I would have liked to be able to experiment with more during the project.  My laptop is several years old and freezes up anytime I use programs such as Davinci or even Photoshop.  I was able to compile the videos with Microsoft Photos, but the result was not nearly as streamlined as I would have liked.  I had many instances where the computer would still freeze and I had to start over.  Definitely there’s room for improvement and more practice with this once my technology is updated.

Knowledge.  Another skill that I wanted to learn more about is doing screen video captures on my phone (and computer) so I can share more step by step tutorials.  That way I would not be videoing my computer screen from my phone.  It’s definitely something that I’ve put on my list to learn at some point. 

Despite the challenges, I adapted and did the best with the equipment that I have.  I’m starting to compile a wish list for later for different updated technology and tools that will make things run smoother in the future.

Now that the project is done, I’m brainstorming ways of how I can continue to show up via video in my studio.  It feels a little weird not doing a video everyday at this point since it had become a habit for so long.  While I’m not super eager to appear on video, the project did help me stretch my comfort zone quite a bit.

I hope you enjoyed the project and were able to learn something new about my artistic process!  Did you have a favorite topic that I spoke about?  I’d love to know!

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