Tracy Algar

My 100 Day Project Plan (the warm-up)

It’s my second time around with The 100 Day Project and there is no doubt that I need a better plan than last year.

I like to think I learned a thing or two last year, when I made it to around day 30 before skidding to a dead halt.

Here are the lessons I took away from last year’s attempt:

  1. Don’t put all your eggs in one difficult basket. There need to be easy days.
  2. Choose something you actually like doing.
  3. Choose a project that’s flexible enough to realistically do for 100 days (can I do it in the car? can I do it near and far? can I do it at a slant? can I do it when I can’t?) – sorry Dr Seuss!

With that learning firmly in my paint splattered apron pocket, here’s my plan, and some warm-up sketches.

Here’s my 100 Day Project plan

I’m definitely dividing my 100 days into 10 x 10 day mini-projects (inspired by what my friend Catherine Brennon did last year, focusing on a specific plant for 10 days at a time). I’m hoping that this will keep me interested, and I plan to use the challenge to push myself in some specific directions.

I’ve planned what I’m going to do for 50 of the 100 days, so that I can be flexible about where this leads me and still feel like I’ve accomplished something. I also think that I may want to repeat or circle back to the first five mini-projects, or dedicate more time to one or two of them. I’ll share my mini-project themes here and on Insta, as I go.

What will be consistent for the 100 days is the subject matter. I will be studying the Kleinrivier (Klein River) in Stanford, at it’s nearest point a five minute walk from my cottage (making it easy on myself here).

I’ve been doing a few warm-ups in my sketchbook and I think I’d like a new bigger sketchbook with paper you can paint on for days when I have more time.

Value sketch of the Kleinrivier, looking downstream from the bench at the bottom of King Street. It’s the afternoon and the sun glints blindingly off the water.

I will start with a focus of the river from the bench at the end of King Street, because there are fantastic upstream and downstream views from there (like this one), and plenty of activity and interest. From there I’ll try different vantage points, and different shady spots to sit in the general area between King Street and Quick Street. Perhaps I’ll end up venturing a bit further afield up or downstream. I’ll let myself decide that later.

I want to capture the different light effects at different times of the day, so I won’t have a set time for this. I really love that it’s dark when I wake up now, so early adventures will have lovely long shadows and pretty colours in the sky. (See how flexible my plans are this year?)


A little value sketch including The Lady Stanford in the view.

My warm ups have been a learning experience in themselves. I feel safe tackling this project one tiny sketchbook study at a time. I feel organised having 10 mini-project plans inside one bigger 100 day project plan. And I feel less pressured knowing the river is just a few minutes down the road.

Riverboats reflected in the Kleinrivier, Stanford (value sketch)

I’ll admit I’m still nervous about trying The 100 Day Project this year. There’s always that risk of feeling like you’ve let yourself down if you don’t complete something like this, and carrying that feeling into new projects. That’s one of the reasons I’m going into this with a better plan this year. I also want to prove to myself that I can do it and have pleasant memories attached to the experience. Let’s see how it goes.