Catherine Benda grew up in Detroit and attended Central Michigan University where she received a BFA in painting and drawing. She works currently work at a small non-profit in Houghton Michigan.
She has lived on a bluff overlooking Lake Superior for over 33 years which is an ongoing source of inspiration for her artwork. She has completed eight 100 day projects since 2008.
Short video clip of Catherine’s work at The100DayProject exhibit at Peter White Public Library in November 2013:
My 100DayProject exploration:
“My project was about exploring color and shape on wooden blocks and how the blocks related to each other individually and as a grouping”.
My Project Rules:
I had three rules:
1) Work daily.
2) Create 100 wooden blocks decorated with paint and paper while keeping notes on the process.
3) Display the work as the 100 day project went along.
If I could tell people ONE thing about starting a 100 day project:
“Don’t worry about producing “great art”. Stay the course, it is well worth it. Just do it”.
Each artist was asked to respond to the same questions. Read what Catherine had to say:
What was it like to get started with your project?
“Getting started was easy this time around. Having completed a few 100 day projects I knew what to expect. While each one is different they all seem to have an ebb and flow to them. Knowing that ahead of time was helpful. So getting started was the easy part. I like new beginnings and experimenting with new materials. The Unknown is exhilarating. When you give yourself permission to let things happen your intuition and right brain get a nice workout”.
What suggestion would you offer to others about starting a 100 day project?
“Keep your project idea simple so that it can grow and expand over time. Don’t worry about producing “great art”. Stay the course, it is well worth it. Just do it”.
What was it like sticking with your 100 day project?
“Truthfully it was not always satisfying. There comes a time, around day 30 -50 where I felt like I was in a rut. There was this nudging and doubt in my mind about SIGNIFICANCE and MEANING. Buzz words that I had to learn to turnoff. I had to keep in my mind the idea behind HABIT and RITUAL. And I just kept plugging away. It is that simple and straightforward”.
What was the biggest challenge you faced with your 100 day project?
“The biggest challenge was not thinking or analyzing each piece. It’s the kind of compulsive thinking that eats away at self-confidence. I needed to stay away from my own expectations. Expectations that the 100 day project needs to produce something great. In reality, the 100 day project is about cultivating habit and exercising your right brain.
“Actually, if you’re open to the 100 day project experience, it is something that can erase the fear of failure and allow the creative process evolve”.
Is there one suggestion about momentum that you can offer to others?
“Push through doubt to keep the momentum going. Just do one small creative exercise each day and move on. Remember, it’s not about making judgments, it’s about creating a habit which, trust me, I have learned will spill over into your work”.
What did you notice after you completed your 100 day project?
“After I completed my 100 Day Project I noticed a bit of a letdown. I made it through the early stages which included the ups and downs that teeter-totter from boredom to the enthusiasm and discovery stage. It is at this stage that the process and products got a firm hold of my attention and motivated me. I didn’t want to lose that feeling”.
Anything else you’d like to share about your experience?
“If you go through the practice and complete a 100 day project there is a ‘creative carry over’ that moves you forward in your art making”.