120 Day Drawing Challenge

heart speak day 1, beth hemmila

Back in August I started another 120 Day Challenge and today is pivotal Day 40.

40 days: change a habit into something positive/break a negative habit

This 120 Day Drawing Challenge came about quite by accident and is a synthesis of several things that came into my life at the same time. The first was spending time one afternoon with my nieces drawing. I hadn't sat down with kids and made art for a long time, and while it was happening I realized how happy and relaxed I felt. The second was the great response I received from my joy journal post and how my friend Petra at Lilla Jizo saw this idea as the perfect format for blogging simple pleasures. Finally, I have been trying to develop my Heart Speak book into something concrete and have been struggling with making decisions and pointing myself in one direction.

Free Drawing + Joy Journal + Heart Speak Book

I decided to combine these three elements into one blog for 120 Days and see where the process leads me. Gee whiz was I in for a surprise!


I thought this challenge would be easier then the one I did over the summer because it didn't have a physical component. However, as I gradually work my way day by day through this challenge, I realize that this one is more difficult for me because drawing -- making art -- gets at the root of my thinking that holds me back from being fully alive.

Here are some of the observations I've been making along the way:

1. I have a hard time holding myself accountable to sitting down and taking pleasure in just being myself while drawing.
2. I have discovered and discarded a mountain of expectations regarding what I think art should be. I am abandoning that imaginary audience found in my head.
3. I am gradually caring less and less about what a drawing looks like and feeling the pure joy in simple mark making.
4. As my brain lets go of expectations and judgments of how things look, there is a greater flow of ideas.

I am finding something very powerful at work inside of this 120 Day Drawing Challenge, because it's tapping into the roots of my creativity and setting up a powerful experiment for letting go of what I "think" I am.

If you want to follow along on my 120 day drawing trail and get inspired by creative ideas, be sure to check out my Heart Speak blog.


  1. Ooh, I am so happy to find this! - that we are in such a mutual inspirational friendship :) I scrolled down your blog to see what day you started this, and found it was three days after I started my ongoing challenge, as I decided to have my Ango (Peaceful Dwelling) period, for four months - yes that's a long time, but one month has passed already, and I am not sure where I am in this but that's ok :) I use to challenge myself with retreats at different length and forms, but this time I was in particular inspired by your 120 Day Challenge! It was such a great thing to do what you did! Thank you again for the continual support and inspiration! And I will enjoy your Heart Speak blog :)

  2. This is just the sort of thing I should challenge myself to as well. So many times I find myself just going through the day with what is safe, never really going farther than that boundary. Yet I find myself making little drawings in the margin of the day thinking I'll follow up. What would happen if every morning I just sketched my dreams? It's an interesting challenge you pose for your self.

  3. Your words and wisdom always speak to me. Not the least of it is permission to feel and let go of preconceived notions about myself as an artist. Thanks Beth!

  4. Petra, your challenge sounds wonderful! I'm so glad you found a way to reconnect with something meaningful through my challenge posts.

    LeAnn, I find myself asking the same questions. I hope you take your margin drawings and put them into a book for yourself!

    Linda, I'm so happy these words helped you see yourself as an artist in different way and were freeing. Glad to know someone is feeling the same way!


I'd love for you to share your ideas and stories on my blog! Please know that I may not always be able to e-mail you a direct response, so be sure to check back to my blog and continue the dialogue. Many blessings for connecting with me through word and image :)