Inks & Accoutrements for my 100 Day Project/2024

What is The 100 Day Project?

Every year, starting February 18, thousands of people around the world participate in a free community project known as “The 100 Day Project.” The purpose is simple – to unlock dormant creativity, encourage consistent creative practice and joy, and/or to improve pre-existing skills by repetition and practice. All are welcome to join in and the project can be anything that inspires you. Possible commitments could include: listing three things daily that you are grateful for, spending 10 minutes a day learning a new language, knitting one row of a scarf, or learning one guitar chord each day. It can literally be anything that you would like to spend time learning about or practicing.

What I’m doing for my own 100 Day Project in 2024:

I have a large number of beautiful fountain pen inks and I am really into fine writing and stationery! Unfortunately, I don’t get to use all of my stash regularly, so this project is the perfect way for me to give my inks some love. Therefore, this year, my project will be to swatch my fountain pen ink collection!

What are the supplies I’ll be using? Mainly a paintbrush and dip pens in a 2023 A6 Hobonichi planner. I never got around to using it as a planner last year and, this way, this beautiful journal will have a second life! I also ordered Col-o-dex rotary card refills that I will also be swatching to create a customizable catalogue of all of my ink, present and future! (See photo below. I got mine from Cult Pens.)

I’m looking forward to sharing my progress here and also on Instagram. You can follow me @gracerajendran and the hashtag #GraceRajendran100DayProject .

How long will my project take?

Since it takes time to create the pages, photograph things, and write up posts, I am going into this realistically noting that I will take more than 100 chronological days to complete this project. And I am absolutely fine with that! So many times, I find myself rushing through challenges and tasks to post an end-result on social media or meet some other arbitrary deadline. We have so many deadlines in our (day) jobs anyway, that I want to leave them out of my creative practice as much as I can. So, for this project, I want to take my time, enjoy the process, learn what I want to learn, and do things as slowly as I need, or want, to.

How you can share your own project:

All are welcome to share their 100 Day Project progress on Instagram using the hashtags: #The100DayProject and #DoThe100DayProject.

Some of my inks

Col-o-dex rotary cards

I LOVE literary totes and have quite the collection – totes I’ve bought, totes I’ve been sent by publishers – and now, it’s a dream come true that my own art is on a literary tote too!!! This features a quote from the Seattle Arts & Lectures event back in September 2023 with Ann Patchett in conversation with Melinda French Gates. I was struck by the beauty of something she said during this event – “We, as humans, communicate with stories.” – so I illustrated the quote, which now lives on forever in the form of these beautiful tote bags available through Seattle Arts & Lectures.

The totes are 100% cotton in a natural canvas color, 15″W x 14″H x 3″D, with 22″ webbed handles in forest green.

You can purchase the tote bags and support the transformational work of Seattle Arts & Lectures HERE.

Lavender is such an enchanting color – pretty and serene. As a color – a combination of red and blue – it takes its name from lavender flowers. The word lavender, itself, comes from the Latin word lavare which means “to wash” and it’s no wonder, as the color evokes a clean crispness and is often found in soaps and bath and beauty products. Lavender flowers were used as perfumes since ancient Egyptian times.

Lavender is a gentle form of purple, a color used to signify royalty. And, indeed, lavender has a subdued and elegant feel to it. Often representing Spring and youthfulness, lavender has come to be one of the pastel hues associated with that season.

It is common to find that the word “lavender” can represent several slightly differing shades of pale purple, and that also makes sense since, if you look closely at lavender blossoms, there are many variations of purple hues contained within.

To mix lavender, you will need to combine a warm red with a cool blue. If you use more of the red, you will end up with the color lilac. If you use more of the blue, you will arrive at lavender. You can then add white to your mixture to create various shades and intensities.

“Tiger & Luna” Art by Grace K. Rajendran

July 29th is celebrated annually as International Tiger Day, to raise awareness about these gorgeous, majestic – and endangered – creatures! I love tigers and often celebrate them through my art. In this post, I’ll be sharing some of my tiger art with you, as well as some fun facts about tigers and notes on their conservation.

Fun Fact: Tigers have been around for over 2 million years

“Anxious Tiger” art by Grace K. Rajendran

Historical Background

International Tiger Day was started in 2010 at the Saint Petersburg Tiger Summit in Russia, when it was discovered that 97% of wild tigers had vanished since the beginning of the 20th century.

Several countries, including India, Russia, and China, pledged to protect tigers. Thirteen tiger range countries collaborated to form TX2 and committed to doubling the tiger population by 2022, which was the Chinese year of the tiger.

To read more about TX2, check out the World Wildlife Fund’s TX2 page HERE.

Fun Fact:  Their stripe patterns are all unique, just like human fingerprints!

“Yellow Tiger Garden” Art by Grace K.Rajendran

Fun Fact: Unlike most cats, tigers love to swim!

Some Conservation Highlights

In India, Project Tiger, which was started in the early 1970s, with 268 tigers now has over 3000! This great news also illustrates how tied together issues of ecology and conservation are because, with the growing number of tigers in the wild, one now has to address issues of habitat and prey loss and the potential for tigers to enter spaces with humans more and more. Some of the ways this is being addressed is to look at development through a lens of ecological preservation: for example, creating safe passages for tigers and other wildlife when highways are built and preserving large swaths of natural habitat.

“Tiger & Tulip” Art by Grace K. Rajendran

As we celebrate the good news, we also need to keep in mind that there is still a way to go. On average, two tigers are rescued from traffickers very week and there are still more tigers in captivity than in the wild.

To learn more about ways help tigers, check out legitimate nature organizations, such as the World Wildlife Fund for more info and resources.

Fun Fact: India has the greatest number of wild tigers, and this makes up over half the tiger population of the world!

“Tiger Queen” Art by Grace K. Rajendran

“Painting is poetry that is seen rather than felt, and poetry is painting that is felt rather than seen.”

-Leonardo da Vinci

July is World Watercolor Month and over on Instagram, I’m creating a painting (almost) every day to celebrate! I’ll upload them once a week onto this website, but if you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow along my progress there in real time! And definitely check out the official World Watercolor Month account on Instagram as well.

Watercolor is my first love when it comes to art! It’s how I found my voice and confidence as an artist and what I used to create the first of my pieces that were accepted in a show. I am fond of creating in many different types of art media but to this day I still think of myself as a watercolorist first.

I love painting skies in watercolor and couldn’t resist creating the above homage to sunsets in the Caribbean, where I grew up. Every night, the skies and the ocean would shine like liquid gold. The ocean is what I miss most from my childhood. I live on the coast now too and it’s wonderful -I actually wouldn’t want to be anywhere else right now. However, somehow, the ocean is not quite the same.

It’s beautiful here where I live now, but in a colder, starker, greyer way – which I am also incredibly drawn to – but every now and then, you miss warm sand between your toes, soft like silk; and so much blue that your heart can’t help but be happy. The thing with the tropics is that everything has an intensity of 10 : colors, scents, tastes! The sea is turquoise, the flowers are heady, the fruits taste like the sun.

Speaking of tropical flowers….

“…and then, I have nature and art and poetry, and if that is not enough, what is enough?”

-Vincent Van Gogh

“…every night come out these envoys of beauty, and light the universe with their admonishing smile.”

-Ralph Waldo Emerson

Emerson was talking about the stars, but I think the quote fits this painting strikingly well!

Stay tuned for Week 2 paintings … in a week!

“Ocean is more ancient than the mountains, and freighted with the memories and the dreams of Time.”
– H.P. Lovecraft

Throughout June, I participated in the FOR PLANET OCEAN art challenge on Instagram. Be sure to check out the @ForPlanetOcean account to learn more about this challenge and its organizers.

There were five prompts:

  • Coral Reefs
  • Blue Mind
  • Artivism: Protect What You Love
  • Deep Sea: Mysterious Depths
  • Seagrass: Planting A Future

Having grown up on an island, I love the ocean and feel most completely at peace when I am standing on the shore, looking out at the waves and the endless blue. I always welcome any opportunity to observe the ocean and its creatures and to try and capture some of their awe-inspiring beauty and mystery in my art.

Coral Reefs

“I can mention many moments that were unforgettable and revelatory. But the most single revelatory three minutes was the first time I put on scuba gear and dived on a coral reef. It’s just the unbelievable fact that you can move in three dimensions.”

– David Attenborough

Coral reefs are stunning underwater ecosystems that rival rainforests in their biodiversity! Sadly, our coral reefs are threatened by pollution, climate change, and irresponsible fishing practices and some of them have already been completely destroyed. Not only are they incredibly beautiful to look at but they support the lives of many, many marine creatures – so we definitely need to step up and consider how our actions impact them.

Blue Mind

“Water quiets all the noise, all the distractions, and connects you to your own thoughts.”

-Wallace J. Nichols, from Blue Mind

Artivism: Protect What You Love

“The sea, the great unifier, is man’s only hope. Now, as never before, the old phrase has a literal meaning: we are all in the same boat.”

-Jacques Cousteau

Art can help raise awareness for causes and influence change. Nature Art can inspire people to learn more about the natural world around them and find ways to get involved with conservation.

In this piece I wanted to illustrate the beauty and biodiversity of the flora and fauna that can be found in our oceans. We still haven’t explored all of the mysteries that the waters hold but we are causing them a great deal of strain with over-fishing, pollution, and the effects of climate change to name a few.

Oceans regulate the Earth’s temperature and generate most of the oxygen that we breathe. Marine ecosystems, such as mangroves and seagrasses help store a lot of carbon emissions, and so are a vital part of the fight against climate change.

Deep sea habitats are incredibly biodiverse and have up to (and maybe more than) 10 million species! And the vast majority of the ocean has yet to be explored still! I don’t want to go into all of the ways in which the ocean’s flora and fauna benefit humans – because I don’t think that’s the point. Instead, we need to remember that our actions directly impact the lives of these precious creatures, so we need to do our best to care for them.

Deep Sea: Mysterious Depths

“Although we couldn’t have been more different — I, a terrestrial vertebrate constrained by joints and bound to air; she, a marine mollusk with not a single bone, who breathed water — she was clearly as curious about me as I was about her.”

-Sy Montgomery, The Soul of An Octopus

The fourth prompt of @ForPlanetOcean was Deep Sea: Mysterious Depths and I decided to do a surreal colored pencil drawing of an octopus – because they are beautiful, mysterious, intelligent (classified as the most intelligent invertebrate), recognize people they commonly see, playful, can use tools, open jars of food, and solve puzzles… so many cool facts!! 

Also, the giant Pacific octopus (Enteroctopus dofleini) can be found off the coast of Washington State, where I live, so I want to give them some art-y love!

This is the largest octopus species, with a record of a 71-kilogram (157-pound) one weighed live.

While it can be found to ocean depths of about 4,920 feet (1500 m), it is mostly found in shallow waters to 16 feet (5 m) deep.

Seagrass: Planting A future

“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.”

— Jacques Cousteau

I adore turtles so I had to include one in this painting!

Seagrasses are the only flowering plants that grow underwater in marine environments. They got the name because of the long, blade-like appearance of many of the different species in the group.

Seagrasses spread along long stretches to look like terrestrial grasslands and they contain an incredible range of biodiversity! For example, they provide a nursery for baby turtles of all species as well as food for all ages of green turtles… which is how Green Turtles also get their green color!!

Unfortunately a great number of seagrass species are also listed as Threatened or Near-Threatened due to a combination of factors such as storms, disease, pollution, and human activity along the coast, such as motorboats, fishing, and development.

This art challenge has been in support of Project Seagrass, an organization working towards the protection of seagrass meadows. Be sure to check them out for more information and ways to help.

Crow seen at the lake. It was a beautiful day – so many little creatures around! Ducks on the water and flying overhead; chattering crows; and butterflies. The sun twinkled on the water. It definitely felt like summer.
I love watching the ducks bobbing up and down on the water. So peaceful. And the way the light catches all of the iridescence on their necks – the blues, the greens, the purples – absolutely gorgeous!
Steller’s Jays – one of my favorite backyard birds. They have such vivacious personalities! And, that streak of blue against the greenery as they swoop across the garden is always stunning!
Saw this little cutie on a leaf during one of my walks in the park. They always bring a smile to my face!
And, last but definitely not least, who doesn’t adore the little black capped chickadees?! They are just the sweetest! And this little one was foraging for food in the bush outside my apartment building.
Five photographs of various pink flowers in a garden, along with four color dots in different shades of pink and the phrase "Today's palette: Beautiful Pinks."

I’m so lucky to be surrounded by so many beautiful shades of pink these days – gorgeous flowers everywhere, including my parents’ rose garden, which is where I took these photos above! And, since there is so much pink around me, I thought it would be the perfect opportunity to learn more about one of my favorite colors, pink, which is often featured in my art.

Here are a few facts about this lovely color: 


The color pink takes its name from a flower called Dianthus plumarius, a plant in the Carophyllaceae family. That flower is sometimes commonly referred to as “pink” because of its frilled edges. The word “pink” used to refer to a perforated pattern and that’s why those scissors with the zigzag edge are called “pinking shears.”

In other languages, the color we know as pink is named after roses instead! 


Pink is one of the more common flower colors and is the result of natural pigments called anthocyanins, a type of flavonoid, which also produce the pink color of some fruit. Anthocyanins are just one category of flavonoid and, in addition to pink, are also the reason we have red, blue, and purple flowers.  Over 9000 different types of flavonoids are responsible for all the beautiful colors we see in botany. Those pretty, bright colors help ensure flowers’ reproductive success by attracting pollinators.


How about the pink that we find in our art supplies? Where do they get their color from?

Those pinks were originally derived from rose madder dye extracted from the root of the Rubia tinctorum plant, originally found in India, the Middle East, Egypt, and the Mediterranean. Evidence of madder as a dye has been found in paintings and decor from these regions as early as 1500 BC.

Madder contains two dyes: alizarin and purpurin. In the late 1800s, the alizarin portion of madder was chemically synthesized, shifting the origin of pink dye from the natural rose madder plant to the less expensive synthetic alizarin. Nowadays, the more light-resistant quinacridone has predominantly replaced alizarin.

And if those pinks aren’t pink enough for you, there’s always the pinkest pigment ever developed – simply called “Pink” and created by UK artist Stuart Semple in 2016. You can read more about Stemple’s pigment (and his ongoing feud with fellow artist Anish Kapoor over the blackest black) HERE.

For all you artists out there: The next time you bring out your paints, be sure to take a few minutes to see if your reds and pinks are labeled “madder”, “alizarin” or “quinacridone”!

Until next time, dear friends, Happy Creating!

If you enjoy colors are much as I do, be sure to follow me on Instagram, @gracerajendran, where I regularly do a Today’s Palette post, highlighting the many gorgeous hues I see while I’m out and about! I’ll be posting a Today’s Palette single- color exploration similar to this one about once a month on this website. And, for more content, be sure to sign up for my monthly newsletter, Grace Notes (form at right)!