About halfway through mosaic artist Jude Pittman’s quest to create 50 pieces of art in 50 days, Pittman felt her back aching and knees creaking.

“At that point, I really just wanted to get it done,” laughed Pittman, who is in her late 50s. “But it was happening so quick, there wasn’t any room to change my mind.”

Pittman was among 67 local artists who participated in a creative version of an ultramarathon, “The 50/50 Challenge,” which will open Friday at the Sanchez Art Center in Pacifica.

Each artist was given 50 6-by-6-inch wooden panels, said art center co-founder Nancy Hall, and 3,350 pieces of art were created during the 50 days this spring.

“It helps you evolve as an artist,” Hall said of the daily commitment. “It’d be great for any discipline to sit down and know that you’ve got to create something new every day.”

Some painted on the panels; others used photographs; one artist made wood carvings.

Pittman crafted her mosaic panels from scrap materials in her studio and items found during her morning walks. The College of San Mateo instructor works with a variety of materials, including marble, stained glass and shards of safety glass. It took about six hours every day to make a panel, and while each panel has a unique look, from a distance, the pieces form the image of an oceanside portrait.

“It would have taken me a lot longer, maybe twice as long,” Pittman said, if she hadn’t committed to the daily challenge. “To know that others were working hard as well created a great energy. It was very inspiring.”

The 50/50 Challenge: 7-9 p.m. Fri. (July 24) The Sanchez Art Center, 1220-B Linda Mar, Pacifica. (650) 355-1894.


E-mail the writer at jberton@sfchronicle.com.
This article appeared on page E – 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle.