Monday, April 3, 2006

“Painting a Day” blogs

Painting a Day
Back in December of 2004, Virginia artist and teacher Duane Keiser started the terrific practice of painting one small (usually postcard size) painting every day (as far as I know, starting with the painting of the baseball above). At the same time, he started a blog on which he would post an image of that day’s painting. See my original post about Keiser and his A Painting a Day blog from last October.

Since then, a number of other artists have begun to keep this kind of routine as well (I regret to say I’m not among them). Not only is this an excellent discipline for any painter or visual artist, it may be financially beneficial as well. Keiser, and most of the other artists who have added this practice to their daily routine, usually offer their images for sale directly through their blogs. Most of Keiser’s “postcard paintings” (which he paints using a small easel made from an old cigar box) have been offered for sale (originally for $100, now for much more). Occasionally, he will do a larger scale or more complex painting within the context of the series and offer it for bid on eBay.

The other “painting a day” painters follow a similar model; small format paintings posted to a blog and offered for direct sale or bid on eBay. This not only allows the artists to leverage the fondness the web has for frequently changing content (which is one of the primary reasons for the popularity of blogs) to increase their potential audience, but also lets them connect directly with those interested in their paintings, effectively doing an end-run around galleries and their high commissions for at least some portion of their work. (A $100 postcard size painting would have to be at least 2-3 times that if sold in a gallery to accommodate the gallery’s commission as well as framing and preparation for hanging.)

The paintings all share some similarities as well. Of necessity they are small in scale and directly done, which usually translates into a fresh, painterly approach, and they are most often of individual small household objects: salt shakers, fruit, painting tubes and other studio paraphernalia, flowers, dishes, etc. Many of the sites, including Keiser’s, offer a “gallery view” of thumbnails of the paintings in addition to the chronological blog listings.

After keeping up this amazing discipline for over two years, Keiser announced on Saturday that he will be slowing down for the time being, posting a little less frequently for a bit while he focuses his energy on larger projects. My hat is off to him for making this admirable practice worthy of note and worthy of emulation.

I’ve included here a sampling (certainly not comprehensive) of some of the “painting a day” style blogs of artists I’ve come across or who have contacted me. All of them are worthy of a full post and I’ll try to revisit them in detail in the future. Clockwise from top-left: Duane Keiser, Karin Jurick, David R. Darrow, Shelly Grund, Julian Merrow-Smith, Elin Pendleton.

30 thoughts on ““Painting a Day” blogs

  1. Justin

    The greatest form of flaterry is imitation (I mean that in the best way). My hat is off to Duane for getting the ball rolling on what seems to be an ever growing practice. He’s been a great inspiration to all the daily painters, including myself.

    http://www.justinspaintings.com

    Nice work Duane, David, Shelly, Elin and all the rest!

  2. Elin Pendleton

    Thank you for posting the link and for finding me on the web, Charley. Nita Leland pointed me to your having listed my site, so thank you to her, as well!
    My web site and daily paintings are as much about about teaching as the consistency of doing them. Like Duane, I’m a college teacher, and feel that I need to offer more than just the image, so my daily emails have messages with the paintings. I’ve found that I am more personal in what I paint, not just the onions and such… for example, yesterday’s painting was of my mother, in the hospital bed, being treated for pneumonia. An artist’s life needs to be IN his or her paintings. Some are not just decorator art or painterly exercises, for me.
    And even my larger pieces (16 x 20, e.g.) are done in one day, and they are also daily paintings.
    Thanks again for the note–Elin

  3. Katherine

    I think you’ll find that Duane Keiser’s paintings sell for considerably more than $100 if you have ever watched the bidding process on e-bay – which I hadn’t until rcently when I was told that some have gone for very large numbers – and went to watch.

    Also Julian Merrow-Smith is sticking to the $100 tag but all his paintings sell within seconds of hitting the internet. So he’s now doing prints as well…….

    I just really admire these two for their ability to produce good quality work day after day.

    And it was a big relief when the sushi arrived yesterday morning!

  4. David R. Darrow

    I can’t tell you how grateful I am for, first of all finding me— since I have only been doing this a couple of months, and second, for including me among these amazing artists who actually do paint a new one everyday. That’s still something I am working up to.

    It is humbling to see the work of these others. And I, too, continue to take off my hat when the name Duane Keiser is mentioned.

    Good to see some names I did not know. I particularly am drawn to the work of Karin Jurick.

    A name not mentioned, and a relative unknown, is Darren Maurer, who heard about me doing this becasue I heard about Duane doig it. Darren’s blog is here

    Thanks again, Charlie!

  5. Karin Jurick

    I, too, am so grateful for the recognition – and I admire all the artists mentioned for their individual styles, imagination and discipline. There’s rarely a day that goes by that I don’t have the drive to paint – and the response and recognition from others is the icing on the cake. Thank you Charley and I regard your blog as one of the best art resources on the web.

    -Gratefully, Karin J

  6. Darren Maurer

    Thanks Dave. I admire everyone’s work also. Dave’s and my mutual friend got me interested in the “Painting A Day” project. I love checking on everyone’s site to see what they did that day. I decided to try it and I’m having more fun painting than I ever have. I am still working on some bigger pieces but these little portriats of everyday objects is a great excerise in painting and interesting because it is something different everyday. I want to put links on my page to all of your websites also. I’m not too computer savy so it might take alittle bit of time yet. I will make it happen though.

  7. Charley Parker Post author

    Thanks, all, for your comments and for being advocates of this wonderful practice. Also thanks for the links to other, similar blogs. It’s obvious that I’ll have to have a Painting a Day Blogs part 2 soon!

  8. Paul Hutchinson

    I’ve being a big fan of Duane Keisser’s painting a day blog since I discovered it a while ago. I was delighted to discover someone else who enjoyed finding beauty and meaning in the domestic and everyday things of life. I’ve painted similar subject matter over many years, but never with the same amount of concentrated dedication and commitment. However, recently I was inspired enough to attempt a painting a day series of my own. And I am enjoying it immensly! Today, curiousity prompted me to do a search for other “painting a day” blogs and here I am..! I live in a very isolated part of the world and this is a good way for me to see what other artists are doing! Thank you!

  9. ArtLOOK

    Charley, Thank you for this terrific blog. I spent some considerable time here this morning reading and surfing your blogrolls. Well done.

    Because I couldn’t find the trackback for your blog, please be sure to stop by ArtLOOK and read what I had to say about Lines and Colors, and A Painting A Day Blogs. Thanks again and consider me subscribed! Lisa Mikulski

  10. Gordon van Vliet

    I am drawn to this method of producing and showing an artist work to the community. Many artists that I speak with feel the need to make immediate sales (money). I believe that a better view point is to use the “painting a day” disapline to further your own skills and studies. Then no disappointment occurs and sales will surely follow according to ones talent and marketing skill. The great benefit that I see is the practice and disapline acquired in the process. I admire all the artists out there who routinely paint this way. Check out my efforts too. vanVlietArt.blogspot.com

  11. Renee Foster

    I came upon a blog site by Scott Monteith recently and have been viewing his art and reading his daily posts. I have a great appreciation for anyone who is artistic much less dedicated to what they do. I found this site as a result of wanting to find more passionate artists. Thank you.

  12. Takeyce Walter

    I agree, Charlie. Since I’ve started painting regularly, I have found this wonderful passion that I felt was perviously missing. I am now also able to rally visualize a painting in my mind before I actually render it… Something I haven’t been able to so since I was a child. It’s a great feeling.

  13. mike rooney

    painting a landscape a day and then blogging has been a real boon for the skills and for having some say over the direct marketing of my paintings. i’m in galleries but its not nearly as satisfying. the blog is
    mikerooneystudios.blogspot.com

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