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.