For the past year and a half, I’ve been following the “painting-a-day” phenomenon, in which painters do one small (usually postcard-sized) painting a day, post them on a blog and offer them for sale directly to the public, most often through the means of an eBay auction. When I started covering the practice only two or three painters were following it. Since then, numerous painters have jumped on the bandwagon and the numbers are still increasing.
Sarah Wimperis, a UK artist living in France that I mentioned in my “Painting a Day” Blogs (Round 4) post last July, has jumped off the bandwagon and no longer bills herself as a daily painter.
She says this is not due to the demands of the discipline, she still paints daily (but often devotes her painting time to larger works), posts her work on her blog(s) and offers it for sale to the public directly. Her disenchantment with the “painting a day” label stems from her feeling that the spirit of the practice has been watered down.
Wimperis has also changed many aspects of her approach, transitioned from watercolor to oils, become established in galleries in the UK and the US, and is getting additional galleries interested. Unlike many of the other painter/bloggers she doesn’t like the eBay auction process and prefers to to offer her work at a simply stated price, balancing her time and effort with a desire to keep her work accessible and affordable. So far, it looks like her new path is serving her well.
Wimperis’ oils are colorful and still reflect much of the immediacy of the painting a day regimen in her choice of subjects, often everyday scenes and simple objects that happen to catch her eye. She usually accompanies her posted images with a brief paragraph describing the approach, subject or other thoughts related to the painting. She seems to be developing a style that leans toward broken color, particularly where chunks of color can represent patches of light or reflections. She has posted a video of one of her small paintings in progress here.
Her internet presence is a bit spread out and a little confusing. She apparently has three blogs. The Red Shoes, which features posts of her smaller, daily painting style work, The Red Shoe Box, showcasing her larger works, and Muddy Red Shoes, which chronicles her day to day thoughts and sketches (and, for reasons that escape me, throws music at you, unbidden, when you open it, forcing you to leave quickly — hopefully a temporary lapse in judgement). Confusingly, The Red Shoes blog is at muddyredshoes.blogspot.com while The Muddy Red Shoes is at sarahwimperis.blogspot.com. This is further complicated by her actual web site, a Flickr gallery, her presence online on the site of the Gillian Jones Gallery in Ohio, and the lack of a consistent and clearly defined navigation between them.
Personally, I think artists who spread themselves thinly would benefit from a more concentrated, or coordinated, web presence. (I’m a fine one to talk, but my various sites are aimed at very different audiences.) This is one of the many interesting challenges facing artists like Wimperis who are finding their way through this new world in which the net allows artists to connect directly with those interested in their work.