Lines and Colors art blog

“Painting a Day” Blogs (Round 6),
The Daily Painters Guild

Painting a Day - The Daily Painters GuildI’ve been following the phenomenon of “painting-a-day” blogs since my post on the originator of the practice, Duane Keiser, in October of 2005.

At the time only Keiser, and Julian Merrow-Smith were engaged (as far as I know) in this practice of painting one small, roughly postcard-size, painting a day, posting it on a blog and offering it for sale directly over then net at a cost much lower than would be feasible through a gallery.

Before long, other artists began to take notice and adopt the practice. In the past six or eight months, the phenomenon has snowballed, as more and more painting-a-day blogs have appeared.

There seem to be two major philosophies about the practice. The first goes something like:

If I adopt the practice of painting one small painting every day, I will grow and become more disciplined as a painter, learning more rapidly, becoming stronger in my ability to grapple with challenges and push through artistic blocks. If I make my practice public by posting my daily painting to a blog, I will be more encouraged to keep to my schedule, I’ll have a visual record of my progress, and I may also be able to make some money in the process by selling my small works on the net.

The second is more like:

If I start a painting-a-day blog, the world will beat a path to my door and I’ll make lots of money.

The former is a worthwhile endeavor, the latter is folly.

Unfortunately, the latter seems to be a dominant factor in the decision of many to jump on the bandwagon, and those who are doing so with that intention are finding themselves in a crowded field.

Painting-a-day bloggers must clamor for attention now amid their own growing numbers, and quickly find that the practice of daily painting is no longer a novelty or a draw in itself.

Micah Condon’s Daily Painters Art Gallery, at one point an attempt to provide a single portal for daily painters, is up to 50 daily painters, and the once open roster is now juried. The site now seems devoted specifically to promoting itself as a marketing vehicle for the members, for which it now charges a monthly membership fee.

I think the the level of ability of the painters on that site varies widely, partly because the “juried” aspect came late in the process, and is indicative of how the phenomenon has become watered down.

By “watered down” I don’t mean to suggest that anyone should refrain from the practice because of their current level of development as a painter. On the contrary, I think it is a superb discipline for any painter, but it should be undertaken in the spirit of the first philosophy I mentioned, not the latter.

However the ‘painting-a-day label used to be associated with artists who were already disciplined and had benefitted from long periods of study and hard work that had matured them as painters.

These artists, unfortunately, are receiving less attention now in their painting-a-day practice than they should because of the sheer number of those who have adopted the label (to the point where some have stopped associating themselves with the “painting-a-day” phrase).

Many of these painters recognized the quality evident in the work of their compatriots and began listing each other’s blogs on their blogrolls, forming a loose association of sorts. In visiting their blogs I would notice many of the same names consistently.

David R. Darrow has written to let me know that several of those painters have now formed a more direct association in an attempt to be seen again above the background radiation of the large number of “daily painters”. The result is the Daily Painters Guild, a group of (at the moment) 15 painters who share a common, professionally consistent, site in addition to their own blogs.

Though the Guild doesn’t include “Painting a Day” originator Duane Keiser, or Julian Merrow Smith, who followed close after, neither of whom need such an association to keep their profile high, the list otherwise reads like the cream of the crop of the daily painters of which I’m currently aware.

Most of them are artists I have already mentioned on lines and colors, many of them in the course of my posts about Painting a Day blogs, like

Louis Boileau (Round 3),
Justin Clayton (Round 4),
David R. Darrow (Round 1), and
Darren Maurer (Round 3).

Others are artists I have had a chance to feature individually, like

Belinda del Pesco,
Jeff Hayes,
Neil Hollingsworth,
Karin Jurick,
Carol Marine,
Mick McGinty, and
William Wray.

Many of these painters were featured before they started their painting-a-day blogs, so check on the Daily Painters Guild site for their current blog URLs.

The remaining four I haven’t gotten to yet, though two were on my list for the next round of “Painting a Day” blogs, and the other two I hadn’t visited yet.

M Collier
J Matt Miller
Vivienne St. Clair
Peter Yesis

The Daily Painters Guild site has links to the artists’ blogs and websites as well as individual pages with short bios. You can bypass the somewhat awkward drop-down navigation from the main page by clicking on the artist’s name for their DPG bio page, an on the “Click here to see more” link for their blog. There is also some general information about the Guild on the “About” page.

Membership in the Daily Painters Guild is by invitation, but they also maintain a large list of Worldwide Daily Painters, to which artists can be added by request.

I don’t mean to imply that the members of the Guild are the only daily painters working at this level, simply that they are representative of the practice at its best and can serve as an example for other artists who are interested in investigating the phenomenon.

I certainly wouldn’t want any of this to intimidate or discourage any artist, whatever their current level of accomplishment, from taking on the challenge of the painting-a-day discipline.

Allowing yourself to be intimidated by the accomplishments of others is one of the deadliest traps an artist can fall prey to (I speak here from experience). Rather, artists who are starting down this road can simply take the Daily Painters Guild as a signpost of where others are going.

If you take up the practice daily painting with the intentions of the first philosophical approach I mention above, you may find that the result is a quicker advancement toward that signpost and beyond.



19 responses to ““Painting a Day” Blogs (Round 6),
The Daily Painters Guild

  1. We’re watching a marketplace evolve on the web for affordable art and we’re watching the way it influences art and artists’ choices. In a way it’s surprising that affordable art has taken this long to catch on via the web, but it’s very gratifying and one hopes that the economics can sustain at least the most talented of the current crop.

    A closer look reveals that artists like the Hollingsworth husband and wife team have not given up on the brick and mortar galleries and that in fact a paradigm may be evolving in which the smaller painting-a-day auctions serve to develop a greater awareness for the larger pieces being traditionally exhibited, and as is the case with the Hollingsworth couple, all but sold out in the gallery show.

  2. I just created my painting a day blog a few days ago, I was already selling my work on Ebay and through local markets before creating the blog. I see the blog as having two major benefits for all artist. First, it is another dimension that can be added to their existing marketing. Second, it is a place that they can quickly look back at to review their progress in achieving a cohesive style.
    If the artist don’t know already, there are no get rich quick schemes. We have to constantly reach out to art buyers through consistent marketing. A painting a day is just another place to reach them; hopefully.

  3. Charley-
    Thanks a lot for the wonderful write up. It is an honor to be shown with this group of friends. I hope our site inspires many and shows that great art doesn’t mean expensive or unreachable art. The daily painter’s growth has shown that many new collectors are starting their collections purchasing off the internet. With as little as $100 a life long adventure can begin. Your site continues to be one of the best for people to learn about artists and their history. Thanks again

  4. thanks for the coverage C– When will they find out I don’t do a painting a day?

  5. Shhhhh! If you don’t tell, I won’t. ;-]

  6. J.A. Kelleher Avatar
    J.A. Kelleher

    I have been following the painting a day movement for a while now and it has been fascinating both to watch the artists evolve and to see communities developing. As an occasional purchaser, I follow the links that some of the artists post on their blogs, hoping to discover another individual with the same level of talent and spark—someone I might not otherwise come across. Sometimes that method works and sometimes it doesn’t. As frequently as not, I find that the artists’ tastes, as reflected in their links, don’t seem to match mine, or my idea of them, at all.

    Looking at the collection of artists who have banded together as The Artists Guild, I have something of the same reaction. Some of these artists produce what seems to me like striking and technically superior work and a number don’t—proficient, yes but not inspiring (at least for me).

    Given that quite a few of the members have been mentioned favorably in your blog, you may disagree. But that’s the way it should be. The response evoked by a piece of art is a very personal thing.

    Perhaps that is why the membership logo designed for Guild members to paste on their pages rubs me the wrong way somehow. Collaboration and mutual encouragement is great and a grand tradition in art, but, for my taste, this smacks a bit too much of marketing and I find the myself irritated by the implicit suggestion it carries of a “safe investment” label. The Guild members’ art probably is, but I find myself wondering why they have to proclaim it so aggressively.

    By the way, I’d like to say how very much I enjoy reading Lines and Colors and how astounded I am by the breadth and depth of your interests and knowledge. This blog is the best education around.

  7. I think that most of the artists working at this level also have gallery representation. And for those who are making their initial contact with people who might buy their work, it is a new and interesting path to gallerys if they want, or a way to bypass them if they don’t. That’s the brilliant thing about the net, it allows the one-to-many relationship to flourish in a wan never before possible.

  8. Jeff,

    That sounds like a balanced approach.

  9. Peter,

    I agree, it’s not only a great way for artists to show their work, it’s an inexpensive way for collectors to start buying original art at a price below what they could find for the same level of work in a gallery.

    Galleries also benefit in the long term if it encourages people to buy original art who might feel a bit intimidated by galleries initially, and can get their feet wet buying small originals directly.

  10. I like the artists in the guild to differing degrees and in different ways, but I think they are all above the level of the large numbers of newer and less accomplished artists who are jumping on the painting-a-day bandwagon. However I think this kind of loose association is not exclusive, and by looking outside it, you may find a new and under-appreciated talent whose work is not as expensive or hard to grab before it disappears.

    This is merely a group of artists gathering together with other artists whose work they respect. How different is it from a gallery in which a single person has selected a group of artists to represent that may be of differing approaches or levels of ability, but work within that gallery’s chosen framework.

    I don’t think it implies a “safe investment” label, but then I balk at treating art like an investment commodity. I think you should always buy art that you like, not because you think it will accrue value. Stocks are easier to predict than the reputation and selling price of young artists as they mature. A painting you like can always be a painting you like, regardless of its monetary value.

    I appreciate your comments, though and value your input as a purchaser. Thanks, also for the good words about lines and colors.

  11. Charley, your commentary is both positive to read and informative. Kudos to you and your support of the arts.

    I do tend to agree with JAK’s remarks above. Marketing with a logo or a white box gallery in an upscale neighborhood…we’re all (artists) just trying to get positive attention with support. Revenue supports our materials and overhead. Then it’s our job to do our best work.

    I’m sorry I wasn’t invited into the guild, because there are such fine painters in it. But honestly the DPG was formed the minute there was a cost associated with Daily Painters (a reason to bury their conscious?) As a member of the DailyPainters with my own site: I hope to attrack an audience is all.

  12. I’m glad you wrote about this Charley..
    Interesting developements on the painting-a-day trend.

  13. This is such an interesting blog and I’m so happy I just found it! I started my Painting A Day Blog about 6 weeks ago, and I don’t consider myself in the ranks of the Guild, so I’m probably one of those people you talk about ‘jumping on the bandwagon’. For me, it’s not about trying to pass myself off as more accomplished than I am by associating myself with ‘successful’ painting-a-day artists on the internet. Years ago, Kevin Machpherson advocated doing 100 small paintings, on a daily basis, to improve your work. After trying this a couple of times and seeing great results, I thought this Painting A Day movement was about the same thing…not marketing, but sharing and getting feedback from other artists and a wider circle of friends who normally would not see this work. Having said that… gee, it’d be great is some people wanted to actually purchase these pieces (who would deny this?). Anyway, you’re right, there’s a wide variety of levels of sophistication on these blogs. And you may be surprised at how some of those you would consider not-so able are selling a LOT. Also if you check the blogs of the Guild, they are pretty much saavy in terms of marketing, and they do not limit themselves to internet sales, but do many other things to promote their art. Also, their styles are very similar, and this also feeds their ‘success’ as a blog – people who like one, may just like another. Anyway, they seem like a very likable group and I wish them well, but I hope people take a peek at other painting bloggers as well!

  14. I think “jumping on the bandwagon” is great, as long as it’s done with realistic expectations. I’m sure many painters of varying degrees of accomplishment are being successful in reaching buyers through their web sites, and I think this is terrific in a number of ways. I just think that the attitude should be one of developing as a painter first, selling and marketing second.

    Thanks, all for your nice comments about the post and about lines and colors.

  15. I think it’s interesting that the daily painting phenomenon evolved to the point where its groups and directories opened to artists who do not finish a painting a day. Offering a new painting for sale every day is a marketing concept. Painting every day is a life style of dedication and discipline shaping inspiration. I paint daily (paint every day) because I don’t feel fully alive if I don’t. I publish or exhibit each painting when it’s ready. It could take less than a day, or it could take years, for a given painting to reach a point where I feel it’s good enough to show the public. The daily painting phenomenon, in that it encourages hard work and alao stimulates interest in art, is a positive thing, why not?

  16. I think you have touched a key. There are certainly 2 reasons why so many artists have jumped into this painting a day movement, either because they want the challenge and discipline of doing it to become a better artist, which I can see the results now myself, or they want immediate success, in other words “for the money”. Those who are doing it for the first reason will eventually encounter success, those who are doing it for the second reason I’m afraid, will soon fail at it. All serious artists paint everyday, is not a challenge to paint everyday, the challenge is to finish a paint everyday. Many take a few days or months to actually finish a painting, but this discipline pushes us to really sign one painting everyday regardless of its perfection. Is certainly a challenge an a good one for those who have embraced it as it should.

  17. samuel botchwey Avatar
    samuel botchwey

    i am samuel art student and i want you to give me some guid lines so that will help me paint well

  18. You are giving the pious assumption that everyone is jumping on the band wagon to get rich. Folly! Just because a painter has less degree of skill is no reason to shoot them down. Skill or no skill, art is art for its own sake. Give credit to the folks who don’t have “the skill”, but are trying to discipline them self by daily painting. Why in the world would you want to discredit someone who has little skill in painting? Lets support each other. Was Grandma Mosses a skilled painter, or someone who just enjoyed painting? Problem with this country is everyone want to be on top! Let it go!

    1. Thanks for the comment, tshock, but I have to ask if you bothered to read the entire post, from which I quote:

      “By “watered down” I don’t mean to suggest that anyone should refrain from the practice because of their current level of development as a painter. On the contrary, I think it is a superb discipline for any painter, but it should be undertaken in the spirit of the first philosophy I mentioned, not the latter.”