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