Daily Painting: A Sideways Look at the Painting-a-Day Art Trend

By Karen Cooper in Misc > Art Opinion

Daily painting—have you googled that lately? I just did a minute ago, and Google gives you around 120,000 results for "daily painting" in quotes. Yahoo does it even better. Maybe they’re just a bit repetitive? 203,000 results on daily painters!

For any inquiring minds that want to know (and even those of you who don’t) daily painting refers to the practice of "a painting a day". That means start a painting in the morning, finish it before beddy-bye.

(And if you’re a purist you finish it far enough in advance of that golden hour that you’ve still got time to photograph it and prepare it for the web before uploading it onto your daily painting blog.)

Just from the numbers it’s easy to see that daily painting is popular, but is it a good or bad thing for artists in the long run?

I’ve followed the original daily painters, and have a lot of respect for Duane and crew. They seized something that was good for them, and went for it. But what about the copycats roaming the virtual streets now? One quick Google trip finds you daily painter websites with membership fees, commission rates, and enough rules and regulations to try even the most patient of souls.

Is this what it takes to be a daily painter? Joining a group? Following specific rules? The majority of art listed on daily painter websites do have the following similarities:

1. Small size – most daily painters restrict themselves to less than 12×12 inches.
2. Simplicity – paintings contains fewer objects, with minimal complexity

At this point I’ll interject that my personal art blog has some entries titled “daily paint”. I’ve also chatted with other daily painters, and often ask, "How do you finish one EVERY bloomin’ day?" Their answers (and my own experience) always lead back to the aforementioned small paintings with a healthy dose of simplicity.

But let’s cut to the chase—here’s the question I’ve been dying to get an answer for:

Does the urge to upload a new painting each and every day cut into the quality and progression of an artist’s work? Does it compel us to simply paint something, anything, with no time to think. . . just to stay in the game?

I’ll be the first to agree that painting every day is essential for getting you where you need to go as an artist, but what really matters more? The completion of a painting every day or the practice of painting every day?

I know what I’ve decided. . . and don’t worry, you’ll still find some posts entitled "daily painting" on my blog in the future. But if there’s a big idea cooking on the easel you might get those in stages instead. And if I’m gone for a day or too, that just means I’m contemplating the next bit a little more thoroughly.

So am I a daily painter? Yes—and in the name of daily practice, I’m hanging in there.

To read more, visit Karen’s blog at www.coopkja.blogspot.com.


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