Monday, November 20, 2006

Duane Keiser - processes and paintings

Night Studio II
oil on linen, 10"x 10" 2003
copyright Duane Keiser and reproduced with his permission

Many people interested in art on the internet have heard of Duane Keiser. Most probably think of him as the man with the "A Painting a Day" blog who initially stimulated the new phenomena for posting a painting a day on a blog and then selling them on the internet. However there's an awful lot more to Duane than nearly two years of daily paintings on his first blog and a phenomenal record of sales.

As his resume reveals, he's been a painter for a very long time. He has an MFA (1990) and is currently an Adjunct Professor of Art (Painting) with the Department of Art and Art History at the University of Richmond in Richmond, Virginia. He has also had work in gallery exhibitions in New York, Boston, New Jersey and Richmond since 1987.

His website, provides an insight into the nature of the paintings he produces for exhibitions as well as some of the best examples of his daily paintings - check out the galleries of "Still Lifes", "Interiors", "Nocturnes" and "Landscapes". Personally, I really like the paintings that convey the subleties of colour that he finds in painting a view which is mostly one colour but also has different textures that in turn have a different response to light. His coloured greys are amazing.

Duane stopped literally posting a painting each day to his blog earlier this year but still posts frequently as he keeps up a remarkable high quality output of small paintings which he still auctions on e-bay. However this year he has started to develop videos and has created two new blogs which convey rather more about the man, how he paints and his thoughts on the process of painting.

His blog "On Painting" started on August 15. In it he writes about painting - how he paints and his take on new developments in the art world and associated phenomena. You can subscribe to this blog and get each new post as it's written by providing your e-mail address.

His first post "On A-Painting-a-Day (Part1)" is about how the painting a day project started. He also expresses his views about others who have also adopted the same concept in "On A-Painting-a-Day (Part 2)". The second paragraph is especially pertinent to those new to the concept - and he provides some excellent advice.
There are two things that are a problem: some of what I am seeing now is people tacking their work onto the business model. I built the business model around my work, not the other way around. In short, the way some painters work doesn't always fit into the PAD idea. I'm not denigrating the work (there are some good painters out there) I'm just saying that everyone has their own unique way of painting and they would be better served, as painters, to design a creative/business model that suits there own unique work instead of trying to fit the proverbial square peg into the round hole. Secondly, the business side of painting has to be kept separate from what happens at the easel, and this is almost impossible if you do not have a sense of who you are as a painter. If you are a beginner, and you become involved in the day to day machinations of what is selling and what is not, it is very hard to treat painting like an exploration... it devolves into a search for answers rather than a search for questions. (Duane Keiser)

Untitled work in progress
oil in linen 16" x 16"
copyright Duane Keiser and reproduced here with his permission

At the beginning of this month, Duane started a second new blog called "Process". This illustrates the process of producing a larger work. He's currently working on a self-portrait of himself in his studio. It's very interesting - both in terms of the composition he's chosen and hearing about the decisions he's making as he progresses the painting.
For this blog I will be documenting the making of a painting: from the development of the initial idea to the finished piece. These will be long-term paintings, typically taking months or longer to complete. They are the projects that I work on in the background of my other work, so there will be days or weeks that I may not work and then spurts of consistent daily painting. The painting I'm starting with is already in progress. I will post the details of the areas that I worked on last. (Duane Keiser)
Duane has also created videos of his painting - but more about those in a later post.

All in all, he's a very interesting man who produces some very interesting paintings. Do take the time to read what he has written and look at some of his larger works - you won't regret it.



  1. Katherine, now there is synchronicity at work. I just mentioned Duane in a comment on your previous post that crossed paths with this post. I love his writing & his painting & his grasp of entrepreneurial cyberspace.

    To sum it up, make the business to serve your work, not the other way around. A tricky thing to do, not only with art.

    Is it relevant here that Hermes is the God of communication, creativity, trickery and trade!

  2. Nice post, Katherine. And Nice summary of Duane's path. He's a gifted, generous and articulate man. Thanks for the news about his larger work blog.


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