Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Daily painters, paintings and paintworks - and where you can see them

The new Daily Paintworks website
See below for the names of participating artists

The daily painting movement has seen more than a few sites come and go in the last 18 months or so - but I was extremely pleased yesterday to see the announcement of a new site - Daily Paintworks. This new site includes some of my favourite female artists who paint every day - Karin Jurick, Carol Marine, Sarah Wimperis and Belinda del Pesco - as well as a number of other names who will be well known to the daily painting fraternity.

For today's post, I've decided to place this new site in the context of all the other daily painting sites that I know of and to check out the current state of play as we near the end of 2007.

The original and the best

For me, there is absolutely no question that, in terms of delivering daily paintings for sale on a daily basis, the 'godfather' of the recent movement has been Duane Keiser with his very successful A Painting a Day - by Duane Keiser blog and his auction site on e-bay. The prices and sales of daily paintings that he achieved in this way left many other painters with open mouths.....

The only other artist I list in my blogroll section about 'Painting a Day Blogs' is Julian Merrow Smith with Postcard from Provence.
He followed fast on the heels of Duane, eschewed e-bay and initially sold direct - but now auctions direct and is an equally accomplished artist.

Both these men consistently posted a daily painting for well over a year before they started to ease back and miss the odd day now and again. Their combined success and press coverage triggered most of the susbsequent interest in the painting a day movement.

Neither of them have ever joined groups of other painters. Both continue to post a daily painting on most days each week. They are long time long term artists who paint virtually everyday and produce much larger works as well as daily paintings.

Daily Painting - the movement

The success these two men enjoyed triggered interest amongst a large number of artists who wanted to emulate their success. As a result, a lot of new blogs emerged and then subsequently a number of groups of artists developed which were ostensibly associated with the daily painting / painting a day movement. Subsequently there was much cameraderie and not a little frisson - and, if truth be told, more than a little friction, people who have been fractious and fractures which led to a number of different groups.

I've sat and watched most of what has happened without much comment so far (save for a couple of posts - see links at the end). Personally I think one only has to look at most 'bubble' type ventures to know that most tend to go pfffftt at the end of the day - from the South Sea Bubble to the dot.com bubble.

I hestitate to comment on the developments now but what I've observed at times has been disappointing. Some egos jockeying for position and sometimes not a lot of thought about the business end of running a group long term and who would/could get on with who. Some groups seemed to develop with little understanding of their marketplace, the nature of the business model they were adopting and without getting to know both people and their agendas first. It's difficult enough at times having conversations with people you know over the internet without introducing yet more difficulties.

However, what I now observe is that those who have stuck with it are pulling through and are finding ways of working together which work for them.

Daily Paintworks

What I find very promising about the new Daily Paintworks group is that it is made up of established self-representing artists who have 'stayed the course' and developed 'the habit' of delivering a painting a day or producing on a regular basis. They have also had time to work out what they are trying to do, what they want to achieve and how they want to work with others. Some have gallery representation and some don't but they all do business online.

I very much like the emphasis on education and sharing that their site has - it also includes videos and details about workshops. Plus for me, scanning up to twelve good quality paintings each day is not a hassle and I have already subscribed for my daily e-mail. Apart from anything else it makes my visits to my 'regulars' much easier!

The members of Daily Paintworks, in alphabetical order, are: Tom Brown, Justin Clayton, Belinda Del Pesco, Qiang Huang, Karin Jurick, Aaron Lifferth, Carol Marine, Darren Maurer, J Matt Miller, Michael Naples, Sarah Wimperis and Peter Yesis. You can also read more about them on their bio pages accessed via the contact page on their new website. They're also going to be advertising on a monthly basis in American Art Collector.

Other painting a day / daily painting / daily painters groups

Other groups I've had on my list of daily painting groups for some time include the following sites.

The Daily Painters Art Gallery was set up by Micah Condon. This is the fee-paying site which gew out of the original Daily Painters Group. The original site, for a brief time, introduced me to a wonderful range of artists - some of whom have ended up in my blogroll as a result. After the new group (this site) was set up I kept my subscription going for some time but confess I stopped it when the quality of the paintings seemed to deteriorate. However checking back this morning I can see that the quality has improved again and all the members blogs which I checked at random are producing small paintings on a regular basis and have been doing for some time.

It's really good to see that introducing some quality control measures makes this website much more meaningful. The overall number of members is controlled (current limit is 120) and individual members now have to demonstrate that they have produced daily paintings over a number of months before they are eligible for membership. The monthly membership fee is now set at $29. The site claims over 1,000 unique visitors per day to its home page and site wide over 3,000 visits/day. The presentation of the artists - either alphabetically or by location has also improved. I'll be subscribing again with a view to looking out for new artists to feature on this blog.

The Daily Painters Guild represents a small and some would say an elite group of artists who paint every day. They were the first group to set up a website for a small group of painters who described themselves as distinctly different painters producing high-quality images.

However, the site no longer appears to be regularly updated as new work is produced judging by the age of images which are currently included on the splash page. I also can't find the Daily Guild widget in the side column of some of the member artists - such as Karin Jurick and Carol Marine - who are both new members of Daily Paintworks. However new members of Daily Paintworks also continue to display the Daily Painters Guild banner. So do I detect a parting of the ways....or not?

The Daily Painters Webring is described as a community ring of painting a day artists. My sampling indicated that although a lot produce 'nearly every day' some are more like 'nearly every week'.

The webring works on the basis of gathering links in from lots of artists to give it status and then featuring one artist each day. It's a nice model insofar as it doesn't overload subscribers with information and everybody gets their 'day in the sun'. However the value of web-rings is debateable given Google's apparent stance on sites set up to list links (which I'm going to be blogging about shortly).

The Daily Painters Marketplace Blog was set up by Peggy Conyers as part of the fall-out of the original daily painters group It's described as a collective of self-representing daily painters.

It won blog of the day on 24th February this year, at which point visits took off. It has averaged about 700+ posts each month since March this year. Your scrolling finger works over time on this one but the advantage is you see more details of the post at the same time as you view the image.

It has a long list of participating artists but not all of the ones I visited paint on a regular basis and some haven't painted anything for the blog for a very long time. Some are struggling to produce one a month. Judging by my random selection of artists I don't think all participating artists are actually participating and hence the blog is not very representative of daily paintings. However it looks like it may well work for those who want to highlight that they sometimes produces a small work.

The Daily Painters Google Group used to be associated with the original group set up by Micah until he stepped out to go off and set up his new group. It's been retained as a discussion group - although some of its members have not always understood what that has meant and recently it was dominated by one voice for far too long according to a number of its members. It's a lot less active than it used to be although it appears to still be a useful place to exchange information about the practice of daily painting.

Along the way I know of at least two other sites which have bitten the dust.

Other Information and Listings ...and what ranks on Google

Just as a matter of interest I googled various search terms - and this is what I got.
In conclusion, what I've got from this review is that it's more likely that people who paint well and have persistence (some would say stickability) and a good basic business model will endure. They will paint every day, they will display new paintings on a very regular basis, they will ride out the comings and goings and difficult marketplaces and they will keep posting.........

Which ones make money is down to individual preferences and the marketplace - but I know who I'd be buying.

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