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 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.



  1. Thank you for this article, Katherine. I admire Duane's work too, especially because I am totally unable to make a painting each day ! I always do detailed works and it takes me time to achieve a painting. Somehow, these artists make me think to the Impressionist movement and its painter's rapidity of work.

  2. Does one have to post their paintings for sale to be considered a painter a day, even if one paints and posts each day? Just curious.

  3. Catherine - in fact, if you review the work of various artists you'll see that not all the people who post a painting each day work in an impressionistic way.

    Mike - good question. I produce work most days but don't post it all - but there again I don't wield a brush either! ;)

    I guess anybody who would like a bigger audience for their work could join one of the groups I've identified above irrespective of whether or not their work is for sale. Why don't you ask them?

    Of course with some there are financial considerations as well which might deter if you were not selling your work.

  4. I can attest to the great discipline that these daily painters present. I attempted to create a new style for myself, and post every third day. Then my studio closed for remodel (my own doing - progress) and my laptop computer went with my wife for a few months. Of course, I struggled with my role as a "Mr. Mom" to toddlers and trying to complete paintings.

    Too many things conspired to continue. I wound up selling two of the works, if memory serves me. So, I salute the rigid discipline required for that pursuit. I second the point that one should be already in the habit, and doing one's signature work to succeed at this.

  5. Thank you for writing a summary of this subject. Maybe I'm too critical to ask but does it bother you that some of the daily painters are making paintings that are direct copies of Duane's ideas, often undercutting his price as well? If they are going to post their work as original, they might at least make an attribute.

  6. Katherine,
    I've often thought it might be interesting for you to do an article about those of us who paint each day but who do not always complete alla prima works. Most professional painters I know, including myself, paint long hours every day, but we are not particular fans of alla prima only works. Alla prima is only a part of my body of work and I'm sure others are in that same category. I've never really understood why doing small alla prima paintings is more valued than other daily painting methods. We plein air painters must do quite a dfew alla prima works, but they are no more important than good studio work in my opinion.

  7. Katherine - Thanks for the article, it's a valuable, concise overview of this recent phenomenon.

    There are very few "Daily Painters" in Australia, where I'm from and the tyranny of distance, despite the internet means Australia is slow on the uptake.

    However, one of the interesting things is the "Daily Painting" concept is now morphing away from it's origins. Artists taking the basic idea and making what they want of it.

    Hence, there are more professional artists who are not self-representing participating in a process of releasing affordable, small paintings, on a regular ( not daily ) basis which complements their normal gallery exhibitions.

    I am interested with communicating with other exhibiting artists who also are involved with a variation of "Daily Painting" via their blogs.

    My main art blog is "The Painted Sky"
    My variation on "Daily painting" blog is "The Small Paintings Project"

    PS Katherine, a thousand apologies for my blatent & shameless self-promoting ;)

  8. Laraine - I don't think anybody has a copyright on ideas. Duane doesn't actually do anything too out of the ordinary and I'd be very surprised if he got hot under the collar about the number of people who try to paint his subjects. I think he's rather more concerned that people are painting on a daily basis for the right sort of reasons . Read Keiser on Painting his blog about his approach to oil painting and producing a painting a day for more of his thoughts on this topic (there's a link to both his other blogs in my oil painting section in the right hand column - 'on painting' is all words and 'on process' is all images.)

    He talks about choosing a subject in his 'on painting' blog.

    Of course, the irony, for me, is that every time somebody does copy one of 'his subjects' it almost invariably serves to underline how much better Duane is as a painter.

  9. Linda - I think the painters who don't work alla prima is most everybody else - which makes that rather a big topic!

    I also don't think that all people producing daily paintings on their blogs are necessarily ALWAYS completing a daily painting each day and/or are completing all their paintings on a daily basis.

    Life, as they say, has a habit of getting in the way. Which is why I think a number of artists have probably devised strategies for how to deal with this.

    I know I thought about how I'd deal with it if I was doing it and came up with the following:
    * do a number of starts on one day - and a number of finishes on another
    * paint a batch in one day and then serve them up one at a time (a great strategy if you've got another major commitment which requires more of your time during a day)
    * develop a little store of them and put them on one side for that morning when you wake up with the flu....

    It probably all takes about the same amount of time - just differently distributed.

    The reality is that most people do do their paintings on a daily basis and complete in one sitting - and most people are capable of doing this as well for some of the time - if they so choose

    But it's not a big deal. I really don't mind if not every painting has been done that day.

    However delivering a painting on a regular basis and to a consistently good standard is a big deal. That takes both tenacity and practice!

    It is also a quality which is valued by galleries....

  10. Jim - you make valid points and I never mind anybody including links when they contribute good content to a discussion.

    It's people who do 'Nice' and then leave all their links that *"£$%^ me off. I regard that as spam and don't post their comments on principle!

    I don't think they realise that Google/Blogger has got the software set up so that any links left in comments don't actually count for the purposes of the number of links boosting a Google page rank score.

    You've got to get people making links to your blog because of the quality of your content - and making good quality comments on other people's blogs is much more likely to make people visit yours and then make the link if they like the content.

    Back to your content - I agree, the notion that the production of a collection of small affordable paintings is a good thing is certainly something I've seen take off sincethe advent of the 'painting a day' phenomenum - but it was around beforehand.

    More importantly the credit crunch has still got some way to go and the news was speculating last night about whether recession is just around the corner. Getting good at producing small works is maybe going to be an essential part of every artist's armoury against any 'lows' in the economic cycle. Easy credit - and maybe 'impulse spending' - has gone for good.

  11. Thanks for so many great sites to look at! I'm a long time fan of Duane's work and finally managed to snag an oddment recently. Personally I wouldn't think he worries too much about imitators because they simply aren't him - I never even thought about looking at other painters who did similar work.

    I admire the daily painters because of the commitment it takes. Having tried it myself it actually wasn't quite my cup of tea, didn't fit my practice, and I did end up cheating a wee bit by making several "daily" paintings at once when that was my mood. I now still do this with my tiny horizons and ACEOs, so the experience was useful. Then again, even Duane Keiser no longer does one a day. :)

  12. What I like now is that both Duane and Julian give the name of the person who bought the piece for their collection if they are agreeable.

    I saw your name when you got that oddment and it gave ME a real kick to know that somebody I knew now had an original Duane!

  13. Thanks to Marion for posting a link to this on '' today.

    Read this post for her take on this topic.

  14. Sorry Katherine, it wasn't what I meant (I have some problems to translate my opinions in a correct English) ... I wasn't talking about the impressionist way but the rapidity of working of these painters and, sometimes, the way they use colours, thanks to the contrasts between complementary colours for example. Some of them are using complementary colours to mark the shadows instead of using burnt umber or black, as Monet did.

  15. Katherine, thank you for a great review. I am fairly new to this concept having recently committed to a painting a week. Despite it only being a few weeks my self imposed commitment is already having the desired effect of increasing my practice and challenging me to try new subjects. In particular I find myself making more of small opportunities to paint, so that I will have something to post each weekend. Without the commitment I think the small painting opportunites would have continued to be swallowed up by the mundane demands of life as has been the case for too long - potential practice time slipping by unnoticed.

  16. Another excellent post, thank you catherine.

    the obivious question that most market-place art-makers ask is 'who will buy this? & where can I find them?'

    Joining forces with other professionals to promote oneself is a time-honoured tradition in the arts. art societies such NEAC were born out of the same set of of motivations. But financial considerations aside, artists often group together for the company & to exchange & encourage.

    I'm a founder member of 'International Plein-Air Painters'

    which started out in 2001 (which is a few years before the 'painting a day' individual artists blogs, as far as i know) as a google group with the project of 'a painting a week'. this was called 'tuesday's child' & was lead by the group leader, Jaqc, who gave a prompter for the subject matter such as 'morning', 'joy', 'trees', etc. the paintings were then published all together on the group's notice board along with commentaries that encouraged etc. There was some really good exchanges & meetings.

    i imagine that there were other artists groups doing this regular project work & publishing it on internet back then in 2001, as there well might be now in 2007. might this not be the subject for another of your excellently researched articles, catherine?


  17. Thanks for yet another comprehensive and informative post!

  18. Great summary of the daily painters movement. I once read that it takes 50 repeat actions for anything to become a habit. After 69 daily paintings of my own, I'm addicted and feel morose if I don't get to complete my daily painting.

  19. Thanks Katherine, I learn so much form your posts and the comments from your audience. I have be toying with the idea of starting my own "paint of a day/week" blog recently and I find your post as well as Marion's About:Painting article most useful in my research on how to do it right.

    I recently shared one of Duane's YouTube videos called "Ice cream" on my blog. What I really love about him is that he's a great example for artists who want to make a connection with their audience and develop collectors. For a living artist, I think that's what it's all about!

    Thanks again.

  20. Thanks for this post. I just enjoyed a nice half hour checking out the new Daily Paintworks group and looking at the old favorites. I think any way that artists can make their art and make money at it is a good thing. It brings up lots of questions for me though, about quality vs quantity, art vs. craft, creativity vs production, but I'll save all that for a post on my own blog sometime.


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED AGAIN due to very silly ignorant people who leave spam comments without realising they have no benefit for them.

Please feel free to comment on my Facebook Page as my blog posts are always posted there (but please note anonymous comments are not published and I block and report spammers to Google and on Facebook)

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.