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A Painting A Day - Improve The Quality of Your Work

Updated on May 9, 2015

Dawn Flight

Dawn Flight.  Pastel on Paper
Dawn Flight. Pastel on Paper | Source

A Painting A Day

I've resisted the impulse to commit myself to the huge Internet based campaign of producing a painting a day for almost a year, but I've finally caved in.

Hundreds of artists have taken up the challenge of making a daily painting hoping to realise serious sales with the products, but until a few days ago I managed to talk myself out of joining their ranks, reciting my little list of concerns about producing daily work like a mantra.

How Did the Campaign Start

A painting a Day was the brainchild of Duane Keiser (American Artist) who in 2005 was selling just a few large paintings a year, when he decided to use the Internet as a marketing tool. He committed to spending one to three hours each day producing a painting in oils that he then posts on his blog he sells almost all of his paintings.

Concerns About A Painting A Day

So far, I've spent a whole year procrastinating about producing a painting a day, coming up with a list of arguments of why a painting a day won't work for me. But, over the last couple of weeks, my negativity has turned into positivity. It just took me a year to give myself the talking to that I needed!

Time Committment

I may not succeed. This is true. There may well be some days when I won't achieve the time to paint, but does that actually matter? What terrible fate will befall me if I don't make a daily painting?........Nothing! I just won't have made a painting that day. (I can't tell you what a relief this realisation was).

Looking at life realistically there will be days when I can't commit to painting. There are other things that take precedence - cleaning house, shopping, dog walking, family, sleeping paid work etc etc, but it doesn't matter.

It Just Won't Work with Pastels

I convinced myself that the technique just won't work for pastel painting. Few professional pastel artists fix their work, this means that the painting will smudge unless they are under glass. I convinced myself that my 'painting a day' would therefore have to be mounted and framed before sale. Something that I couldn't afford to do if I were producing over 300 (note, I'm already giving myself at least 65 days off) paintings a year.

Then, I reasoned, Duane paints in oils. Oils remain wet for days or months and are therefore just as 'difficult' as pastels, but he manages this 'difficulty' well. Therefore, I decided that any pastel painting would be sold wrapped in glassine (which prevents smudging) and well protected, for the recipient to frame the painting themselves.


The epiphany that I don't have to mount and frame ALL of my work then made packaging for delivery MUCH simpler. I've simply bought some cardboard tubes, and pieces are sold rolled.

Size Isn't Everything

Much of my work is very large, so I reasoned that there's no way I can produce one large painting a day, and that when I'm working on a large piece there is no spare time to paint a daily small piece alongside. But I don't want to give up painting very large black and white landscapes, as I just love making them.

My solution is to post the progress of a large painting on my website, so that readers can see how one of my large paintings evolves. I then plan to have a limited edition of prints made (my usual print run is only 25 in any case) and sell these. The beauty of this is that I can still commit to daily work and not feel bad that I haven't produced an entire piece. In this way I can maintain the quality of the work I do.

Cost Benefits

There is no doubt that there are cost savings for the buyer when purchasing paintings direct from the artist. Galleries generally charge 30-50% commission, which means that artists have to charge an enhanced fee in order to cover their costs. I have decided to sell my work via etsy (shop up and running 16th Sept 2012 - watch this space) and to post my day's painting on my website www.Georgina and on my painter's online gallery page. This means that I can offer work more cheaply, without the large commission rates.

Daily paintings are also smaller than work that takes weeks or months to produce, further reducing the cost for the buyer.

Thursday's Painting

Early morning From The Artist's Window.  Jackdaws Taking Flight. 9 x 11" Unison Pastels on black sandpaper
Early morning From The Artist's Window. Jackdaws Taking Flight. 9 x 11" Unison Pastels on black sandpaper | Source

Why Didn't I Join A Painting A Day Before?

I have no idea, but I can say what promted me to begin thinking differently was a period of time where my outside commitments were so huge that I didn't pick up a pen or pastel for almost five weeks, which made me feel completely miserable.

Sometimes one just needs a shove in the right direction!

Wednesday's Painting

Rain, Clearing From The North. 9 x 11" Unison Pastels on Fine Sandpaper
Rain, Clearing From The North. 9 x 11" Unison Pastels on Fine Sandpaper | Source

Daily Paintings So Far

My first week of producing a painting a day is almost over. As I thought, Tuesday was difficult and I didn't produce anything that day. A few days I worked on a big monochrome ink drawing, which was great, because having made this commitment I had to sit down and work rather than let household distractions win, and painting improves with practice, so daily practice can only improve the quality of work.

I also produced two small pastel paintings. I must admit, it was challening, producing smaller, less detailed work than usual whilst still conforming to composition and form. Having not picked up my pastels for several weeks, I was soooo out of practice. I'm also experimenting with different supports and these are worked on sandpaper. Anyhow, here they are.


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    • Stephanie Henkel profile image

      Stephanie Henkel 

      6 years ago from USA

      Good luck with your Painting a Day challenge! I recently started concentrating on my watercolor painting again after several years off, and I think that forcing myself to paint every day would be a great way to grow as an artist. I recently discovered your work by hopping hubs, and I love your articles on painting! I look forward to reading many more! :) Voted up!

    • Georgina_writes profile imageAUTHOR

      Georgina Crawford 

      6 years ago from Dartmoor

      Thanks everyone, although I've only just begun, the challenge is going well far. It's great to have the support. And christine, doing 30 hubs in 30 days is also on my list, once I've cracked the painting thing!

    • Thundermama profile image

      Catherine Taylor 

      6 years ago from Canada

      I love this concept. An artist in our village completed this challenge last year it was a real treat to see what she came up with. A lot of people who attended her show bought pieces that were painted on their birthdays. It's amazing to see what you can come up with as an artist when you push yourself and impose a deadline. Good Luck!

    • coffeegginmyrice profile image

      Marites Mabugat-Simbajon 

      6 years ago from Toronto, Ontario

      Would love to share this hub to fellow artist friends who have continued with their painting abilities since school. I have stopped with my own since finding other hobbies seem to fit me better. Keep those paintings coming. The "blue" pastel on paper looks so tranquil and beautiful. Useful! Cheers Georgina!

    • Christine Miranda profile image

      Christine Miranda 

      6 years ago from My office.

      Nice Hub. It can be related to the 30 hubs in 30 days challenges held here. You are right sometimes all it takes is the first step...or shove in the right direction. Good luck! Voted up & interesting.


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