It's about time I dedicated some effort to this art thing. In the past I've picked professions and careers that have creative elements, or used creativity to get things done better/easier/faster, but until now, never gave my work a chance to stand on its own merits. No excuses, time to banish the demons of indecision, procrastination, limitations. So here I go.
A Painting a Day
Last December, I was captivated by a mid-December snowfall, and when the sun came out on the backyard trees loaded with snow, I just had'ta snap a photo, don't-cha-know. Then I just hadta paint it. And I got to thinking as I was working, "Hey this is a small painting, I could do a lot of these," and started thinking about the general idea of what I could do with a pile of these.
There was a movement, I guess you might call it, that was started back in about 2001 by a guy who decided to produce a paintng a day, and market them online. He was fairly successful. I poked around a bit more in some old art magazines, and online and turned up a half dozen "marketing your art' articles that became the bones of my business plan to do that. I noodled through them, took some notes, nosed back through a copy of 'Art Marketing 101" by Constance Smith (artmarketing.com), made an appointment with some good people at the univeristy Small Business Development Center, and with Jill Berryman, Executive Director at Sierra Arts Foundation, valued friend and tireless supporter of all things art. Now I'm legal, with the appropriate licenses and permits, a domain name and a business plan.
So this is where I start. This website, and the images in the Painting A Day gallery are the first real step in this project.
I did a painting a day, more or less, for about a month and a half, with a full 31 little gems finished as my starting stock. I skipped a day here and there, a couple of days I did two. That might have been a mite ambitious wih all the other projects left undone, so I've scaled back a bit. Several a week seems like a more reasonable long-term goal. I'll do it until it seems like I could better invest my efforts in another way. A year looks pretty good.
I'm mining subjects from my loosely organized trove of travel photos in albums, file boxes, slides, computer images. No particular order, no series athough I've done a couple of pairs here; usually the only things in common with the last are small size and most are done in one shot. I do some pre-visualization to get the process down before I start, but that's it for preparation. I compose the picture right on the paper, no agonizing allowed at that point. I move on to do the washes needed in one pass, with breaks only to allow masking fluid or an adjoing wash to dry. Oh, I may root through an album or two looking for the next subject or two to start visualizing the painting process to come. Psychocybernetics in action. Detail it and sign it, and take it up to the dining room table to show to Joanie, my best critic and first pair of eyes to see it fresh. I'll let it rest overnight and take a look at it again myself over my morning coffee. I've gone back in on a couple and tightened them up a bit. Then on to the next, and the next.
Interestingly, Robert Genn ( www.RobertGenn.com) in one of his twice-weekly letters, proposed an exercise to exorcise the demon of overworked, uncompleted art. Do a hundred small works, no planning, all from memory, limited time, limited pallette, limited brush strokes, get it down, get it done, get on to the next in minutes, not hours, days, months. Do this until the smile on your face tells you you're happy to be cranking 'em out again. Very similar to my process and a real therapy for the tendency to indecision, procrastination, and to overworking that I've so finely tuned until now.