Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Daily art -- why I do it

Yesterday Vickie left a comment on my post about daily collage that read: "What is the benefit you get from this daily creative activity?  I know that many artists have a warm-up each day to get their creative juices flowing.  As a new fiber artist I just want to get started on my work each day and a warm-up seems like time away from the "real thing."  Am I limiting my perspective by not exploring through other media?"

I thought it was an excellent question and wanted to respond in sufficient depth and thoughtfulness to give a good answer.  I discussed a similar question a few years ago but why not have at it again!  I've been doing daily art since 2003, and since 2009 it's been formal: specific rules set at the beginning of the year.  It has become an important part of my life and my art practice.

I don't regard my daily art as a warm-up, as Vickie described it.  I regard it as making art -- just a different body of work than my quilts and mixed media pieces.  It isn't a little five-minute sketch that I whip out on the back of a napkin on my way to the "real" studio; it takes time and thought, which I usually don't begrudge.

I keep what I make and wouldn't mind exhibiting it, although I haven't yet had such opportunities.  I think the "dailyness" of the work is part of its artistic character; some days are stronger than others, but the so-so days act as background to the focal points, just as in any other artistic composition.

When I review my work I like to note how it changes over time, as I try out new techniques and motifs.  For instance, here's a discussion of spirals, which I first explored in my hand-stitched daily art and have carried over into my paper collages.

Vickie asks if she is missing something by focusing on her "real thing" instead of also working in other materials.  I think that's a valid concern; I always struggle against the temptation to work on some peripheral piece instead of what I consider my "real work."  I try to overcome that with rules (that's probably another blog post).

But since I don't regard my daily art as peripheral, I don't worry about it distracting me, any more than I worry about my big quilts distracting me from my collages.  And I don't specifically choose my daily art to be a non-fiber medium.  In fact, in two years I've chosen to work in fiber, once by making a daily quilt square and once through hand-stitching.

Don't know if I have sufficiently explained the magical pull of daily art.  Although many people practice it, I'm sure their motivations aren't all the same as mine.  If you've had your own experience with daily art, please chime in...

(And you can check out all my daily art here.)


  1. i suppose it's also a bit like dancers taking a daily ballet class to keep a strong technique.

  2. Thanks, Kathleen, for the in-depth reply. I can completely understand the desire to be creative in different ways and different media, and to "complete" somrthing daily. I think I will get there. Meanwhile, I'm working through a book called The Trickster's Hat, which procides daily activities from 10 minutes to an hour or so. I'm just getting started, but I believe the idea is to just let go, play, and see what happens. This is really helpful to me as a new artist because I am very goal and product oriented and tend to play it safe. Thanks again for your insight

  3. Please do write about "rules" sometime!