Thursday, December 20, 2018

Thinking about daily art 2

I gave a gallery talk during my show in which I explained how I came to do daily art and how it has become such an important part of my art practice.  It's not just a fast morning warm-up to get me in the mood for my "real" art, or a sketchbook of preliminary ideas that may or may not get used.  To me, it is just as much "real" art as any quilt or collage or sculpture or hand stitching that might hang in a gallery, even though each day's bit may seem small.

I said in the talk that I love the discipline and structure of these projects, and how they allow me to experiment and explore areas that I am unfamiliar or uncomfortable with. 

Daily art allows me to do things I'm afraid to do, while offering a high probability of success.  Even if I start out doing a mediocre job, the structure forces me to stick with it (I've never abandoned a daily art project in 18 years).  Even if today's rendition is pathetic, I can try it again tomorrow and the next day until I get a little better.  It's low risk, because I know every day is not going to be a masterpiece, so no big deal. And yet, the pathetic days are just as much a part of the "real" art as the occasional masterpieces.

In the six weeks since that talk, I have been amazed and gratified at how many people have told me they have resolved to do daily art themselves, and have already started on their projects.  Others have told me they plan to start at the first of the year.

Apparently this concept has struck a chord.  It's a way for very busy people to commit to making art without requiring huge chunks of time.  It's a way for people to take baby steps toward making their artwork more focused, more serious.  And most important, it's lots of fun!!

There are two weeks left until New Year, and that's plenty of time for you to think about whether a daily art project might be something you would enjoy. Think about your own life and what kind of a project would be doable.  Perhaps you can't commit to making a painting every day (although my fellow PYRO Gallery artist Claudia Hammer has done just that)  but you could probably commit to taking one striking photo every day or making one sketch of your daughter or your dog or your sewing machine.

(Buy a really small sketchbook if you're feeling hesitant!  This one is only 3.5 x 4.75 inches.  As the year wore on and I filled each sketchbook, my confidence grew and I bought the next one a little bit bigger.)

Again, if you're feeling hesitant, commit to the month of January rather than the whole year.  You may find that daily art isn't for you, or this particular project isn't for you, or it needs to be redefined to make it work, but give it a go.  And if you love it and stick with it, I guarantee your artistic life will take a new and gratifying turn.

1 comment:

  1. I was first pointed to your blog when I came across an entry on Prayer Flags, & how persons making them are illusioned of them being art, ironically, while looking for ideas & inspirations for Prayer Flags. I liked what I read, & subscribed to your newsletter.

    What I like best about your newsletter is that I can read the entire of it in my inbox, need to visit the blog only to comment, as I'm generally doing this as a break between files at work.

    I have followed every post of yours, & enjoyed, & got educated, though I still remain confused as to what constitutes "art". One of your entries, "Fabric collage -- out in public", was about how there were many collages, & how only few "rose to be art". How did they? How did you decide? I would really like you to discuss this more, sometime.

    "Daily" art seems overwhelming to me. (Anyway, I'm squeamish about the word "create" more than even "art", & I'm a painter, illustrator & crafter.) However, in similar format, I have decided to do weekly craft every Saturday, & have also roped in my mother & sister, (&included my kid daughter by default) & we start this coming weekend. It is like a New Year resolution, so it is to be seen how we keep up, but I thank you totally for the inspiration, you have ingrained it into me that "Art" (or in my case, craft) has to be regular, like exercise :)