In two days we will begin a painting adventure that will mean that every day of January will be a day spent outside painting...'no matter what'! And I can't wait to get started! If any of you where reading my blog back when this was the way I communicated socially with artists and others who decided to follow it, you may recall that in April 2009 I first began doing these month long painting 'marathons' by painting 4 little 5"x7" paintings every day of that nasty month, up where I lived in Minnesota. I know it's hard to imagine, but that was before we were all on Facebook, don't think I even knew what that was, and the blog was The Way. The reason I started this one had a lot to do with Duane Keiser's 'Painting a Day' blog, where he became incredibly well known, and collected, by painting one little piece per day. That sounds like nothing new now, but in 2004 he began it and in 2009 it was becoming a huge deal.
Like so many other artists who were aware of Duane's blog, I wanted to take on a challenge myself, something that would push my painting skills and knowledge, and that would be fun to put 'out there' for other's to follow. Part of the following along is the educational side of doing this, but it's also about the human interest, especially the interest from other artists, who are intrigued by something that they also might like to try, or can't but want to be there, vicariously. However, I'm very aware that it's to easy to find something of interest as an artist, that another artist is doing and having success with, and get too close to replicating it.
I didn't want to do that... sooooo... I thought that since I am a landscape painter, at the time primarily working outside from life, that a daily painting project outside would make the most sense. Especially since it was March when I was thinking about it, and the weather in Minnesota had kept me studio bound for quite a bit. One painting a day outside didn't get me too excited, there's nothing very challenging about that, so I decided why not try for four a day? That was followed by a September Nocturne Marathon with 2 nocturnes painted a day, a March Madness 3 painting a day marathon, and the last one A Leap Into February, a 4 painting a day marathon in Colorado in 2014.
To the "why" would one want to do this...
First, it's one hell of a lot of work, and I don't mean the painting. Most any painter could go outside daily and paint a painting, even three or four paintings. Many do now on a regular basis. The work is what follows the each day's outside work is more time consuming than the painting time. All work is first photographed, edited, and saved. Then there is descriptive writing, about the day and the work, that is all posted on blogs, websites, Instagram, Facebook, etc.. In our case, Dottie and I both have personal blogs and websites, our Salt Marsh Studios website (where the paintings will be displayed for sale), and a Salt Marsh Studio blog (where we will be posting all of our days work and other 'interesting' news). We're going to try to keep Newsletters going as well. So you see that getting the paintings done is only half of the work, or less. Now, imagine that for 31 days that's all you have time to do... all that you can do or your project will fail. Meaning that when household, auto or familial events arise, you can only hope and pray that they can be dealt with easily and quickly so that you can stay on track. So that's the first reason, the challenge of it all.
Secondly, as a painter there is nothing that is more of a self help than a serious dose of concentrated work, for both the mental, and the practice side of who we are... ie... painting without distraction. How many of us have that in our lives daily? For a month at a time? I know that unless I specifically decide to do something like this sort of a project, I don't. That is the second reason, a selfish self help month.
Thirdly, each of my previous painting marathons, this one included, I had hoped would make me more familiar with where I lived, and put me more in touch with the area or time of year that I was painting. I learned fast how to find nocturnes in the September Nocturne Marathon, how to create ways to stave off snowfall by using a tarp off of the back door of my van in Colorado, and more. Mainly, I found out that I could stay within a few miles of my home, in all of those locations and times, and find anywhere from 112 to 120 paintings to paint... in a month! That was personally the biggest advantage, learning how to "see" paintings where ever I was painting, when all I really wanted to do was to go inside and drink some hot chocolate. The third reason, personal growth as a painter.
Fourth, but not necessarily last, is the discovery that many other artists, and non-artists, loved following along as I went through the daily trials and tribulations of this sort of a project. To this day people tell me that they found out about my paintings via one of these marathons of the past. It's an education for me for sure, but I also found out that there are many others who also get something educational, and entertaining, out of it. That's the fourth reason to do it, that it's an art event that can help inform and entertain others along the way.
So on this Wednesday, January 1, 2020, Dottie and I will begin something together that only accents what our lives have become over the last year and a half or so as we joined them, together. We absolutely love where we live, love painting here, love just being together. I have enthusiastically and whole heartedly fallen in love with this Georgia coast where I am now fortunate to live. Like everyone else though, our studio can capture us in it's comfort, our daily 'needs' for all else other than painting can take us away from being out in the landscape, painting, which is such an integral part of life for us both. We are both very excited to be in a place in life where we are able to do this, and to share it with anyone who wants to follow along as we take on the challenge. I hope that you find it an interesting look into our daily adventures here on Tybee Island and the surrounding coastal area, and that the beauty that has so captivated us is recognized by you in what we do to put it down on canvas.
If you're interested, you can follow our Salt Marsh Studio blog to see how we do. Wishing you all a blessed New Year full of love, happiness and peace, but mostly full of the beautiful gift that life is!