Painting-a-Day


In my on-going quest to rediscover the pleasure of just painting, I blundered upon a large and growing internet-based art movement; Daily Painting. Apparently only going since 2006 as a informal, blog-based idea, it works on several levels. It's an education to see other artists' set-ups, thoughts and working practices -often along with step-by-step demonstrations and explanations of techniques. 

For the artists, it's an encouragement to practice every day. They can then sell originals by availing of several internet outlets, such as Etsy, eBay or just through the blog itself, with a link to PayPal. It's a super way for the general public to buy reasonably priced original artworks, with no gallery fees. Most of the resulting artworks are small, since they're only studies -often around 6" x 8". 

My own favourite is Peter Yesis' Daily Painting Practice. He loves to share knowledge and his good-humour and modesty comes across in his writing. Like all the daily painters, his output is prodigious. Another is Carole Marine's . I find her style captivating -a great sense of colour with a beautifully spare technique that belies the amount of skill and work that goes into each piece. For the same reasons, I like the work of Qiang-Huang.

For my part, I have set up my own Daily Studies in Oils blog. I didn't realise how difficult it would be to paint with no art director or client to comment or make changes -just me and a blank canvas. It's also surprising how different the required skills are from illustration. It's going to be a long haul but I'm going to enjoy every minute. Now, before the light goes...

Snail's Pace Illustration Step...by...Step. John McElligott of eBay

illustration in acrylics on paper about eBay MD John McElligott for Sunday Tribune newspaper
illustration in acrylics on paper about eBay MD John McElligott for Sunday Tribune newspaper
Back to the world of editorial illustration. Last Sunday saw the publication of this meisterwerk in the Sunday Tribune. It was commissioned to accompany a profile article on John McElligott, MD of eBay Ireland. McElligott made the point that rollout of broadband in Ireland is proceeding very slowly indeed and is an impediment to online business, nay; an embarrassment . And so say all of us.

After presenting a few ideas, all along the same lines, the 'Traveller's Caravan' idea was selected, I think because it conveyed the idea of commerce more succinctly [and isn't eBay the territory of second-hand goods' sales and virtual tinkerers?] Additionally, it gives a sense of old Ireland and its unhurried ways.

Pencil sketches for editorial illustration on John McElligott of eBay
Pencil sketches for editorial illustration on John McElligott of eBay
Once I got the go-ahead, I sketched the composition out on the stretched board, as usual and layed down a wash of sap green.

Preparation underpainting for editorial illustration on John McElligott of eBay
Preparation underpainting for editorial illustration on John McElligott of eBay
Part of the idea was for certain elements to break the bounds of the background. I also felt that the character should have an air of someone confounded by his circumstance, rather than horse-whipping the snails, as in the preliminary sketch*. It only remained to start working up the colour. I added a flat cap to one of the snail team to emphasise the bucolic atmos. In so doing, I inadvertently made the snail look like Jackie Healy-Rae. Cool!

Acrylics on Galeria textured paper. 12" x 10"


*Only some snails were cruelly bludgeoned during the making of this illustration