One of the things the last two daily painters I talked with on the podcast (episodes coming out later in the spring) made really clear is that daily painting as a concept is limited in its scope.
I don’t mean that pejoratively. I don’t mean it’s less than other work. But it’s part of a practice. It’s not necessarily the whole practice.
And that's an important distinction.
My daily work from this week
This was very clear talking with Lisa Daria Kennedy. She does several different types of work and she sets very different parameters for each of them. (Man. Should have asked her more about that...but didn’t.)
She has very clear rules for her daily painting. Finished in the morning. Takes less than a few hours. Limited palette. Live flowers (unless traveling.) Doesn’t go back and fiddle. Next day, the next painting.
There’s freedom in knowing what something is and what something is NOT. It gives you permission to not have to be all the things at all the time. You can say yes to this focused scope and feel wildly free in it.
Then, later, if you feel like it’s not meeting some needs, start other work with different clearly defined goals to explore that.
Painting has taught me the freedom of a narrow definition. I don’t think we realize how much brain energy we spend asking ourselves, “Is this enough? How about this? Should we be doing this and that?”
Not only is it exhausting, but it makes it hard to know if you’re ever finished with the canvas. If you’ve met any of your goals defined or undefined. So even if the goal is something as loose as, “play with floral shapes in an abstracted way” that gives you permission to not have anything necessarily look like a bouquet.
I’m daily painting again. Or at least putting in my best faith effort. And I’ve found it way more liberating this time through thinking about how Kennedy approaches her work- with clarity of purpose.
These daily paintings don’t have to be the end all be all. They are my way of showing up each day. “Praying with color” as daily painter Debbie Miller says. A way of being present in my commitment to my art practice.