What I Learned from Doing “A Painting a Day”

It was a great opportunity as an American Artist to be apart of an evolving national movement started by Duane Kiser.  I wanted to learn something by participating in this event and promoting and selling my paintings online.  The idea was to paint a painting a day for the month of May and auction them on my website www.DarylUrig.com .

My 10 steps of implementation

1.    Painting should be your number one focus. Be committed. Some days you may find you are too busy, but you have made a commitment, so paint.  I believe purchasers want to see a high caliber piece of work and will accept a smaller format.

2.    Be prepared for painting content. I chose to work from photos. So I had 31 images prepared and printed out in advance, although I added and subtracted photos as I progressed.

3.    Be prepared online. Some may want to use eBay to sell their work.  I created an auction interface on my website www.DarylUrig.com. I did not need to share my profits with eBay, but still used PayPal as a payment option. PayPal accounts need to be set up in advance. You will also need a blog, mine is www.DarylUrig.com/blog.

4.    Have Canvases or panels ready to go. I chose 6” w x 4” h 1/8” panels that I gessoed and sanded with 4 coats. I prepared 45 panels.

5.    Be prepared for scale change. That first painting was a little scary because I was setting the tone for the series. I wanted to make a good impression. I never worked this small before, so this was a big change. I eventually learned to simplify. I went bolder and stronger with color and favored the pallet knife. I just liked the knife.

6.    Have a good digital camera. Once each painting is accomplished you will need to post it to your website.  I found wet oil paint could not be scanned on a scanner bed, so photography was the only way to go.

7.    Give yourself time to post images and content. I had a website, a blog, an auction interface, and even did email blast to my subscriber list. This all takes time and energy. You will also need to be familiar with PhotoShop and Dreamweaver to edit images and prepare content for the website.

8.    Blogging & Blasting I chose to blog and email blast my subscribers every 7 days, not everyday as some do. Everyday seemed a little much. I would see my website & website blog statistics jump in user visits on these days.

9.    Tweeted on my Twitter account. I tweeted profusely. I tried to keep it to meaningful content. The kinds of things I would like to read. I even tweeted my blog posts.

10.    Visit other daily painter websites.

So what did I learn as a Painting a Day Oil Painting artist?

In the middle of the project I designed my own Paint Box Easel. It is compact and suitable for having everything at hand while doing smaller paintings. I also changed my physical pallet to have black under the glass that made mixing colors more accurate for me. Making them bolder and deeper. I simplified my marks; scale forced me to do this. I also favored the use of the pallet knife, a personal preference.

I had good days and better days. It was difficult to predict what would receive a bid and what would not. What people like is personal to them. Don’t feel bad if people do not bid like crazy, you are on learning and growing path.

What did I get out of it?

1.    A number of sales
2.    Growing interest amongst collectors
3.    Front page story in a local newspaper. This was a very nice surprise. I posted it to my website if you want to read the pdf here.
4.    Personal direction on types of images I like to paint.
5.    Simplified work
6.    Momentum to publicize work.
7.    An artist website wants to represent my artwork along with 10,000 of other artists for a small fee. Hmmm.
8.    I feel as an American Artist I have added to our economy. I am not sitting idly by waiting for someone else to turn on the switch.
9.    I feel more confident about my work.

Next Step

It is time to evolve a concept and keep the momentum going. I believe the notion of finishing a painting in a day is limiting. But working daily on painting is inspirational. So I will continue to paint daily but enlarge my work to larger paintings with the intention of completing one painting per week. My personal challenge. Starting in June, “A Daily Painter”, A Painting a Week. Let’s see if what I learned from doing the daily painting of simplifying my work can transform my larger new weekly paintings into astonishing works. Check here in June: http://darylurig.com

Still time to visit my daily paintings and bid on a painting here.

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A Painting A Day – Day 21

It was a nice surprise to have the local newspaper do a story on my “Painting a Day”.

Harrison artist accepts challenge. Daryl Urig, and accomplished Harrison artist whose work is displayed throughout country, has taken on the personal challenge of painting one painting each day during the month of May and selling his work online. Read Entire Story, Click Here

I feel that I am learning so much by painting these smaller paintings. It is teaching me to simplify and go bolder with my strokes of color. I have also experimented with different content imagery and am finding the ones I enjoy most. Wouldn’t this be funny if it changes the way I perceive and paint everything?  Isn’t that what the journey is about? Learning.

Visit auction here and place your bid.

American Oil Painter Daryl Urig is a member of The Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Cincinnati Art Club. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati for over 8 years and is president of Total Media Source Inc.

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A Painting a Day – Day 14

American Artist Daryl Urig Painting a Day is continuing through the month. Each painting may be bid on for 15 days. When this time is up the piece is sold to the highest bidder. Auction runs through June 15th.

Collectors and painting enthusiasts have this rare opportunity to purchase one of Urig’s fine paintings. His national recognition is just one example of the importance and value of his paintings.

Below are the first 14 days of paintings. You may bid on them online at http://darylurig.com/auction.html Opening bid is $70. Paintings are oil on 4″ x 6″ panel. Free delivery within the continental United States of America.

Urig is a member of The Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Cincinnati Art Club. He has taught at the University of Cincinnati for over 8 years and is president of Total Media Source Inc.

A Painting a Day, Day 7, by Daryl Urig

Seven days of painting. A painting a day. I never thought it would be this much fun. After thinking about this project I thought it would be nice to do paintings in many different directions. I have this opportunity to see what people most like, why not try and see.

Painted a lighthouse for a friend, a house on a trip to Clifty Falls, a woman walking a dog on the way to the beach, an old downtown street and a young girl at the beach making a drip castle. Snap shots of life.

Below are the first 7 days of my “Daryl Urig’s 31 Days, 31 Paintings, Online May Auction”. You may bid online here: http://darylurig.com/auction.html Opening bid is $70. Paintings are oil on panel, 4″ t x 6″ w. Free delivery in USA.

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Daryl Urig’s 31 Days, 31 Paintings, Online May Auction.

American Artist Daryl Urig is having a 31 day painting event in May 2009. He will paint a painting a day for 31 days then auction them off at http://darylurig.com/
Starts May 1st and runs through June 15th 2009.

Collectors and paintings enthusiasts are encouraged to have fun and bid on his paintings.
It is an exciting way to collect and have an opportunity to purchase one of his fine paintings.


American Artist Daryl Urig is a nationally recognized oil painter and a member of the Portrait Society of America, Oil Painters of America and Cincinnati Art Club.

“If you like American art like I do” says Daryl Urig, “You will want to visit this museum and see so many great American Artists. You don’t hear much about us, but we have been giving American painting its own place in art history.”

The Butler Institute of America located in Youngstown, Ohio. Here is their web address: http://www.butlerart.com/

Paint a Portrait from a Photo or Life? What is the best rule?

As an artist, you hear a lot about this quandary. Both approaches have supporters, but like most things in a subjective field, neither proves to be a clear winner.

It irks me when people say one approach is better than the other, or that one makes you a true artist. The real truth is: you can learn a lot from either approach.

I’ve heard small groups discuss using photography a method of cheating that prevents someone from becoming an artist.  Or that it makes doing art so easy that anyone who uses this process can make instant art. I wish any form of art was that easy.

We, who have tried using photographic reference, know that it does not magically create art. In fact, it’s very difficult to use photographic reference. The camera offers a snapshot of the surface, but it also adds much distortion. Only a very good painter can figure out where to match, change and redraw to get the right illusion of 3-d form on a 2-d surface. Copying exactly, if it were even possible, is only a good starting place.

I think rendering a painting from photographs helps develop the artist’s eye for color. It’s much easier to see warm and cool colors from photographs. However, artists must be careful because photos can also distort certain colors, which appear as grey and brown tones.

In truth, using photos is just a good starting point. It helps you render quick proportions that help speed up the painting process. But they only help create a rough sketch, not a masterpiece. It’s the artists’ job to do this.

Overall, I think it’s easier to draw or paint from life. Painting plein air allows you to immerse yourself in the image you’re rendering.  But if you choose to paint plein air, you must understand that the light will change as the day goes on. You’ll also have to deal with the movements of the model.

My friend, Owen Findsen told me, “We must follow the rules of art; this is, until something better comes along.”  Artists must be creative in all our endeavors and not box ourselves in with heretical thoughts or notions.  So for those of you who have been held back by hindering rules, I implore you, break the rules, and observe Urig’s Rule #1: “You can create art from life or photos!” Then, create!

A Tip from a Painter on Overcoming a Creative Block

I’ve heard other painters discuss a creative block. The thought of this terrifies me. Luckily, in 30 years of painting and designing, I cannot remember this happening.

I am constantly thinking of my next image. Life bombards everyone with stimuli, but an artist must filter it in order to come up with their next visual.

Some painters choose to paint in a consistent style. But I like to depict something new in each series of images. I think my attempt to change styles allows me to avoid creative stagnation and lulls.

For example, my “Woman in the Garden” paintings glow with full color, using contrasting thick and thin paint.  Whereas “Take a Hike” is an explosion of color and texture – a realistic and semi abstract painting.  Furthermore, there’s the collection of grey paintings in my “Keepsake Portraits.” Even all of the paintings from my sketch group look different.

Some people argue that abstract painters, like Picasso, always worked in the same style. But I never saw Pablo Picasso as stagnant. To me, he was an energized, prolific creator who moved in different directions with his artwork while upholding a subtle thread of himself in each painting.

Over time, a uniform style may emerge and I’ll have a total consistency in my work. But my fear is when that happens, I’m dead. And I’m not responding, experimenting or exploring all that is around me. In my opinion, if you force yourself to one style, you self-create a painter’s creative block.