I first heard of daily painting from Cornish artist, Andrew Tozer, when I attended his short course at the Newlyn School of Art. Leaving there with a new found enthusiasm for painting and a revived motivation to paint as much as possible, I read Daily Painting by Carol Marine. After that, I promised myself I’d try and paint or draw most days.
Daily painting stems from long standing advice to budding and professional artists to practice art for an hour every day. It’s the main way to improve your artistic skills and style. You can keep your work relatively small and you don’t have to paint. Sketching, drawing, using pastels, or whatever you feel like using is encouraged. Every day you start a new piece of art, which I like. I don’t always want to return to something I did the day before. As time is a bit limited, painting daily also makes you focus on what you’re doing. Improvement is inevitable.
I started the daily painting challenge about 5 months ago. I confess, I haven’t been painting or drawing “most” days as intended. Some weeks have been better than others. If painting happens, it usually takes place at about 9pm. It’s not always a time I want to be getting the paints out. Even so, there have been peaks and troughs but definitely no drawbacks (aside from a stinky stay wet palette). If anything, I’ve experienced some of the many benefits of daily painting, and it’s not all about the art.
Whether you’re a novice, or a skilled artist who wants to improve and move on to the next level, here’s how daily painting can benefit you.
Your Skills Will Improve With Daily Painting
It’s an obvious one but painting daily, or as many days as you can, will increase your productivity.
Your skills will improve.
As a beginner I gave myself permission to paint or draw anything. I’ve made the time to do some mark marking with my brushes. It’s good to get colour mixing too and experiment with your palette too (because you really don’t need to buy all the paints). You don’t have to paint or draw anything elaborate either. I’ve used lots of objects from around the home, and keeping it simple has definitely helped me, especially as a beginner.
What I like about daily painting is that it comes with a lack of rules or pressure. It can be what you want to be. Sometimes I sketch boat outlines in my sketchbook or practice shading. You don’t have to complete a set piece. Whatever you do will enable you to become a better artist.
I’d advise taking a photo of your work after your session as well. This will give you a different perspective of your work. Usually I find my paintings look better on my phone than they do in real life! It gives you the experience of how someone else would see it.
Daily Painting Encourages Exploration
Giving yourself an hour to do something creative can mean many things. I like that the daily painting initiative is non-prescriptive. In fact, I find it quite liberating. Sure, it can be a bit frustrating when I make a mistake, or a picture doesn’t quite work out but that’s all part of it. Plus, if you use acrylic paint, it’s very forgiving. You can just paint over it.
Daily painting allows us to explore, be inventive, and innovative. You can draw outside the lines! There’s freedom attached to it, where exploring’s safe as there are no consequences. Art is an impression or expression of something so you really can think out of the box and go a bit crazy.
If I’ve put aside an hour to paint, I can’t help but feel happy and satisfied. One reason I took up daily painting was to do something solely for me. I have no expectations in relation to my painting or drawing. It’s more about having the time to do something I like. It’s a skill I want to improve that also happens to be relaxing. Much like running, it’s protected time for me amongst the chaos and endless, everyday demands I face, like many others. I like to have no distractions or interruptions too when painting or drawing. It’s rare for me to have the TV or music on if I’m at home. I totally embrace the peace and quiet that surrounds me.
Mental Health and Emotional Wellbeing
Engaging in a creative activity is beneficial for stress relief, with art having a reputation for being relaxing and calming. I zone out quite a bit when I’m in the throws of painting and often can’t believe where the time’s gone. This is particularly beneficial when there’s something on my mind as it totally distracts from any worries. Being creative and doing something artistic enhances mindfulness too. Being totally immersed in the here and now, and paying attention to the artistic process increases awareness and attunement.
There’s no doubt that completing works of art, at any level, increases self-esteem. To be creative, knowing there’s no right, wrong or absolute answer, will inevitably enhance problem solving skills. Just think of the sense of mastery and achievement experienced when you finish drawing or painting. There’s much satisfaction to be gained from standing back, looking at your work and thinking, “I did that!”
Of course, if you’re new to art and you are engaging with it frequently, new brain connections will be made. Painting or drawing for an hour daily requires considerable concentration. It’s not just about slapping some paint onto a surface. You’re having to pay attention to tones, light, shadow, perspective, and relay all of this information in your artwork. Hand-eye coordination skills can improve markedly with daily painting, as well as impulse control.
Daily painting has definitely bought a sense of calm and slowness to my life that wasn’t there before. Admittedly this doesn’t happen every day but when I get out my paints or pencils, it feels like a treat. I experience so much joy and contentment when drawing or painting. I spent many hours drawing when younger and I’m now re-experiencing that all over again. It’s been a good exercise for me to come back to art and explore my creativity. I know I’m just a beginner and my art is amateur, but I definitely feel more confident in my ability and willingness to explore my creativity.
Have you tried daily painting? Are you someone who likes to paint, draw or sketch and are wondering where to go with it next? What benefits have you discovered from being creative?