Fresh Off the EaselI am an artist who is committed to making a small painting each day. This practice allows me to develop my personal expressive style with new freedom.
A Celebration of My Daily Painting
Today marks our 1 year anniversary. My wife, Debbie (www.debbiemillerstudio.com) and I have been painting every day for a year now. We have each completed 380+ paintings during this time. On most days we get up at 5 am, grab some coffee and hit the studio. We usually set aside about an hour each morning to paint before heading off to work. There have been a few days where we were too tired in the morning and decided to pick up the painting in the evening, but usually this resulted in less than satisfactory results.
What have I learned?
- I like to paint. (I better like it if I do it every day 🙂 )
- Painting everyday grounds me. I feel that my core soul is alive and I am fresh for the day.
- I have contributed to the world. Little by little, by painting everyday I am adding to the beauty of this world.
- I have improved with practice. I have always been an artist, but until now I have not really been a painter. As I have applied myself, my craft has gotten a lot better.
- I have created a body of work that I am proud of.
Here’s where I started…
And here’s what I made today.
I live in Florida. But I grew up in the Mid-Atlantic, where we were known to have White Christmases, and we sat around blazing fireplaces drinking steaming mugs of hot chocolate in December. So when Christmas time rolls around and it’s still 90 degrees outside, I find myself missing the festive wintery atmosphere of my youth. In an effort to try and make it feel a little more like the holidays, I created this piece of art to capture the joys of a snowy day. Why wait for winter, when you can make your own?
Feel free to turn your Donna Downey Signature Bird Silhouette stencil into any winged creature of your choice. But if you want to create a bird similar to mine, the reference image I used for the Red-bellied Woodpecker can be found here: https://natureismytherapy.com/2014/02/25/why-should-you-care-about-bird-conservation
A Note About Painted Papers
Here’s what I’ve discovered – you can never really have enough painted papers! Sure, you can use store-bought papers in your mixed-media art, but why not create your own?
Making painted papers is a great way to jump-start your creativity when you want to make something, but inspiration is lacking or you don’t have a lot of time. It’s also a fun way to use up extra paint on your palette or make use of projects that didn’t quite work but you don’t want to throw away. Plus it’s a fabulous use of your Gelli plate!
I use everything from junk mail to deli paper (unwaxed paper) to scraps of handmade papers or scrapbooking papers as my starting point. Then I play! I pull out all the stops with texture, mark making, paints, crayons, markers, stencils, and stamps (using permanent inks that won’t reactivate when used in mixed media).
The goal is to get a variety of papers with different background designs, weights, and textures in every value of every shade of the rainbow (plus neutrals).
I store my “stash” of painted papers, sorted by color families, in 1- or 2-gallon zipper-locked plastic bags (in which I punch a few holes to let the air out so they can store flatter). Then I can use the painted pages in torn-paper collage projects or anytime that I need ephemera or a splash of fun color in my artwork.
Here is a very simple technique to spice up your stenciling. I’m going to show you how to use a single Donna Downey signature stencil on multiple surfaces to create a fun new image, then finish it off with words from another one of Donna’s signature designs. (This is a great way to use some of those Gelli prints you’ve made that you’re not sure what to do with or to bust some of your old scrapbook paper stash!)
In 1987, I meet my wife with what I thought was the best pick-up line ever. Unfortunately, it was based on a lie (which she immediately discerned), and it took me over 28 years to make good on that line. Watch how I redeem myself in this instructional video.
Colors I used…
Today we are going to ask our shadow to come out and play. We all have a shadow side. The parts of us that are insecure, afraid or hidden from ourselves and the world. But if we can acknowledge them, then they won’t control us. So I am going to ask you to be brave and invite your shadow side to play.
We all have a story to tell – one that incorporates important elements of our past, mindfulness of our present, and our hopes or dreams for the future. This project introduces you to a multi-layered printing process using a Gelli plate to bring elements of your past, present and future together in images and word. Use the final image as food for thought and inspiration in your art journal, or frame it as a reminder of what is important in your world.
“The one thing that you have that nobody else has is you. Your voice, your mind, your story, your vision. So write and draw and build and play and dance and live as only you can.”
— Neil Gaiman