Thursday, February 5, 2015

A painting a day....

I have started a new personal project. I call it Morning Paintings (in Dutch it's 'Ochtendschilderingen', which actually sounds a bit more poetic). It was a very spontaneous decision to start these and I'm not even sure why I did, but I do know how it came about. Let me fill you in:

This is the Seawhite of Brighton Eco Sketchbook that I am using for the paintings.

A while back I bought my first sample of Uppercase Magazine when I was in Amsterdam. I very much enjoyed an article about Jennifer Orkin Lewis (aka August Wren). It was about her daily painting project. She does a painting in a sketchbook every single day and has been doing so for over a year now. You can see her sketchbook work here. I dare you not to fall in love.

17 January 2015 (on the inside cover I write the dates and subjects of the paintings and where I painted them)

Her work reminded me of one of my artistic heroes Maira Kalman whose very outspoken gouache paintings I absolutely adore. Now here's the funny thing: as much as I like their work and as much as I admire Jennifer's daily discipline and Maira's work ethic, neither of them truly made me want to do daily paintings of my own.

#1 - My first painting - good morning indeed!

Oddly enough the one who 'made me do it' was Pam Garrison! She put op this post on her blog. It was about her wanting to do a painting and a pattern every day (she's more ambitious than me).

18 + 19 January 2015

I don't know why this made things click inside of me, but since January 17 I've been painting every single morning! I think my approach is quite similar to Jennifer's: I work mainly with gouache, I just fill a page and I try to take no more than about 30 minutes to do it, although sometimes I do take more time.

#2 - This is a place on the island called Kooisplek  as seen through the trees.

I don't really have any rules except to fill the page and to do it every morning, preferably before anything else (otherwise it just won't happen). I'm not calling this a 365 project or anything like that, because that is way too intimidating. I don't even know if I will keep painting, I might switch to some other thing at some point. I'm just taking it one day at a time.

#3 - A pattern with ovals and dots.

To start off I picked a very simple sketchbook by Seawhite of Brighton (because their paper is very allround). It's A5 in size and has only 32 pages. My first goal is simply to fill that sketchbook. I figured that whatever happens I can at least say I filled an entire sketchbook with paintings in a month. I'm over halfway through right now. ;-)

20 + 21 January 2015

This project has already withstood some challenges as I've been to the mainland for four days in the past three weeks already, so on those days I can't paint at home. Gouache is not too practical to take with you, so for those days I have used my pocket sized watercolour box and that works perfectly. Can you see me getting up early in a hotel just so I can paint?

#4 - The babushka's on my table cloth put the Kate Bush song in my head.

That's the other cool part about this. I actually want to get up so I can paint! That's pretty revolutionary for a person who does not like getting up early, haha. Even on my already early start workdays (I start work at 7.00 am!) I get up extra early so I can a paint and I love it. Well...the painting, not the getting up. I have made some simple changes in my routine so I have a little more time in the morning and so far it's all quite manageable.

#5 - Some fantasy flowers.

How this all works out in the long run remains to be seen of course. I'm not making any promises and I'm not making any plans. I'm just enjoying it while it lasts and I'm surprised I'm already in my third week of doing this (can you tell I'm not usually very good with these kinds of commitments?).

22 + 23 January 2015

I will keep you posted on my progress. I'm thinking that no matter what, to do a painting every single morning (and they are no masterpieces mind you!) just has to make you a little better at it, so if anything this is good practice. And you do know how much I like good practice, right?

#6 - A pattern with drops, dots and dashes.

In this post you can see the results of the first week. As you can see there's no rhyme or reason to what I paint. I simply paint what I feel like painting and if that's a simple pattern that's just fine and if it's something realistic that's fine too.

#7 - An imaginary girl.

I hope you enjoyed these first paintings. More will come in future posts and I hope they will keep on coming. Keep your fingers crossed that I can keep this thing up!

Wishing you all a wonderful and artsy day!


  1. How fabulous. Have you seen #28 patterns that Julie Fei-Fan Balzer is doing this month? makes me think of you
    Happy weekend ;-)

    1. Thanks for the link! I love the people who have used photography to create their patterns. What fun. ;-)

  2. Het lijkt me een geweldige routine en goede oefening, zo 's morgens vroeg in alle stilte... ik heb ook wel eens bedacht om zoiets (maar dan met schrijven?) te gaan doen - ik ben meestal veel eerder op dan mijn lief dus geen afleiding - maar het is er nog nooit van gekomen. Wie weet, krijg ik ineens 'de geest' binnenkort... Heb een fijne weekend Caatje!

    1. Schrijven deed ik al, dus dit komt er nog bij. Het werkt voor mij goed om het in de ochtend te doen voor de wereld wakker is. Leuke bijkomstigheid is dat ik nu een beetje makkelijker vroeg op sta, het is een soort verleidingstactiek: sta nou maar op, dan kun je lekker even schilderen. ;-)
      Jij ook fijn weekend!

  3. I love this! And I love how kind to yourself you are! No big declarations, no commitments or promises, or worries about the future. You are just showing up and doing the work because you love it and it's meaningful to you! FABULOUS. And inspiring as always!

    1. Thanks Lynn. It's quite simple really: the more I think about it and make rules and such the harder it gets for me to actually do it. I don't respond well to rules or enforced discipline, even if I'm the one putting it on myself, haha. ;-)

  4. I'm beginning to see why such a project or similar might be a good idea for me after I finish up my too-overwhelming job at the end of June. When I started reading your post I thought about how over-committed I am and how I'm trying hard to let go of commitments just now. But those are mostly commitments to other people. This kind of thing is a commitment to oneself in the most gentle and fun way. I don't think it's about practicing technique, but committing to "meeting" yourself for a brief time on the creative zone and to listen to what wells up and to follow it up - in a relaxed, no big deal way. What I think this kind of thing is practicing is practicing this type of meeting-the-self and just reading your post I began to feel pulled to it, a bit jealous even! What a great sign. Since I'm not so sure I'm interested in painting - at least not much, or all of the time, I started to wonder what I might do... put things on paper? Crochet? Experiment with something else? Play and/or record a tune on my violin? You have sparked such curiousity in me about how I might go about something like this... Thank you!

    1. Thank you Judith. I hope you find a way that works for you.
      This painting every day is really showing me that a little bit of work every day can eventually fill a whole book. I have a tendency to look too much at the whole and not see all the little pieces that make it up. Now I'm consciously doing a little piece every day and I'm learning a different perspective. It's also just nice to paint without thinking too much about the result. Just fill the page, nothing more.

  5. I love them all but especially your imaginary girl - she's AMAZING!! Love it!


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