I’ve been making one small painting every single day for the last 2000 days. After five years, I've no intention of stopping.
|Daily Painting #1839, Rockport|
|#1014, Purple Flowers in Pesto Jar|
At the age of 29 I was a full-time lead artist in the giftware industry when I was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. After six rounds of chemotherapy, one month of radiation, and now, years of monitoring to make sure I’m still cancer free, my perspective has changed - I discovered living is not just surviving. During my recovery, I became acutely aware of all the time I’d wasted and all the things I hadn't done. Time was my protagonist and my in-house job demanded long hours. I envisioned and fantasized freelancing as a way to reclaim control of my time - so, that same year, I started freelancing as a designer and illustrator. Eleven years later, I still freelance in these fields but my focus has shifted, my projects are no longer solely client driven, but also self guided.
Freelancing afforded control of my schedule, but I felt intimidated by this new found freedom. Between client projects I had significant down time that I wanted to use productively. My illness also left me facing an existential crisis, I questioned, who am I? What does it all mean? Psychologically, existentially, transcendentally - what can a life amount to? I wanted to start painting, but I had trouble working up momentum. After all I had been through, the idea of starting an artistic project and failing was terrifying. I had a moment of clarity and pared the creative process down to this one idea - show up for the job. I started showing up for my new job in 2009 and without excuse I wake up every day at five and I paint.
At the end of the day, I scan the painting, number and title it. Each title reflects something that happened during the day, like a journal entry. Finally, I post the piece to my blog, lisadaria.blogspot.com and disperse it through social media to over 2000 followers, worldwide. For those who follow my blog, the paintings chronicle events in my life yet the subject matter itself staves off the worry. If painting number eleven doesn’t work out as expected, there is always number twelve (or number 2001.)
I happened upon other bloggers whose studio practice also reflected a daily ritual as their central theme. The cumulative day-to-day process results in a link to cultural, temporal and natural time. The product of this ritualistic behavior not only results in a personal chronicling of days, but also in a complex web of connectedness to the human condition - giving context to individual existence compared to the vastness of the overall human experience.
|Daily Painting #1048, The Moon|
As a freelancer, I find that routines are simultaneously freeing and grounding. I've expanded my daily painting practice and also work on larger pieces. I have been invited to several cities to teach workshops on the discipline of daily painting and the art of loosening up. And it's not all work in my day-to-day anymore, I schedule time for all those things I couldn't do while working in-house, like kayaking and dog walks.
|Demonstrating daily painting at workshop in Nashville.|
|Walking Brie, the dog.|
|The Glades, 30" x 40"|
|Studio Painting, 24" x 30"|
Lisa Daria Kennedy grew up along the northeast edge of the Hockomock Swamp in
Since 2009, she has been committed to an on-going daily painting project in which she creates
one small acrylic painting a day. As a young adult cancer survivor, she discovered living is not just surviving. The small, intimate paintings of everyday subjects seek to give a voice to the fiber of the everyday.
Kennedy received a BA from Roger Williams University (1995) in Graphic Design, a BFA from
Massachusetts College of Art and Design in Illustration (1998), and an MFA from the
Massachusetts College of Art and Design in 2D (2013). She has worked as a product and surface
designer in the international giftware industry. Currently she is the Design Editor for the
literary publication, Mount Hope and an Adjunct Professor at the Massachusetts College of
Art and Design.
To see more of Lisa's work, or to purchase a painting, visit: