“Still Life with Italian Plum & Silver Creamer (A Meditation on 10 Years)” (2017)
by Abbey Ryan (1979-)
4 x 6 in, Oil on Linen on Panel
September 23, 2017
by Abbey Ryan
“Today marks 10 years since I began making paintings for this blog. Starting with a pink zinnia, I set out to make a painting a day and to see if I could develop a sustainable painting practice for myself — I had no idea it would lead me to where I am today. Ten years later, my blog has had well beyond a million visitors from over one hundred countries, and my work has been the subject of many interviews and articles, and is in books, magazines, and private, public, and museum collections on six continents. I know these numbers because what comes with the Internet-age is data, and, for better or worse, data is a force of nature. That said, I don’t know exactly how many daily paintings I’ve painted since September 23, 2007. A close estimate is between 1300-1400 hundred paintings.
“More important to me than that number is what my daily painting practice means to me. Spending time doing this created a way of life. Some days are a challenge, but for ten years, this vocation has enriched my life, and this inspires me to continue painting as often as I do. Painting for me is about paying attention and capturing a moment. Contemplative paying attention allows me to have an intimate relationship with my painting subjects. Mutual respect and exchange of energy manifests itself as gesture, movement, weight, edges, texture, and color harmony. I often choose from my collection of handmade pottery or local co-op produce or a scene out my window — and it is magic to me that my subjects can be simultaneously animated and meditative. Painting is both big and small. It is humble and majestic. It is reflective and sometimes difficult. It is present moment and vast potential.
“This blog has made my daily painting practice public, but for me, my daily paintings are intensely personal. They are a sort-of diary of my life. My painting practice is a mindfulness meditation. Through my work, I hope to share with you a sense of awe and wonder I feel about beauty that is all around us in our daily lives. In a small way, I hope my work might awaken the same thing in you.
“Today’s plum is from my local co-op, my colorful shirt was a recent hand-me-down from my wonderful sister, and the silver creamer was an amazing gift I got today.”