Book Review: Daily Painting by Carol Marine

I’m always on the lookout for more art books that will help me learn how to be an artist, but many of them don’t focus on the concept of painting daily. This is a review for the book Daily Painting: Paint Small and Often To Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Artist by Carole…

Daily Painting by Carol Marine
Daily Painting by Carol Marine

I’m always on the lookout for more art books that will help me learn how to be an artist, but many of them don’t focus on the concept of painting daily. This is a review for the book Daily Painting: Paint Small and Often To Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Artist by Carole Marine.

Chapter One – How Daily Painting Changed My Life (And Can Change Yours Too!)

Chapter one begins with Carole Marine’s explanation of how she got started with daily painting. She says that painting daily is advantageous as it builds confidence and skills quickly, reduces the costs of selling and increases your opportunities and market. This chapter introduces the topics that other chapters will explore such as establishing routines, building contacts, and so forth. Finally there is an excerpt about other artists that have found success doing daily paintings – both emotionally and financially.

Chapter Two – Materials

Marine covers all the materials and tools she uses on a daily basis. Many of these suggestions are good only for the well established artist with “disposable” income as those just beginning with art may find many of the product suggestions too expensive for their tastes. For example, of the of easel suggestions is a David Sorg “Super 8” that retails for about US$850!

Marine does make other suggestions (including a few brand names that Marine has personally recommended), impressing upon the need to experiment to find what you enjoy using. These aren’t lists of materials designed with an absolute beginner in mind; she briefly mentions details such as the colors she uses, focusing more on tips ideal for intermediate and regular painters.

Chapter Three – Subject Matters

This chapter explores different types of subject matters such as still-life and landscapes. Each section features different artists and why they enjoy painting their chosen subject. Different artists may prefer working from photographs or life, depending upon their styles and requirements. Many of these artists point out that the human eye is quite superior to a camera as it can “capture” a wider range of colors and values. Marine provides a number of great tips on how to take reference photos of your subjects in a natural setting, such as strangers (in cafes for example) and animals.

Chapter Four – Value

Marine points out that values can make or break a painting and strongly influences it’s ability to sell. Marine doesn’t follow Munscell’s value scale where black values are the smallest number. Her reverse use of numbers (with white being the lowest number) may be confusing to some more familiar with the quite-popular value scale. For such an important aspect of art, I would like to have seen more information and examples of values in use.

Chapter Five – Color Mixing

This chapter covers a number of important color theories that absolute beginners may not be aware of and intermediate artists may have not yet explored such as how saturation can be used advantageously. Again, just like chapter four, I would have liked to see more information or exercises.

Chapter Six – Drawing and Proportion

Marine says the best way to get better at drawing is to practice. I agree that this is true, though structured drawing is better than repeating the same mistakes over and over again. Marine suggests using a view finder when working from life as it will help you find a pleasing composition. The rest of this chapter has some tips on how to draw to draw what is really there and not what you think you see.

Chapter Seven – Composition

This chapter includes a number of basic composition rules that can help a beginner make an interesting painting. The chapter begins with the basic rule of thirds before exploring more intricate tips such as kissing objects, tangents, uneven numbers and so forth.

Chapter Eight – Staying Fresh and Loose With Oil

This is an interesting chapter that explores the method and approach that Marine uses to paint. It starts by exploring how to add a ground to your painting before goes into her method of applying paint to the support (or surface). Marine doesn’t follow common painting methods, so this chapter goes into depth on her approach.

I think that if you are an absolute beginner you will probably struggle more with her approach than the others.

Chapter Nine – Fighting Artist’s Block

This chapter features a number of other artist’s inputs upon how to deal with artist block. Marine begins the chapter by explaining how it has troubled her and her own advice; essentially saying that she needed to take an extended leave from painting to recover.

Chapter Ten – How to Photograph and Edit Small Paintings

Marine does make the distinction that depending upon your needs it may be important to hire a professional to photograph your paintings, or invest in educational material specifically for teaching how to take photographs professionally. Marine covers how to take photos on a digital camera, basic editing techniques such as cropping and tips on how to name your files for easier referring to.

Chapter Eleven – Tips for Better Online Sales

Marine admits that she has had issues with galleries, and thus now tends to avoid them, favouring selling her paintings online. She states the depending upon the artwork – such as the size – an artist may like to use both galleries and online to sell their work.

Marine strongly recommends getting a website to showcase your work. She suggests that no matter what platform you are selling on, be careful to not list an original on multiple in case it sells twice. Further, Marine explains a number of ways to help generate traffic on your website such as trading links, making comments, social media, competitions and so forth.

Overall Suggestion

Daily Painting by Carol Marine
Daily Painting by Carol Marine

This book scored 4.8 out of 5 on Amazon, out of 600 reviews. I have to be honest that I found this book somewhat disappointing. I had heard such positive reviews and I didn’t find that this book lived to the same hype that others implied.

I found the book Daily Painting: Paint Small and Often To Become a More Creative, Productive, and Successful Artist conflicted when it comes to which audience it was written for; beginners or established artists. It’s clear that this isn’t a book for an absolute beginner by the expensive product suggestions, however it often lacks information that would benefit intermediate or advanced artists. For example, suggesting easels up to $800 without providing cheaper alternatives is clearly implies the book is not for beginners. Meanwhile Marine explores types of subject matters, not at all in detail, that even beginner artists would be somewhat aware of.

I should point out that this is not a book on art theory. If you want to learn about composition, values, and so forth you will do better looking for a book on that subject. Daily Painting by Carol Marine covers those topics in a way that you may approach them in smaller based exercised suitable for daily painting. It’s a book designed to introduce you to painting on a regular basis and inspire you.

Having read this book, and a number of others, I don’t find it high on my recommendation list. Perhaps as I am currently interested in larger artworks… This is not to say that I didn’t enjoy reading it, I did. If you think this book is suitable for you based upon my summarised chapter descriptions, definitely take the plunge. This feels more like a motivational book than a book on art theory or practical tips. The concept of daily painting is quite interesting – one I hope I will try myself – and Carol Marine does a good job at providing any audience level an insight into the industry.

Leave a Reply