Few New Year’s resolutions are as durable as Kellie Marian Hill’s. On New Year’s Day, 2008, Hill vowed to create a painting each day for a year. Now, three years and over 1,000 paintings later, the NC State alum continues to extend that commitment, one day — and one painting — at a time.
Hill’s blog, One Painting a Day, includes a photograph of each day’s painting. A “daily” is usually created in acrylics, which dry faster than oil paint, and usually measures 6 inches by 8 inches or smaller. Although she finishes a painting each day, Hill normally has 20 or more paintings going at once.
“I like to work in layers,” she explains.
A good percentage of Hill’s works are still life studies, “because you can experiment so much with them, and they hold still.” The occasional landscape or portrait also appears.
A Radical Departure
Life as a painter is a shift from Hill’s previous work as a general contractor and also a departure from the architecture degree she earned at NC State. An art career allows her to work from home and take care of her toddler, Naomi.
“After I found out I was pregnant, it seemed like a good time to try to make the art thing work,” she says.
Between sales of her dailies, her larger art, pet commissions, and renting out pieces (“Five paintings for $20 per month. Swap them out and have a rotating art collection!”), she’s managed to make it work economically.
Hill says her design education has been crucial for her development as an artist. Although she never enrolled in a painting course, her design studies taught her to look at things critically and “to look objectively at my own work.”
Today she enjoys looking at her earliest work with new eyes. “Just knowing what colors to use is trial-and-error. I’ve gotten better at that.”
Even while on vacation Hill keeps up her routine, though usually with markers instead of acrylics. And she admits she’s not allowed to stop. Her blog has more than 80 regular followers, many of whom are in the habit of checking her blog each and every day.