Duane Keiser’s Found: Project

The founder of the Painting A Day Movement, Richmond artist Duane Keiser, has started an interesting experiment, called Found:

In his blog, A Painting a Day Duane has invited us to collaborate with him in the creation of art.

One of the many satisfying moments I have as a painter is when someone brings me something to paint. Aside from the kindness inherent in such a gesture, it is satisfying to me because it means that, at least for a moment, they saw a fragment of the world through my eyes. Some object points them to my work and they can almost see how I might paint it. Indeed, in some sense the object is already painted because the person who brought it to me had some notion how it would look on canvas– they become painters even if they never picked up a brush.The first painting at the Found: Project is a gentle quiet painting of a skeleton key.Although I have no way of knowing how many items he’s received, I know that there was something in this key which matched Duane’s criteria and viola

Duane has invited us to participate in the creative process by sending him items to paint that are ‘oddment’ size (it can fit in the palm of your hand). Of course there are some ground rules, and you have to allow for the fact that what fascinates you, might not fascinate him.

The simple idea that he’s asked me to use my eyes; and that he gets to see the world through my eyes is so exciting.

Currently there are two paintings that he’s completed at Found. In order to explore this idea further I am going to make a few assumptions. In his rules, Duane states that the person who send in the item has the first opportunity to purchase the oddment.


Amherst Avenue Key by Duane Keiser

Because this painting is in the collection of Ms. Irene Aston Ziegler, I am assuming that the person who now owns the painting submitted the item. Although I have no way of knowing how many items he’s received, I know that there was something in this key which matched Duane’s criteria and viola.

When discussing the result of the collaboration, Duane states:

My painting may end up looking very different than the one they had in their mind but the initial interest in it, the shared vision of its potential as something worth painting according to a shared painterly aesthetic, is the same.

So now I am curious. Did Ms. Ziegler see the key this way when she sent it to Duane? What drew you to the key and did Duane capture it? Did he see and subsequently capture the same things you saw?

When I first saw the painting I wondered if the gleaming light on that silvery metal was what drew her to the item or was it the solid weight of the key?

I’d also ask Ms. Ziegler a final question. Now, having seen Duane’s painting of your key~ how has viewing his painting shifted your perceptions of the key? Did he captured something you hadn’t considered?

I guess its the idea of how much does one individual’s observations affect another’s is what interests me the most about this entire project.

This is the second painting that Duane painted at his Found Project and to me it’s subject is not as solid as the gleaming key.

Pussy Willow

Pussy Willow by Duane Keiser

I believe Duane captured the wonderfully soft and ethereal quality of subject. This is another gentle quiet painting. I love how he left the base incomplete, as if to suggest this is here now, but soon, soon it will be only a memory.

Addendum, Duane’s answered some of these questions in this entry in blog On Painting


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