Artist Maria Burtis has worked every single day for the past 3,042 days (and counting). Over 8 years ago, she promised herself that she’d make one small piece of art every single day. It certainly wasn’t easy, she’s stuck to her resolution since 2005 — and with great success, to say the least. Burtis is one of our best selling original artists.
Although the experiment initially began as a way to start making art again after having children, it quickly grew into a new career. “I started by working in a sketchbook and committed to filling one page a day,” Burtis says. “The sketchbook went with me everywhere, so if I only had a minute to draw, that’s what I did.” After a few years, she switched from pencil and pen in a sketchbook to flat paper and acrylic paint. “My work began to get more abstract at that point,” she says. “The everyday things got depicted less literally.”
Burtis finds inspiration in the simple beauty of the world around her. Living in the Bay Area provides her with a varied landscape to draw inspiration from. “The fog, the sun, the water, the hills, the architecture, but mostly the light — all change constantly throughout the day and captivate my attention,” she says. The painting below, “Marina Green 8,” is a stunning expression of a place she loves.
Her life as a mother and homemaker inspires her, too. “I recently found myself painting stacks of laundry — the shapes and the colors were so interesting, and even though the subject matter seems mundane, it reflects the attention and joy I take in tending to these things.”
The painting below, “Laundry,” is the result of this study. “The domestic tasks around the house never really end,” says Burtis. “It can feel frustrating and boring, or you can look for the poetry and presence in it, too.”
Each of Burtis’s paintings is a frozen moment in time, reflecting how she feels, what she sees and thinks at that particular time. “If you look closely at the surfaces of the paintings, there is information that’s right on the surface, then slightly below, and then below that, and below that,” she says. “Each painting is a recording of many many hours of presence. You can sense the artist in the painting, but they are works that are about the universal joy in the everyday.”
Creating something every single day is nothing short of challenging — but Burtis’s eye for finding the beautiful in the ordinary has made her art truly special, including the painting above, titled “Jubliation.” “There’s an amazing thing that’s happening as a result of all these days,” she says. “Not every painting is a winner. There are clunky ones and uninteresting ones. But every once in a while, there’s a breakthrough — a jewel that emerges or a new idea that bubbles to the surface.”