Golden Day


Dear Artist,

Called “The Order of the Golden Day,” here’s a bit of fun that can change your life:


“In Rittenhouse Square, Nurse Maids” c.1910
oil painting
by Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones (1885-1968)

You set aside a clear and uncluttered day to work and love your craft. Start early; end late. You put your head down and push yourself from one thing to another. It’s a day where everything comes out of the end of the brush (or pen, or chisel), a luxury day where all that counts is the universe of your creation. After, on your weary way to bed, you can give yourself a badge.

This day has rules: No TV, no email, no phone, no car, no visitors. Add your own personal controls, lack of controls, or whims. Prepare a polite statement for the telephone: (“I’m sorry but there’s a conflagration at my easel — do you mind if we talk tomorrow?”) Even the mayor understands and respects this.


“The Shoe Shop” 1911
oil painting
by Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones

I had my first ten-thousand-dollar-day using this system, but that was a side benefit. The real value is the action on the creativity graph. Creativity is an organ that improves with use and when fully engaged is difficult to wear out or to get stopped. You put your heart into the adventure and try to keep making new demands on yourself. Second-winds and surprising breakthroughs will come as the clock rolls around. Ideas beget ideas. The hand moves faster. Imagination goes off the dial. In a dawn to dusk marathon these hours can be almost disorienting — they are certainly more exciting than any cabaret or racecourse. Before long you’re pushing into bonus territory and you may startle yourself. It won’t kill you. It’ll hook you. You will know that it can be done again and again. It’s a beautiful high, like love itself.


“Shop Girls” 1912
oil painting
by Elizabeth Sparhawk-Jones


Best regards,


PS: “Travelers on the way of dreams receive gladly the badges that they award themselves.” (The Dreamway)

Esoterica: …take a photo of yourself wearing “The Order of the Golden Day” — a badge you have made and given yourself… show your work and a bit of your workspace… “Yes, anywhere, anytime.” (The Dreamway)

This letter was originally published as “Golden Day” on April 24, 2001.


Sara Genn: New Paintings runs until November 2, 2018 at Voltz Clarke Gallery, 141 East 62nd Street, New York City. If you’re in the neighbourhood, we would love to see you there.

“Eternity is in love with the creations of time.” (William Blake)



  1. Love this letter and I am going to do it! Just not today but soon. Thank you. I don’t seem to have big chunks of time so will have to schedule it!

  2. Thank you for posting this, Sara! And especially for the quotations near the end — they linked back to the letter, “Dreamway”, from June 2001.
    THAT letter is wondrous, evocative, and haunting…. and led me to an exploration of obos, and to all kinds of other soulful things.
    All of it is much appreciated.

  3. I just had that day, without the 10000 of course. Not sure about giving myself a badge tho…just knowing Ican do it again and again is enough.

  4. TOTALLY LOVE this :) and have had hoy filled days like this- no badges, just forgetting to eat and mildly annoyed I have to stop to pee. :) :) super gleeful, thrilled and rather wired and unable to sleep when it is all said n done :) Thank you!
    ~Paintings by Julie Northey on Facebook ~ PS I have “full spectrum lighting” which means, if I am not mindful, I could stay up all night and wreck my circadian rhythm

    • Another great article. Such a good idea! Will try and carve out a Golden Day. Would be time well spent. Also, wanted to give a thank you for the painting of yours that was included at the end of the article. It was hard to look at but your courage and honesty depicting a woman as a victim, was so powerfully done. It depicted the raw horror, tragedy., and evil of it. Thank you so much for this excellent representation.

  5. Well, I started this day, Friday, like that just thinking “nothing else but art today”…. and I lettered about four envelopes maybe 6 and then I got busy with other things but I do intend to do this soon. (My art is calligraphy).

    • I so enjoy your excellent thoughts, suggestions . Will pursue them as soon as my Exhibitions is over ..have had to support it by being there all month. Can’t wait! Thanks for taking the time, sharing.

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Featured Workshop

COME PAINT MEXICO with Hermann Brandt
February 20, 2019 to March 6, 2019


I am very happy to be teaching two workshops at Casa Buena Art Retreat Center again next year.  Register for one or stay for both.

THE FIGURE – Feb 20 – 27, ’19. Enjoy working with a live model using dry media. We will deal with proportion, measurement and likeness.

PLEIN AIR – Feb 27 – Mar 6, ’19. Paint authentic Mexico – village life, beaches and landscape. We will deal with composition, light & shadow, color, value and more.

Cost: CAN $1800 + GST. Includes instruction, some art supplies, accommodation, all meals, transportation to and from Puerto Vallarta airport, visits to surrounding areas, a jungle boat ride and a lot of fun.

Contact Jane Romanishko for the extra 3 day “no-pressure” painting option. late afternoon sun on the tip of Savary Island's Indian Point highlights the design elements of the logs and the summer surroundings of the island.

Featured Artist

My enjoyment in representing the beauty of our world with strong design and bold colours is what drives my passion for my landscape painting of Savary Island and other parts of our amazing planet.


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