Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Why You Should Have An Art Blog - Part 1

I've been playing around with the digital tablet and PS Elements again - not alot to love in this image, but the good thing about it is that in a few months I can see this post again and realize that I've learned something! (Just the sort of thing that this post is talking about! :-)

This post is about why you should bother starting and maintaining an art blog.

When I was sketching last week, I noticed how confident I had become in making marks on the paper. I noticed that I was having an internal dialog with myself about composition, values, etc. It made me realize just how much I have benefited from my blog. I decided to share a few thoughts with you this week in a three part series:
    • what my blog has done for my art
    • what a blog can do for you
    • difficulties: what you'll face and how to face it.
Part I: What my blog has done for my art
  • Made it better - honestly, this was the whole reason I started one. I read other blogs that said how much having a blog improved their work and I wanted to get in on the action. What's the magic? You feel obligated to draw, paint, whatever more often because you have a blog and people are reading it. So, you sit down and do it more often - that, my friends, is the magic, i.e. practice makes you better.
  • Made it a part of my actual life, not just a part of my dream life - like everyone else, I've had sketchbooks and a few art implements kicking around in my moving boxes for years. They used to sit on the shelf and never get used. Occasionally I would pick them up, dust them off, and try something. Usually, the outcome was horrendous as I was so out of practice. Now, art is a regular part of my daily life - I still have three young sons, a husband, a house, and a yard to care for, but I make the time for art.
  • Made me comfortable talking about art - I'm never going to be an expert on art or art history, but at least I am gaining familiarity with the basics and feel comfortable talking with other artists.
  • Made me an artist in my own eyes and in the eyes of others - I would never have called myself that until the last year, I would have just said that I draw. Now, it seems natural to call myself an artist and others are beginning to know me as one.
  • Blogging has given my art an audience - no matter how small the numbers of actual viewers, even less the numbers who like it, blogging has made my art an entity, not just an untidy stack in the corner. Therefore, I am more encouraged to continue learning, improving, spending time, etc...and so the art gets better! :D
Have you ever wanted any of the bolded items above for yourself? Consider starting an art blog. I'm sure there are other ways to grow and develop as an artist, but for me this blog has been instrumental. Never in the past would I have put my artwork high enough on the list of things to do to make it more than a dream.

I'm not trying to set myself up as some example here, I certainly haven't "arrived." When I was sitting down this weekend writing my blog posts for the week I was just thinking about how my life has changed in the last year and thought that maybe there was someone else out there wondering "should I?"


"JeanneG" said...

Do you write up your blogs for the week in advance? I never would have thought of that. I do them as I post them. And usually write about the current work I have done that day or fill in with photos I have taken if I haven't done any art.

I guess I should do more planning for mine. I have gaps of a day or two sometimes. That would help prevent the gaps.

Thanks for the view into your why.

Rose Welty said...

Yes, Jeanne, I do usually write draft posts for each day on the weekends. It is just too crazy here during the week to find brain cycles for writing blog posts. It also frees me up to use the kids' rest times for art alone and not blogging. So, it's not really that I'm organized or disciplined, it just works best for me. And just between us, I get a bit of stage fright...if I have to sit down right now and write something to post it, well, the mind draws a total blank!

The images for the posts usually come throughout the week, they aren't all done on the weekend. :D

Kasie @ ~The Art of Life~ said...

I completely agree Rose. I started my blog as a way to keep myself growing and moving forward in my art. Just the thought that there's someone out there waiting to see the finished piece can really help you to bust the excuses and get to work.

Jeanette said...

Blogs are such an important part of networking for artists I believe.

I started mine to make myself accountable. I'm a procrastinator by nature and knowing others are waiting for action pushes me forward in my art.

To have that network of friends, critics and inspiration is vital to my art life now.

I tend not to plan as such, but I jot down ideas as they come to me during the day and keep them for future posts.

Katherine Tyrrell said...

I've got a long list of draft posts into which I hurl thoughts and interesting links so that when I get a 'dry day' I've usually got something there to pull out and take out for a spin! ;)

Good idea for a series Rose