30
Nov

Watercolor: Amber Candle, Kitchen Counter (& Should you Start an Art Blog?

painting-reflections-in-watercolor

Amber Candle, Kitchen Counter 7×10 Watercolor (Sold)

If you’ve wondered about starting an art blog, and backed away from the idea frantically waving the bold lettered banner “I have nothing to say” or “I hate to write” – consider this: I used to hate writing, until I started to write about ART. And I used to think I had nothing to say, but my friends reminded me that – in person – I talk all-the-time. (Hand rubbing chin, thinking…  Hmmm, Oh yeahhh… I’m talky!) I had only focused on the knocking-knees and chattering-teeth fear associated with the obligation of writing regularly, and the intimidation of posting my work online in front of a global audience.

Here is a great article from the folks at Patreon about blogging as a creative person:

To Blog or Not to Blog: A Question For All Creators

In my resistance to write & share art, I failed to consider

  • the potential to find art collectors who liked my work
  • the tickle-reminder from my waiting-for-a-new-post blog might lure me into the studio more often
  • the possibility that I might inspire another artist
  • or meet artists from other parts of the world
  • or discover new online venues to show my work
  • or that art supply manufacturers might send me new products to test
  • or that I’d get pretty comfortable speaking about my art at shows because I had practiced writing about my work regularly.

 All of that happened because of this blog.

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Talking to patrons at the San Diego Artwalk

Pondering your own feelings & process on this might be worth a little time. When I started this blog in 2005, I wrote the title of the art, the size and medium, and added a link to buy it. That’s it. Nothing too adventurous because I was so nervous to publicize my paintings.  To spur me on, I found online communities with weekly assignments, like Illustration Friday and Danny Gregory’s Every Day Matters Sketch group.  It took awhile to find my groove. But that’s expected with anything new, right?

little-watercolor-of-frida

A typical blog post from me in 2006 – not a lot of writing.

The simple, doable task of regular posting – just a painting & a line or two – emboldened me to write a little more as the months went by. “Baby steps” progress works.

  • Blogging is the Toastmasters to writing and speaking about your work more comfortably and professionally.

If you want to sell your art, eventually, you will have to speak about it at exhibits and write about it for submissions and show catalogues, etc. And relying on broadcasts to social media alone is brief, since the average lifespan of a post on twitter is about 18 minutes, and Facebook is 5 hours, but blog posts will stick around for 2 years. Plus, you can start with the blog post, and propagate that to social media with tools to help automate the process.

newnotablebookshelf

If you love books and reading, I’ll bet you can write well too.

After practicing writing about art on this blog for a decade, I now gush words, and spew them onto these posts like a fire-hydrant of verbiage. Just look at this post, fer cryin’ out loud! I’m a chorus-line of tumbling art-thoughts, like clothes waving at you from a laundry line in the wind. I go on and on and on.. 🙂 But, it’s because I want you to step over that threshold, and begin. If I can do it, you can too!

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Posting regularly incites a form of chrysalis; you can start like I did – by listing the title and the dimension of your work, and then a few months later, you might venture into blogging by saying:

  • why you chose a particular color in the art
  • you could add commentary from your furry studio assistant
  • perhaps share images snapped from your favorite art book this month
  • what inspired you from those pages?
  • feature art & a blog from another artist you admire.

Ease into it, like you’re stepping into the pool slowly on a squinty summer day. Pretty soon, you’ll be swimming – and eventually you’ll write a little more about YOU. That’s what everyone is interested in, after all. Imagine if every painting hanging in a museum was a portal to watch the artist who made it. What if we could see back in time, and get to know them in their studios?

  • The human element of art-making is the most compelling part of the process; we want to know Who made that?
1976belindaatthebeach

Drawing in the sand & dreaming about being an artist at sixteen…

After a year of just two or three posts a month, you’ll learn so much about yourself by reading backwards in time. You’ll see the growth of your work, your emergence as an artist standing tall in a public arena, and you may even discover that you enjoy writing about art.  Schedule 15 minutes twice a month – that’s just once every two weeks, to post something on a blog, and write a little sentence about it as though you’re talking to your best and most trusted friend or family member. If you haven’t made any new work lately, pull images from your archive.

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Trust me; you just have to start, and with regular, simple posts, you’ll get more and more comfortable sharing what you make with your own two hands. If you already have a blog that’s neglected, bring it back to life. Other artists will visit and leave comments and complimentary remarks, and you’ll make online friends. That’s how I met YOU, after all, right?

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In the studio, thinking about sharing work process online – circa 2004

Here’s a great little #inspiration & online #connection story for you about a grumpy, 75 year old non-technical grandfather who hadn’t even used email, begrudgingly agreeing to post one Instagram drawing a day for his far-away grandchildren.

 So, if you do decide to begin an art blog, remember to come back to this post, and leave us a link to your blog in the comments so we can come visit. And be sure to engage the email subscription option on your blog, so your art goes out to your followers via email with every new post, just like this blog does.

Have a creative, courageous, idea-filled week, and I’ll see you in the next post!

Belinda

P.S. If you’re not already subscribed to this blog, you can do that here.

Art Quote

It is not in the still calm of life, or the repose of a pacific station, that great characters are formed. The habits of a vigorous mind are formed in contending with difficulties. Great necessities call out great virtues. When a mind is raised, and animated by scenes that engage the heart, then those qualities which would otherwise lay dormant, wake into life and form the character of the hero and the statesman.

~John Adams

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17 Responses to Watercolor: Amber Candle, Kitchen Counter (& Should you Start an Art Blog?

  1. Maria Peagler 02/15/2017 at 12:54 pm #

    Belinda – bravo for sticking with your blog for a decade! It’s that persistence that pays off. And I’m honored you linked to my blog post about how to extend the life of your content. Artists have a great outlet in Pinterest: a visual social network that has the longest content lifespan of 4 years. I’m off to check out your artwork!

    • Belinda DelPesco 02/15/2017 at 1:20 pm #

      Hi Maria, Thanks for stopping by, and THANKS especially for your informative essays on social media marketing. Artists need all the help we can get on that stuff! Bravo!

  2. Gaelle1947 12/02/2016 at 11:43 am #

    Thank you Belinda for your most rousing vote of confidence! If the “one small step” lands, you will be the first to be notified!

  3. seamustheone 12/01/2016 at 2:14 pm #

    Amber Candle is a truly lovely watercolour – so full of light you’d swear it was illuminated.

  4. Bonnie 12/01/2016 at 8:00 am #

    Belinda, thanks for posting this. A very good article on blogging which I should be doing. I loved the short video of the Grumpy Grandpa too!

  5. Jim Serrett 12/01/2016 at 6:51 am #

    Hi Belinda!
    Great post and advice, I truly enjoy reading what you have to say and the art you create. I just wanted to add that I think people often miss understand the purpose of blogging, sure people have monetized their blog and made money, but really this venue is about building a creative community, where we can share, learn and inspire each other. Inside of that you will find a group of followers and patrons.
    I think you do a stellar job of sharing your expertise and promoting your work. A perfect example of how to do it right, so many sites have turn into a 500-word infomercial, that they have lost readers because of it or the lack of content.

    • Belinda DelPesco 12/02/2016 at 5:39 pm #

      Hi Jim, Thanks so much for the nice compliment. I’m delighted to read that you’re enjoying the content here, and I hope I can maintain your interest over time. I agree that infomercial blogs aren’t so interesting, but I suspect some of that is just artists better-equipped with a paint brush than with paper and pen. Word-smithing doesn’t come easy to many, so when artists post their work, and let you know it’s for sale, some of them get props for at least putting it out there and trying. Being a self representing artist requires tooting your own horn, with grace, subtlety & panache, which isn’t easy. Perhaps with time, the infomercial folks will get better with practice. Lets hope so. 🙂

  6. Mary Ellen Gale 11/30/2016 at 11:28 pm #

    Girl! How is it you know what I’ve wanted to do and just haven’t been able to get past that imaginary barrier? I’ll give it a try.

    • Belinda DelPesco 12/02/2016 at 11:24 am #

      Hi M.E., Yes, please do leap over that barrier and give it a try and share your lovely work with us! 🙂

  7. Cristiane Marino 11/30/2016 at 5:43 pm #

    HI Belinda!
    I love this painting!
    Thank you very much for sharing the story of the grandfather….it is so inspiring…

    • Belinda DelPesco 12/02/2016 at 5:11 pm #

      Hi Cristiane, thanks for your visit. I’m glad you liked the video – I did too. 🙂

  8. Sidney 11/30/2016 at 3:11 pm #

    Are you sure blogs/blogging are still popular? I personally love good art blogs with commentary, but there aren’t many around anymore. A lot of artists seem to just post on Instagram.

    • Belinda DelPesco 12/02/2016 at 5:08 pm #

      Hi Sidney, I would say yes, blogs are absolutely still viable. I think like anything new (blogging, youtube, etc.), everyone jumps on the bandwagon at first because it’s free, and seems like easy exposure. It takes time and some conviction to post frequent, compelling content on a blog, and that has a natural “thinning” process to the crowd over time. Sticking-to-it is the challenge for most, so perhaps you don’t see as many (active) blogs, but the ones that are visible have posted consistently and have an established, dynamic relationship with their readers. Instagram is great, but if you want to add your voice to your images, and dialogue with and a relationship to your readers, blogging is a better bet, in my opinion.:)

  9. Gaelle1947 11/30/2016 at 9:22 am #

    A most inspiring post! I love the “Grumpy Grandpa” video. I’ve gotten as far as “emailing” my sketches/paintings and comments to some family members (including grandkids) and a small group of my closest friends. I consider these my “practice” blogs. Meanwhile, I am forever grateful for all you public bloggers that enrich my life on a daily basis. Thank you for having taken the plunge in the vast internet ocean to bring us your delightful cache of the day!

    • Belinda DelPesco 12/02/2016 at 11:29 am #

      Hi Gayle,
      Thank you for reading these artist musings, and commenting/encouraging the rambling. And you’re one tiny step away from blogging your work and sharing it with a broader audience. Sending cheerleader shouts & pompom encouragement in your direction. 🙂

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