Friday, July 7, 2006

Why Am I Doing This?

The Light Between, 2006, Oil on Panel, 12x12

William Wray's comment here the other day got me to thinking about why I feel so strongly about writing this blog. It is a major studio time sucker, certainly, and despite having previously put a few things aside in order to focus on my painting, here I am spending too much time sitting on my butt at the computer instead of working in my studio.

To begin with, it helps me to organize my thoughts and my time. Like many artists I have a difficult time writing and talking about my art and while I still hesitate to apply meaning to my work, I am getting better at discussing what I do and how I do it. We'll see if I am any better at writing statements-I should probably rewrite my artist statement soon and this weekend I have to write a statement about the body of work that will be in the show in Cape Cod next month. I have been putting it off, but now I really have to just dive in, I guess.

I have always been interested in writing, though I have never really done it seriously. When I was younger I always thought that I might want to write a book, but that always seemed like an daunting project, one that I wasn't really prepared for, and I think I always instinctively knew that if I tackled that, the art, which is what I have always really wanted to do, would fall by the wayside. For several years, I wrote short articles for an arts organizations newsletter which I enjoyed, so I guess things like that got me by. Writing this blog has really been a good solution in regards to my interest in writing. No real pressure, but with with many benefits.

Getting to know other artists has been the most rewarding benefit about this whole thing and is one of the reasons I feel compelled to write regularly. I especially enjoy hearing from readers and shared experiences from those who often leave comments. Thanks to those who have included my link on their sites, I have enjoyed seeing the numbers in my stats rise, going from like 4 a day, to several hundred each day, with more and more repeat visitors each week. I don't even care if people come just to look at the pictures either, like Bill. I do wish I had more time to comment on other blogs, I try but I really have to limit my sitting time each day......

I have mentioned several times how we live in such an isolated area and how that has really affected my need to spew many, many words each day. I often don't even talk to anyone outside of our family for days and so the contact I have because of the blog is really important to me as well as to my mental health. I do tend to have difficulty in social situations in real life, so having an editing device available to help me with my online relationships is crucial! Sometimes when I run into friends in town, I just start talking and can't seem to stop even though I see the person looking around nervously for an escape route. Then I feel like a jerk for not being able to just keep it brief. Ugh!

One thing that I don't expect this blog to do is to help sell my work. I don't view it as a sales tool at all, and it may actually be a detriment in some cases, which is why I don't talk about some things that may just be TOO MUCH INFORMATION to people (or galleries) who are interested in my work. I do see that many people come to the blog via a google search of moi, so I guess there is some exposure from the blog so that is good.

But most importantly, I write this blog so I can just focus on my very favorite subject, me, me, me. Heh.

Why are you writing yours!?


KJ said...

Man! You already listed my reasons for blogging! This is my prefered social life! It's nice to lunch with a long time good friend from time to time, but crowds leave me cold... looking for an easy out. But I AM a social person! I've been on art lists of one kind and another for 10-12 years (a long time in cyber years.) But blogging is all about me, on my terms and no one interrups ;-)

Lisa Call said...

Tracy - you captured many reasons I blog - to write about what I want to write about and for social reasons (I've been on the internet and involved in online groups since 1984 so online communities are a very important part of my social structure and to me it seems natural - although blogging is a bit more public than a normal online group).

But the biggest reason I blog is because I feel it helps me understand my artwork better. I know a lot of folks do the artist's way and journal - and blogging has similar benefits. Sometimes I'll write in depth about my art, sometimes not. But I feel it is all benificial.

These days I probably spent more time writing on other people's blogs than on my own - but what the heck - it's all good!

Tracy said...

Guess all of our reasons for blogging are fairly universal! And here I thought it was just me.

S.L. Peterson said...

I wonder the same thing sometimes. I think for me it's nice to be able to ramble about art every once in a while, since none of my friends/family would be remotely interested. The internet is a great way to connect with people that have similar interests, who you wouldn't meet otherwise.

I like the monochromatic paintings. Are you doing them as a series, or just to mix things up every once in a while?

Tracy said...

Hi Stacers. both, I guess and actually, I could go on and on about it so it occurs to me that it would be a great post for Monday! Thanks for the topic! Despite liking to write I do struggle sometimes for topics.

Lesly said...

Hi Tracy - I was relieved to see that you like to get comments from regular readers (I always worry that I'll be considered a Pain-I-T-A!)
I started my blog to try and promote my art but I now see that its no good for that! Well not on its own anyway. I was writing about that very thing in my last post actually.
Like you I've always had a secret hankering to write but hate writing about myself ... but having the blog has acted as a bit of a therapy and I am tending to do more of it just lately!
I've sort of ground to a halt with painting just recently so my blog and reading other people's is keeping me sane. Well, sort of!

Ed Maskevich said...

There is no need to be apologetic, if you enjoy blogging that is fine. Too few artists are able to verbally express what their visual thoughts are all about. Artists like the idea of being right brained. I strive to be whole brained and yes, that means being an artist AND being logical and verbal. I enjoy working in the studio and outside of it. As visual artists we live isolated lives. To reach out to others is a good thing, it is called community and I wish other artists understood that idea much more than they do. I may not agree with everything you say (welcome to my world) but it lets me know more about who you are, the real you, and that is what I call life. Keep it up.

Claire said...

Hi Tracy, long time reader - first time commenter :-P

Initially I started blogging in reaction to feeling like an outsider on email lists and not being able to participate and being afraid of inadvertantly causing conflict.

So I set up a blog. And realised very quickly that it was the internet medium for me because it is all about me :-) And if people like my work or my writing they actually get in contact and I now have a little network.

I am also socially isolated, so this is a good way to establish a feeling of community.


Tracy said...

Hi Lesly, I like to hear what you have to say, don't worry about being a pain! I actually read your post about the internet and marketing and there were so many things I wanted to comment on, but each time I sat down to write something I got interrupted. I should have linked to it in this post, but didn't, so I am glad you mentioned it. Everyone! Go read Lesly's post about marketing on the internet!

Ed, I didn't mean to sound apologetic about writing a blog, I really enjoy doing it. I think it's nice to hear other's opinions about things and even if we don't agree, the community aspect is so valuable.

Thanks, Claire for commenting and glad to hear that I actually have a long time reader :-) Cool! I checked out your blog and your work looks very interesting. I look forward to spending more time learning about it.

Melissa said...

Hi Tracy, I blog, but not very often, so that I can talk about my work, and my creative process (two of my favorite topics).
I guess what I had hoped to do would be to expand my audience. And maybe spark some dialogue about my work.
So far the blog really hasn't, but the flicker pages do.

I really enjoy reading your blog. It's very insightful, and helpful. It's nice to get the opportunity to share in someone else's journey.

Melissa said...

Hi Tracy, I blog, but not very often, so that I can talk about my work, and my creative process (two of my favorite topics).
I guess what I had hoped to do would be to expand my audience. And maybe spark some dialogue about my work.
So far the blog really hasn't, but the flicker pages do.

I really enjoy reading your blog. It's very insightful, and helpful. It's nice to get the opportunity to share in someone else's journey.

Melissa said...

Sorry for the double post...I swear I am computer savvy....(so now here is a third)

Anonymous said...

I think your blog is great, I've started mine but are yet to have many visitors. So I really do feel like I am talking to myself at the moment, it's a great little community you have going. How do you promote a blog? Just leave it in cyberspace and wait until people come across it?

Anonymous said...

i'm not a blogger but an artist/reader and yours is one of a few i follow regularly... for me it's what melissa said... twice :)... your blog is helpful and insightful. and the images are a joy to see. i live in eastern massachusetts and i'm looking forward to getting down to the cape in august to see your work. so please keep painting, keep blogging, and keep sharing - stephanie


I have wondered from the first post I did, wheather blogging helps or hurts an artists career. At first I did it for exposure, now I just enjoy it. I dont feel like it takes away from studio time, its just an extension of it.

Lesly said...

Tracy ... do you mind if I answer Lauren here as I cannot access her blog (she has not made it public)to tell her.
Lauren asked "How do you promote a blog? Just leave it in cyberspace and wait until people come across it?"
The answer is that no-one will find you unless you do a little to help things along. When I started mine I was greatly helped by the following sites (I think both are by artist Rebecca Grantham - Plenty of Pie certainly is) - and
Both have masses of information and tips on putting together and promoting your blog.
Good luck

Tracy said...

Hi Stephanie, so glad you have been reading and finding this blog to be helpful. I am pleased that you may be able to visit the show at the Cape. Will you be there for the opening on Aug 4?

Hi Aaron, I guess it depends on how the blog is handled whether it helps or hurts. I can imagine how it could all go terribly wrong, but most of the ones I read seem to be well done and probably help the artist's career or like mine-at least don't hurt it.

Lesley, thanks for supplying those links. I wrote a whole long response and for some reason it didn't post. But I didn't mention the blogrolls and that sort of thing, mostly because I am such a bad computer person, I don't really get how all of that stuff works. (I have yet to understand that damn flickr thing!) Anyway, plenty of seemed very helpful in explaining the options for bloggers.

bridgette said...

I started blogging on another forum (livejournal) in 2004 and grew addicted to it! Since I work alone in my studio, it really helps me to get some interaction. I've also grown a lot with help from other artist bloggers. I will always appreciate their presence even if it's only in cyberspace!
I actually posted a link to your blog at livejournal and it got a lot of positive responses! My livejournal is more personal than my blogsport which is strictly art. The other one allows me to lock posts so that I know who is reading. Sometimes I think i get too personal and need to withdraw for a bit. Which is why I've been absent for a bit. But I'm back now!

Tracy said...

Hi Bridgette, glad you are back! I did notice that I was getting a lot of hits from live journal and followed the link back, but couldn't really tell who it came from. Actually, while I do kind of know what live journal is (it's a computer thing right?:-)) I don't really understand how it works. Anyway, thanks for posting my link!

I like being able to come and go with the computer stuff too.

bridgette said...

yeah, that was me ;)

Live journal is just another blogging forum, like Typepad, Blogger, etc. The difference is that it allows you to "friend" people so that you can read all the blogs that you friend on one page. And it allows for "conversation" threads. People can comment and you can actually comment back.

I have found though that the quality of writing is much better on blogger and typepad than on livejournal for the most part. LiveJournal is much more casual, I think because of the conversational aspect of it. But because of this the possibility of flamers/arguments/conflict can be higher. And who wants to deal with that?!

My husband thinks I'm nuts-especially because I have 2 different blogs. Yeah, it's kind of pathetic!! :)

Tracy said...

Thanks for the description, Bridgette. I gathered that live journal involved conversation, but I didn't really understand the blog aspect of it. I can see why you'd want to be involved in different kinds of blog, as they both fulfill different kinds of communication.

arthur whitman said...

My blog deals with others people's art, rather than my own. The reason for that is that i'm a lapsed artist; I haven't made much of anything in the last year or so. I haven't been showing my work either (with one exception). So, my reasons for blogging might be slightly different. I want to participate in the world of art despite living in the middle of nowhere and not actively engaging myself in a formal art career.

Last fall, I moved from Boston to Ithaca, New York ("centrally isolated", as they say). I felt cut off from the world of art. To some extent, I still do. Ithaca is a much smaller arts community and it takes me a long time to meet people. My blog has been useful for making connections, local and otherwise.

I'm also interested in doing something with my writing skills. I've been told that I write well. Since I also know about the visual arts, the combination of the two seemed natural.