Betty J. Slade
Why did I kick and scream for years? “I don’t want to do it, don’t make me do it!” What is so terrible about technology in an artist’s mind?
“What are you doing about getting your art into the market?” a friend asked who came for the weekend. “I will set up a Blog and put you on facebook.”
And my answer was, “Why?”
“It’s a great way to catalogue your work. You can also have a record of all your past newspaper articles. Also you will be developing a reader’s base,” she expounded.
“I’m listening,” I replied. “All these years and I still don’t have all my art categorized. I haven’t taken photos of them and they are gone now. But I still don’t want to waste my time on the computer.”
“It’s not wasting time, if a gallery wants to see your work, it’s on your computer.”
“Okay, I’ll learn it.” Slumping down and pouting I tried to be civil to my guest. After all she was helping me and I should humor her.
And the process began. I started blogging. “I decided to put one painting each day along with a min-art lesson and meanderings on my Blog and send through Facebook. Then one Blog turned into two and so on.
This playground for the crowd under thirty has now become a new way of social networking for people over fifty; and the growth for them is faster than the young users.
I read an article “Blogging and what I learned on the Therapist’s Couch” by Moshe Mikanovsky. The title caught my attention and I knew I was not alone. Most of us artists need to be on the therapist’s couch. We paint and work diligently all of our lives in our art yet we make few feeble attempts to show our work, then we quit. As I read his article, I felt sure other artists have found themselves with the same resistance and have used all the same excuses to stay away from social networking as I have. It robs our creative time.
As artists, we need to re-invent ourselves to fit into the economy of today. We have to do something different than we did just a few years ago.
My friend is a Venetian artist and has always supported me in my art as I have in his. He heard I was blogging. He paints on people’s walls - old Tuscany, marble, and all kinds of faux finishes. As a painter and with the construction market falling, he found himself out of work. He painted and finished the walls of million dollar homes once, and then the work was gone. He wrote to tell me, “You’re missing it if you don’t get on YouTube. You need to be global.
“Oh me, do I have to? I don’t know enough about all that stuff. I don’t know if I want to do it.” I said.
His reply was, “It is free and it is easy. I have made contacts in Thailand and they are flying me to instruct them on how to do Venetian finishings. Sherwin William’s representative is flying out and they have considered me an expert on how to use their paint. And it has all free and it has been handed to me through YouTube.”
My response was, “I don’t have anything like that to sell. What do I do? Do YouTube or develop a product first? What comes first the chicken or the egg?”
He fired back an e-mail. What comes first, the chicken or the egg? YouTube. Get an account with YouTube; then you can add to it as you decide.
Just like Mikanovsky, I felt weak in my knees and drained. I needed to lie down on a therapist’s couch and cuddle a Teddy bear. I don’t know why I have fought going into this next phase of life. So I typed myself a list of what I had to sell - what I was working on at the moment - what I needed to get started. Also I listed things I didn’t want to do anymore, what I was willing to do and what were my biggest fears.
I believe the fears are losing my privacy, losing my creative time and learning something new. It is also stepping out of the realm where I thrive.
I bit the bullet. So each morning I get up and add one more painting to my Blog, a description and a mini-art lesson. By the time I finish this project, I will have hundreds of paintings on file. I am setting it up with a theme so that it is already compiled into whatever I decide to do with it.
Galleries who want to see my work will be able to go to my Blog. As far as Facebook, I am adding friends and their friends and their friends.
My grandson said the other day, “Grandma, you are on Facebook more than I am. Ha Ha.” My children are finding great humor since I have entered into their playground. They can’t believe I am playing in their sandbox.
I am writing to you my artist and writer friends and encouraging you to reach out for another market. I am with you. I just want to paint and write, but as my Blogs are unfolding I am beginning to understand the value of them. Not only am I categorizing my work, it is getting me out of that “stuck” place and developing a bigger market.
Final Brushstroke! It is a matter of being honest with ourselves and refusing to listen to the same old record we keep playing, hearing the same old tune played over and over in our heads, “I don’t want to do it.”
Artist’s Quote: “You should not permit your present situation to influence your thinking or your decision making that regardless of your present situation you should proceed immediately to set a goal to achieve something so big, so exhilarating that it excites you and scares you at the same time.” Bob Proctor
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