When I started my review about blogging art in 2006 I wanted to recognise those art/illustrated blogs which had been most influential. Gradually I realised that I'd only be indulging in very spurious accuracy. So I've switched it to recognising those blogs which have most influenced me for one reason or another in 2006. Some also have made it in to the awards list for clearly having a verifiable influence on others. I felt I had to exclude from the awards those blogs where the blogger is employed by an organisation to blog on its behalf - although some very definitely have merit.
I've had great fun inventing categories and auditioning for my new Making A Mark awards for 2006 - and I think I'm going to have to make this a regular event! I might even come up with an actual award by this time next year.
The awards come in two parts as follows.
- The Painting A Day Stickability Prize
- The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
- The Best Art Blog Project of 2006 Virtual Challenge Cup
- The Make Me Think E-Mail Gong
- Best animal in an illustrated blog Award
- The ‘Get off your Blogging Bottom and Sketch’ Brass Plate
- The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
- The Travels with a Sketchbook Award
- The Amusing Musings Trophy
- The “Tales from the Frontline” Mention in Despatches - my favourite blog by somebody who lives with an artist
The 'Painting A Day' Stickability Prize
"What they call talent is nothing but the capacity for doing continuous work in the right way." Winslow HomerTwo blogs tie for this one and I've had both on my blogroll now for so long they almost feel part of the furniture. Let's hear it for Duane Keiser ( A Painting A Day ) and Julian Merrow Smith ( Postcard from Provence ). They posted a new painting a day on their blogs for well over a year and, although they're not now posting a new painting absolutely every day, they're still managing a lot more than most 'painting a day' blogs.
I admire these two for a number of reasons. Most of all I like the way they paint and what they paint and never get tired of looking at their unique daily perspective on their regular motifs (Duane is now on his 20th broken egg!). I also admire Duane's focus on the process of art and continued innovation in blogging about art (which continues to stimulate). Julian's business set-up also managed to impress by coping with popularity of the blog both before and after they were swamped with buyers and selling everything Julian had in stock some 5 minutes after the publication of the New York Times article about him in February. He's now notched up over 200,000 visits to his blog and generated a mailing list of 3,000+ people.
These two also deserve an award for the enormous influence they have had on many, many other artists who have tried blogging art daily as a result - even if most had to drop back to a 'nearly daily' position. They certainly helped to influence a number of extremely popular posts on this blog judging by the visitor numbers (see below).
- February 21: "Postcard from Provence" - written just before the publication of the New York Times article
- August 24th: 'Why artists should blog (part 2) - the success of painting a day blogs' reflects on Julian's success and the blogging initiatives of others and generated lots of comments
- September 2nd: 'Will you be a success if you blog your paintings daily' has been one of my most visited blog posts.
- September 3rd ‘The Stickability factor’. This has proved to be an extremely popular blog post - and is also testament to the fact that writing on regular basis can mean that sometimes good posts just write themselves!
- October 5th: Art Calendar and "a painting a day"
- November 20th: 'Duane Keiser - Process and Paintings'
I like sharing information on this blog (but see also Making A Mark: Resources for Artists in response to Jeanette's comment on an earlier post) and I value blogs which also aim to share good information including what they have learned with others.
An honourable mention should go to Justin Clayton (Daily Paintings) who started doing daily paintings on January 1 2006 and provided an extremely informative set of answers to questions he found he was frequently being asked.
I would have liked to have included a mention for Marion Boddy-Evans of Painting.About.com were it not for the fact that is part of the greater New York Times empire and has to be excluded from the awards according to my criteria.
- November 13th: Justin Clayton answers some questions
The Best Blog Project of 2006 Virtual Challenge Cup
Everybody had blog projects in 2006! How to decide? My forehead now needs Botox for the wrinkling you all caused me - but in the end I decided that this award had to be split between two very different projects
- a one-off blog project which managed to generate the most responses from other people (I think) - the Crackskull Bob Self-Portrait Marathon
- a new blogging project which continues to grow - the Daily Painters Blog
- June 14th: The Crackskull Bob Self-Portrait Marathon
- The Self-Portrait Marathon Gallery - hosted by Crackskull Bob. That's 390 self-portraits in total..................
- June 15th: Self portrait: sketching on the tube
- June 24th: Self-Portrait Marathon #2: Without glasses
- June 28th: Self-Portrait Marathon #3: The mouth is wrong!
- July 6th: Self Portrait Marathon #4: Two half brows
The second award goes to the "Daily Painters" blog, started by Micah Condon. The blog, (and subsequent website) and mailing list provide contemporary original art for sale by painting a day artists and habitual painters.
I have to confess I've been somewhat ambivalent about this initiative. Let me start with what I like about it. It's main benefit for me is that it has succeeded in alerting me to artists that I was not aware of and for that I'm very grateful. It also helped to get some artists blogging their art who hadn't hitherto. As a result I've been looking at a lot of new art and new artists every day and I like very much some of the artists I 'discovered' due to this initiative. Of these, my current favourites are Carol Marine, Karen Jurick and Sarah Wimperis.
My ambivalence stems from the fact that it started out to be a community blog about artists who were following the painting a day tradition. Within a month it was redefined to cover both habitual painters (those who paint most days but don't necessarily produce a new painting each day) as well as the people posting a new painting each. Personally I think there's still room for blogs covering both groups and I'd still really like to see a blog which actually limits itself to people who produce a new painting virtually every day as they are a unique set. Let's see what 2007 brings.........
- October 2nd: The Daily Painters Blog
The 'Make Me Think' E-Mail Gong
This is for the weekly e-mail letter and associated blog or website which operates in an interactive way and makes the biggest mark on me - ie they always gets read.
I've got two award winners here:
- Alyson Stanfield and her ArtBiz Blog
- Robert Genn and his twice-weekly letter to his community of artists at The Painters Keys
Alyson is focused on the business end of being an artist, as does this blog from time to time (the career aspect of 'making a mark'). Her e-mail letter arrives in my inbox every Monday and always gets read as does her blog.
I've been reading Robert Genn's twice weekly letter and subsequent clickback for the artist community who subscribe to the Painters Keys for a very long time and he's been writing them for a long time too - since 1999. If you've not tried them before take a look at the archives. Robert's 'blog post' is actually an e-mailed letter but the opportunity he provides for people to respond makes it seem very much like a blog in my eyes. He includes some of the responses in the clickback and comments also provide material for future letters. I wonder what it would be like if it actually operated in exactly the same way as other blogs?
I'd like to thank them both for providing stimulating material for blog posts - ether indirectly or directly (see below).