Today this blog celebrates its 4th birthday.
I first started Making A Mark started on Tuesday 13th December 2005 with a beta blog of just 4 posts.
Eating at the Club Gascon
in Two of my favourite occupations
8" x 10" pencil in Moleskine Sketcbook
copyright Katherine Tyrrell
I then published to the world at large in January 2006. Since then, this blog has:
- gained 2000+ subscribers (and a few bots!)
- had more than 600,000+ visits from unique visitors
- published 1,401 posts - which means I get a daily visit from the Google crawlers!
- helped to generate over 100+ websites providing resources for artists and art lovers - virtually all of which came about either as a result of blog projects or as a result of researching topics for this blog
I write this blog because I'm writing about art - a topic I enjoy very much - and one which I continue to find endlessly fascinating. I do also very much enjoy all the notes I get from time to time from people who have just discovered it - and then begin to realise what's in the archives. Which is when I go back and look and remember the activities, events and interests which led to different posts. I find I really enjoy reading my archives too! Seriously - all that positive feedback provides a huge incentive to keep going! :)
Here's a present for all those who come and read and for all those that I have read over the last four years!
12 tips for how to become and remain a long-term 'daily' art blogger
- focus and values - I find it useful to have a framework in my head about WHY I'm blogging and the values which drive HOW I blog
- write about what you enjoy and value - and that way you'll never ever be bored
- learning and sharing (and sharing your learning) are two approaches to blogging art which have provided me with an awful lot of material
- I probably spend as much time, if not more, on reading about my interests as I do writing about them
- be interactive: find time to read/look at and comment onother art blogs - ALWAYS a really great source of stimulation! :)
- pace yourself - find a frequency of posting which works for you and then take regular breaks as well
- a modicum of routine can be very helpful to staying on track
- stick to one topic per post if possible
- be flexible - try out new ideas for a series of posts or regular/routine posts
- keep a file of ideas for posts (ie I sometimes just write a post title and save it as a draft!) for when your imagination takes a break
- have a notion of what you'd like to focus on in coming weeks....
- ....but also 'go with the flow' and don't be a slave to "the plan".
I like Robert Genn's article When all the artists are women - the comments make for some really interesting reading as to different perspectives. Male artists won't read it - or will they?
Drawing and sketching
- Pete Skully has been sketching London again on his Pete Skully
- Roz Stendhal (Roz Wound Up) has posted another Journaling Superstitions #12: Art Papers Are Only for Painting
- lapin's portfolio online - he's updated it
- a useful and funny post by Jana Bouc (Jana's Journal and Sketchblog) about her Macaroon Marathon
- Having just been to Paris it's interesting to see somebody else sketching the same city - see Liz Steel on Urban Sketchers - Sketching in Paris without my paints
- I tried drawing Alan Bennett talking about himself on the BBC this week. Another Talking Head? I knew it was not much cop when 'himself' thought I was drawing him!
pen and sepia ink
- A new art blog Art of the Landscape for me by John W Stinson - who paints the rural landscape of the Northwest USA. I really like the way he talks about the places he's painting.
- Ed Terpening (Life Plein Air) has been invited to paint at Hearst Castle! See Hearst Castle Invitational
- I like the way Sarah Wimperis (The Red Shoes) seems to have started painting in series - recently a series of noctures and now a series of small paintings from a "walk in winter". I always want to look at a blog some more if I know artists have a series on the go.
- excellent post by Jana Bouc (Jana's Journal and Sketchblog) shoiwng how she works out which paints will work when painting flowers - in this case an orchid - Refusing to Fail or Quit: It was either me or the orchid...
- A tutorial on The Guardian How to shoot a Jane Bown portrait is actually about photography but a number of the could as easily be employed by the portrait painter
- James Gurney (Gurney Journey) has written about something which I've noticed on my camera - the little chip which decides which art is a face and which is not! Read Face Detection. So there you go - next time you're having problems with a portrait get your camera out for an independent critique!
- I'd love to see some more nominations for the best portrait on an art blog - see the Making A Mark awards below
- I loved the pictures in Fair and Fair Alike: Miami 2009. Are We Out of the Woods?
End of Year Reviews
- The Guardian/Observer has got its end of year review of art in 2009 out already - see 2009 in review: Art
- If you're doing an end of year review do leave a comment with a link
Last week was a marathon of posts inviting people to nominate art blogs and/or artwork on an art blog for awards. I really did wonder part way through whether I'd done the right thing in opening up all the awards to nominations but I've had a number of really interesting nominations as a result so I'm very much leaning towards it being a good idea. It's also proving to be a good way of checking out the popularity of some ventures.
For those who only visit once a week for a catch-up here's all the posts - and do read the comments to see who's been nominated. Nominations close on 24th December - and I'm really looking forward to seeing a lot more of your suggestions.
Here's the invitation to nominate - and each of the prizes lists all previous prizewinners. Interestingly every single one of the people who got an award is still blogging.
Links: The Making A Mark Awards 2010 for blogging about art - Making A Mark: End of Year Review
- Best artwork
- NEW!!! Nominate the Best Art (Place) on a Blog 2009
- NEW!!! Nominate the Best Art (Still Life) on a Blog 2009
- Nominate the Best Art (Portrait/Figures) on a Blog 2009
- Generating art
- Nominate - The Painting a Day Stickability Shield
- Nominate - The Best Art Blog Project Virtual Challenge Cup
- Getting out of the Studio
- Nominate - The Painting Plein Air Plus Prize
- Nominate The Travels with a Sketchbook Trophy
- Nominate - The Going Greener Gong
- Learning about art and the art business
- Nominate - The FAQs and Answers Really Useful Medal
- Nominate - The Make Me Think Gong
- NEW!!! Nominate The Best Book by an Art Blogger Blue Ribbon
- The Home Front
Art Business and Marketing
- Art Fag City has highlighted Law School for Visual Artists by Jonathan Melber, co-author of ART/WORK: Everything You Need to Know (and Do) As You Pursue Your Art Career
- Tina Mammoser recommends the Visual Arts and Galleries Association, working for a vital and healthy visual culture for the 21C (from Tina). I've started following on Twitter.
- a new trend in art dealers operating from home - or end of lease apartments- see article by The New York Times
- Darren Rowse (Problogger) provides some useful generic advice 3 Steps to Help You Choose a Topic for an E-Book
Art and the Economy / Art Collectors
- A special report on the art market by The Economist - Suspended animation
Almost everyone who was interviewed for this special report said that the biggest problem at the moment is not a lack of demand but a lack of good work to sell. The three Ds—death, debt and divorce—still deliver works of art to the market. But anyone who does not have to sell is keeping away, waiting for confidence to return.
- The Financial Times comments on Luxury purchases: The rush for real assets - it's the reason why old masters are commanding such high prices. It's also the reason why many who bought into contemporary art on the say so of their 'art curators' may now be getting the heebie jeebies!
When faced with the very real prospect of currency devaluation, and mounting inflation expectations, the safest store of wealth should be tangible assets, such as housing, commodities and land, or claims on these assets.
- a bonus from the banking fiasco - the Times Online reports that RBS gives in to pressure and agrees to open art collection to public
- a fascinating article about William Pohida Tweaking the Big-Money Art World on Its Own Turf
- The world's most expensive drawing Raphael and Rembrandt make it a night to remember at Christie's sale. The New York Times commented that 2 Star Lots Dominate Weak Old Masters Sale
A drawing by Raphael was sold for £29,161,250 at Christie’s in London last night, making it the most expensive drawing bought at auction.
Art Competitions and Art Societies
Who knew that the Tate & Turner Prize could get it Wright? I like the piece that won - and I actually want to visit the Turner Prize Exhibiton for the first time in years!
- Artist Richard Wright strikes gold as winner of this year's Turner prize
- Watch Guardian's excellent video of 2009 Turner Prizewinner
- I also liked the Telegraph articleTurner Prize: Art is beautiful again
- The Future Generation Art Prize, established by the Foundation set up by the billionaire art collector Victor Pinchuk is a a $100,000 biennial award for a contemporary artist under 35. It aims to discover, recognize and provide long-term support to a future generation of artists. 20 shortlisted artists will be selected to show their work in an exhibition at the PinchukArtCentre (Kiev). The Board of the Foundation raised my eyebrow - but not in a good way! It includes: Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and Sir Elton John as well as Glenn D. Lowry Director (MOMA); Richard Armstrong Director, (Guggenheim in NY); Alfred Pacquement Director (Centre Pompidou),and Sir Nicholas Serota Director (Tate). Do I spy some hostages to fortune?
- activity by artists researching the BP Portrait Award is hotting up if the hits to my blog are anything to go by!
- Fitzwilliam Museum - Sargent, Sickert & Spencer - Tue 8 December 2009 to Mon 5 April 2010 Mellon Gallery (Gallery 13) Free This is the link to the 76 page catalogue. The Times Online comments in Sargent, Sickert and Spencer in Cambridge
- attendance at exhibitions in art museums is down museum or gallery vists (26.5 to 22.7 per cent) between 2002 ans 2008 according to a survey by the the U.S. National Endowment for the Arts.
- gossip from the Boston Globe Nightmare at the museum - RISD president faces scrutiny after head of museum forced out
- The Mini Picture Show 10 December 2009 – 22 January 2010 - an exhibition of small works by Members of the Royal Watercolour Society and the Royal Society of Painter-Printmakers at the Bankside Gallery (next to Tate Modern). I notice the Bankside has a brand new website - it looks as if there might be unique URLs at long last!
Just to clear up any misunderstanding - the invite to art bloggers (How to highlight your exhibition (artist bloggers only)) to notify me of their exhibitions for highlighting on this blog does NOT extend to normal commercial galleries wanting to get more coverage of their exhibitions. The invite is limited to art bloggers and the information has to come from the art blogger NOT the gallery.
Art Education / workshops / Tips and techniques
- Pastel Journal Blog Richard McKinley Video Shoot
- James Gurney (Gurney Journey) on Scumbling
- Here's the post about What does "simultaneous contrast mean? which is referenced in the item about Richard McKinley above . It's on Richard's Pastel Pointers blog
- Loriann Signori (loriann signori's painting-a-day) writes about the importance of value paintings/studies
- It's good to see Linda Blondheim's Art Journal is getting back to being process focused - starting with a note about a new palette emerges
- I've seen discussions about various ways of presenting work discussed in different places recently - here are two suppliers which Cathy Johnson recommends
- Thanks to Shirley Levine (Paper and Threads) for highlighting posemaniacs.com which I've not come across before. Good for all those who want to practice sketching the figure. You can get a random selection from 19,440 pics for 30 second poses!
- The Philosopher's Zone is an australian site with the transcript of an interesting discussion about fakery in art Forging ahead - the philosophy of authenticity, fakes and forgers. You can also download the audio version.
- Roz Stendhal has been product testing again - see Irodori Antique Watercolor from Holbein
- My information site The Best Books about Drawing and Sketching is edging towards the top 100 Squidoo Lenses.
- Book review: Treasures of Botanical Art
- Red is a play which about the artist Mark Rothko - it's on at the Donmar Warehouse in London until 3rd February - here's a review in The Guardian - The mean reds - by author William Boyd
Regina Hackett provided a nice obituary for ex Director of the Met Thomas Hoving - R.I.P. Thomas Hoving - the populist elite. This is the obituary by Time Magazine and this is the obituary by the New York Times. I greatly enjoyed listening to Thomas Hoving's views when he was interviewed for Ben Lewis's film for the BBC about ‘The Great Contemporary Art Bubble”. He seemed like a very interesting man.
- Don't forget to post in my Making a Mark Poll for December Which art gift would you like for Christmas? The apparently clear pattern of responses keeps changing!
Websites, webware and blogging
- Here's a comment by a Security blogger Note to Silicon Valley: How not to manage privacy
- and the Guardian article on the topic Facebook privacy change angers campaigners
- A List Apart has
- a post The Content Strategist as Digital Curator which I think might suggest that this weekly post is a curatorial exercise on my part (I don't mind adding curator to my CV!) - but it also can be mined for good ideas for ways of presenting your art.
- then I discovered by reading another post Content Templates to the Rescue that I'm actually a content strategist and have been devising something called content templates for years without even realising it!
and finally........Only in the art world..........see this BBC news item about Gallery searches for stolen brick
I found this a lot more visually stimulating - mind you it does involve drawing!
Due to "machinations" on the home front, I'm not away this weekend after all but will be next weekend - and I'm very unlikely to be posting much if anything week. I'm now off out to collect signatures on a petition - that's if the flu doesn't get me first! (sneeze, sniff, sneeze!)