Sunday, July 06, 2008

6th July 2008: Who's made a mark this week?

I took the new Blogger widgets out for a spin this week. As a result I've implemented the new Blogger blogroll widget on this blog for my regular reads and a couple of other sections so far. The benefits are:
  • I can now see when people have updated
  • the latest updates automatically rise to the top
  • plus it saves having to open up Bloglines to see who has updated!
However it also identified:
  • when people have not updated for a while.
  • blogs which don't have a feed
  • blogs where there is a problem with the feed.
About 10% of the blogs in my blogroll had a problem producing a recognised feed. Have you checked yours recently?

[Update (09.07.08): I've only just noticed that the Blogger blog Blogger Buzz has a post all about the new Blog List - Blogger Buzz: Show off your favorite blogs with a Blog List]

Every so often I have rethink about the blogroll on this blog. A link to my blogroll policy appears in the RH column. This explains the various criteria I use for who gets in the blogroll - and a lot of the reasons are personal to me.

However one of the criteria is regularity of posting. The reason for this is that I find it very disappointing when I click on a link in somebody else's blogroll and find that the blog has died (as happened this week) or hasn't had any new posts for quite a longish period. On the whole, with very few exceptions (related to quality of the content) and ignoring short breaks and holidays, my aim is that 95% of the blogs listed in my blogroll post on a more or less regular basis.

I should explain that I actually subscribe to many more blogs in Bloglines and only a selection appear on this blog. I think I've got to the stage where I want to review which blogs go in which blogroll and I'm going to start making some changes over the next couple of months. One of the factors that helps get a blog into my MAM blogroll is if it has a great blogroll which is also kept under active review!

If you have a shorter blog roll you might want to explore the option to include a post title and a snippet from the most recent post as well. Personally I thought it started to make my side column too cluttered and too much like a blog reader - and I've already got one of those!

I didn't add in the subscription widget as it appears a bit too limited and reader rather than e-mail oriented and I find a lot of my readers like their subscriptions as e-mails - although I'm less than happy with Feedblitz which seems to have messed up the delivery (ie it didn't) of two blog posts last week - AND hasn't explained why.

Enough of Blogger and feeds - what has caught my eye this week?

A Daily Visual Record

Daily Blogs may come and go but some people created visual records on a daily basis a long time before blogs appeared.

Photo of the Day is the site created by friends of Jamie Livingstone a New York-based photographer, film-maker and circus performer. It's been featured on a number of websites because of one simple fact - he took a Polaroid photograph every day for 18 years from March 31, 1979 through to the day of his death on his 41st birthday on October 25, 1997 . Could you do this? Would you do this?

Art Blogs - Artists and their studios

I always LOVE looking at the inside of an artist's studio - and I think a lot of my readers do too.
  • Two bloggers have put several photos up on their blogs of the inside of their studios
  • Anna (See. Be. Draw.) has recently moved and has posted an interesting post discussing the various considerations and approaches to Setting up my art studio.
  • Meanwhile Tracy Helgeson (Works by Tracy Helgeson) inNew York state has now got north light plus has now got her lighting up in her new studio - see Studio Lights for a discussion of the lighting issues and photos of the new set-up
  • Bridget Riley is an English painter who helped to make op art popular in the 1960s. She's now 77 and is still painting in her studio near me in East London. The Guardian this week published Jonathan Jones's interview with Bridget Riley - The life of Riley. Her relevance to the theme of studios is that back in 1968 she founded SPACE - which stands for Space Provision Artistic Cultural and Educational - which is still going after 40 years. Basically space was found for artists to have studios and to be able to work. This is an essay about SPACE and how it came about this is its current website.
Founded in 1968, SPACE produces dynamic environments where individuals and communities can engage in creative processes. SPACE supports artistic production by developing and managing studio space, widens participation in visual arts & media, fostering the creative potential of individuals and communities.

Our mission is to provide ‘space to create’: supporting the creation of art through the provision of creative enviroments; ‘space to engage’: widening engagement in artistic practices; and ‘space to develop’- supporting the development of creative individuals and communities.
About Space
Art Blogs - Realism and Street Art
Art Blogs - Flying Sketchbooks

There have been more posts about those flying sketchbooksArt Blogs - art practice

Different artists have different approaches to preparing to produce a finished work. There again - some just say it differently..........
I have discovered that if I were made into a doll with a pull string on the back, I would say the following phrases: "push those dark values." "Whale down those colors." "Super sharp point on that pencil, ladies." "Do I need to come over there and heckle you?" and "Pick out some wild colors!"
Maggie Stiefvater
Art Blogs - Photography tips and techniques
We all have to take photographs from time to time - and from time to time they;re rather less than wonderful. Here's a couple of posts which might help.
Art Business and Marketing

Showing your art needs some thought and careful preparation - but it also helps if the weather behaves!
Art Exhibitions
Art Forums
  • My post about the recent report on artists in the workforce Fine artists in decline in the USA? has proved to be very popular in terms of visitors and also got picked up and discussed in two art forums - the forum and the portraitartist forum. Some resistance to being considered a statistic in the first while surprise was expressed about who is classified as an artist these days in the second!
  • Various sites and forums seem to be creaking under the increasing weight of members, traffic, database glitches and archives. Wet Canvas is now back up again after a lengthy break. The SquidU Forum contains threads commenting on the fact that the Squidoo site is creaking. What I can never understand is why the big sites don't routinely archive old and little used material to completely separate servers keeping their brand spanking new servers and speedy service for anything which is less than 6 months old - which is the only content which counts with Google for ranking purposes.
Art Materials

My poll "What is your preferred make of soft pastel?" on Pastels - Resources for Artists is doing really well in terms of attracting responses and is also producing some very interesting results.

Click on the image to see a larger version or click the poll question link to go straight to the site and the poll proper
  • 133 people have expressed their views so far
  • Unison and Terry Ludwig are way out in front. They have been battling neck and neck for leadership for weeks now. The current state of play is that Unison had nudged into the lead.
  • Sennelier and Schminke are running joint third
  • There's a really good spread across other brands suggesting that's there's some very clear brand loyalty out there.
  • Do any of the results surprise people? Have you voted yet?
Art Society
  • United Kingdom Coloured Pencil Society: A reminder that the deadline for submission of entries to the 7th Annual Open International Exhibition 2008 is this next Wednesday 9th July - details on the website
  • In my post Blogging art - two new competitions this week I announced that I'll be running a competition at the end of the year for the best art society blog.
  • International Association of Pastel Societies: My thanks to the Pastel Journal Blog for the alert about the creation on the the IAPS site of a map of all its member pastel societies in the USA and across all the continents. I'm always bemused by the fact that the IAPS has still not managed to get the two oldest pastel societies to become members - namely the Société des Pastellistes de France and The Pastel Society.
Data privacy and data protection
Resources for Artists and Art Lovers

My big news this week was that I'm celebrating - I'm now a Giant Squid! (That's 50+ squidoo lenses - my information sites providing resources for artists and art lovers - with a gold star for quality!). Many thanks to all those sending me good wishes.

These are some links from The Art Fair Insider if you would like to read the entire articles I have referenced. The remarks of the artists attending these art fairs are phenomenal...a real wakeup call as to just how terribly vulnerable we are out there. Stone Arch Festival of Arts in Minneapolis,
Omaha Summer Arts Festival,
Chicago...Evanston, Ill,
Evanston, Ill..#2
Severe Weather hits Art Fairs this season! (photos and story)
  • Meanwhile the weather here in London was wonderful last Tuesday - as you can maybe see from Travels with a sketchbook in a Kentish Garden
  • However, today, is the Men's Singles Final at Wimbledon - and so far, obviously, it's been raining on and off since I got up plus the temperature has dropped so much I've had to walk around shutting all the windows and put a fleece to keep warm while I type this! Guess what - rain has delayed the start of play!
Websites and blogging

Lifehacker provides a number of insights into tips, tricks and techniques for making your computer life easier.
while Brian Clark writes on Copyblogger about The Most Powerful Persuasive Element of Blogging

and finally......

Just a very few blogs in my blogroll have posts which only appear every few weeks or months - like Duane Keiser's blog "On Painting" - where his post On "Las Meninas" by Diego Velazquez about his visit to see Las Meninas in the Prado in Madrid in January FINALLY appeared yesterday! Do take a look - it's a very long post which both explains the painting to the uninitiated and relates his response to seeing it. Duane also gives us an excellent account of the way the painting has been painted and of the nature of the brushwork. Plus it has some excellent links to image sources to illustrate points made. But the best part is the sense of the experience of seeing it for the first time 'in the flesh'............
When I first saw it I didn't think about the paint, or the composition, or the narrative. The "art" disappeared and in place of it there was, as Steinberg wrote, an odd sense of being seen and in turn seeing back. Really. I'm not exaggerating. It is a strangely visceral experience.
Duane Keiser - On "Las Meninas" by Diego Velazquez


  1. I have literally just stumbled upon this site. It's a great resource for us fledgling artists, keep it up.

  2. Hi Katherine,
    among the recommended Windows clean-up I am often missing the cleaner by MS - not too many people seem to know about it:

    I can really recommend it!
    Greetings, Petra

  3. Found this site via a link on Sheona Hamilton Grant's website:

    Lots of studio/workspaces to ogle! They all seem very tidy, and dogs feature quite a bit.

  4. Thank you. My new Blogger links widget works a treat - after taking most of the day to enter the data.


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