Monday, December 06, 2010

Why be an art blogger?

What's the point in producing an art blog like mine which focuses more on art in general rather than my own art? Well because sometimes you get letters like the one below.  I'm not good at tooting for myself - and would far rather other people do it for me.

Do you ever email to art bloggers and tell them what their blog means to you?

This is also by way of an introduction to the opportunity for YOU to nominate art bloggers and their blogs for the 2010 Making A Mark Awards - starting from tomorrow.
Dear Katherine

I have been meaning to write to you for some time now as I wanted to thank you for your blog which, at the risk of sounding corny, has made a huge impact on my life.

A few years ago, I moved with my family to Egypt from Dublin and decided to spend more time with my art. I have always painted but with a young family and a busy schedule, I was unable to do so in Dublin. In Egypt, I learnt how to use the internet, and visited art-related websites in order to further my knowledge. One of the websites that I enjoyed the most was WetCanvas, particularly the Scavenger Hunts on the Artwork from Life forum. Someone there put me on to your blog, and I have enjoyed reading your posts ever since.

My aunt lives in London, and so when I went to visit her two years ago, I was keen to visit Kew Gardens and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery which had just opened.You had written very positively about it. The artwork made a huge impression on me, and I remember thinking that I would like to become a botanical artist .At the time, my family just laughed at me and it seemed an impossible dream.  A few months later, you did an interview with Margaret Stevens and spoke about the Distance Learning Diploma Course. I made a comment at the time.

Encouraged by a friend here, I decided to apply last year and to my amazement, I was accepted on the course. It stared in January this year. I was really nervous to begin with but the tutors have been really encouraging, and my marks have been really good. In fact, Margaret Stevens asked if she could use two of my assignments in next year's exhibition. To say that I was ecstatic is an understatement, especially since I have never even exhibited before! Okay, I appreciate that it will be in the student's section, but it's still a great achievement for me.

As my friend pointed out, this time last year I wasn't even sure if I was good enough for the course.

I'm attaching my Flower Assignment which will be in the exhibition. It's a Ceiba Speciosa or Silk floss tree- a gorgeous flowering tree which is everywhere in Cairo.

Silk Floss Tree by Shevaun Doherty
I want to continue with the botanical art after I have finished the course, hopefully using my art to promote environmental awareness in Egypt. I have already been asked to get involved in creating an illustrated plant guide for schools here in Egypt.

Anyway, I just wanted to write and let you know how your blog can affect the lives of those who read it in a positive way.

So once again, many thanks for your wonderfully informative blog. I am sure that there are many artists-to-be around the world who have taken inspiration from your words.

Wishing you all the best,


  1. What a fabulous letter and magnificent botanical painting. Happy Holidays. Seems like yesterday we were rushing to London for Callum's unexpected early Christmas arrival.

  2. Congratulations, Shevaun!

    Katherine, it's a wonderful letter of thanks and I know I'm among the hundreds of readers of MAM who have benefited from this extraordinary blog. Don't stop, whatever you do. :)

  3. Hi Katherine
    I loveyour blog and often refer friends and students to it. I'd love to leave a message for Shevaun if I may - to say congratulations on such a wonderful achievement in such a short time. I think one of the greatest things about distance learning can be the realization that you become your own greatest teacher - and all the greatest teachers know that you spend all your life learning, still. Your work is wonderful, an inspiration - just like Katherine.

  4. Wonderful story Katherine, thanks for sharing it here. Bravo Shevaun for your accomplishments and thanks to both of you for reminding us that we each have benefited in our art journeys by a bit of inspiration or the kindness of another. It is good to acknowledge those along our path.

  5. Well deserved kudos, Katherine, you are an inspiration to many! I am in awe of your work and blogs.

    And Shevaun, how wonderful, congratulations! You know I've always loved your work on Flickr...would love to see you on the nature blog!

  6. It was a wonderful comment and illustrates one of the great joys of the internet. And it was well deserved too.

  7. I too wish to add my congratulations to Shevaun. What a beautiful botanical painting. Incredible and wonderful to hear her story. Katherine, I rely on your blog for all kinds of information. I think you are amazing!

  8. Katherine its lovely to see your influence in action. Sharing is inherent in most artists, but more so for you. Its good to know others benefit from your knowledge. Thank you.

    Congratulations to Shevaun on all her accomplishments, well done.

  9. What a wonderful letter - and there's gotta be a hundred others who have been equally influenced, but never wrote. Isn't that grand? Congratulations! Kim

  10. Yay Shevaun. Both you and Katherine know how much I admire you and I have learned from both of you. If not for Katherine, I would probably still be using a grid for drawing and hiding inside my house. And Shevaun you know how much I have always loved your art. I love the blogs and websites that provide so much information that helps everyone improve and gain confidence.


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN CLOSED AGAIN because of too much spam.
My blog posts are always posted to my Making A Mark Facebook Page and you can comment there if you wish.

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.