Who and where are you?
Actually settling on a name is a bit hard these days, but though I remarried a few years ago, I use my professional name “out here in the world.” So, Cathy Johnson…(my friends call me Kate, and my married name is Ruckman…) I live in a small town in the Midwest, about 30 miles from where I was born—Independence, Missouri.
How did you get started art blogging?
I began selling on eBay years ago, and made friends with a group of other really neat sellers, most of whom loved art and antiques; they invited me to join their consortium, a discussion list. They told me several of them had blogs, and I checked them out…liked them, so started one of my own, the Quicksilver Workaholic on Live Journal. It’s been crazy, ever since! I now have 9 in addition to that one–two that I use for classes, two group blogs, and my own stuff. I wanted to be able to focus rather than trying to throw everything into the Workaholic blog…some focus, eh??
Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?
I’d say think about what and what you actually want to do on your blog. Do you just want to share your work? Do you want a place to put up good-quality images? Do you want to open discussions on art and what it means? How interactive should it be? What should it look like?
Then research what the various services offer. Do you want a free blog, or are you willing to pay? Do you need one that’s user-friendly, or can you do your own .html? Will you pay to have someone else design it? Do you want to put it on your own website?
Do you want to sell? Have links to places like Amazon or Dick Blick? Teach? Run a group blog? Some sites won’t allow commercial use of any sort, including classes, some are fine with it.
I know a lot of artists who use WordPress or Typepad, and they do look rather elegant and offer a lot of options; I found WordPress a little hard to navigate. My original blog is on Live Journal, but it’s more difficult to add links and such; most of my newer ones are on Blogger. It’s free, it’s user-friendly (though customer support isn’t all that handy if you DO have a problem), and it does allow commercial use; I teach classes right there, and also have a gallery blog where I sell my work—when I actually list something!
My group blogs are wonderful—one is Sketching in Nature, which features artists from around the world. It’s here: http://naturesketchers.blogspot.com/ The other grew out of the new book, below…Artist’s Journal Workshop, here: http://artistsjournalworkshop.blogspot.com/ We discuss all aspects of journal keeping for artists. (I also belong to the international group blog, Urban Sketchers, a wonderful group of artists sketching on the spot. http://www.urbansketchers.org/)
I forgot to add not to let it get too addictive, too outward-focused. It can be very time-consuming, photographing your work, uploading it, writing about it. If you set yourself a goal of posting every day, you WILL burn out. It can make your creative time very surface, and can become a burden. Remember, you don’t owe anyone but yourself, really…you’re not obliged to post, it’s a way to share. If life gets in the way and you don’t post for a while, there’s no need to apologize…it’s your blog.
What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’re working in your studio?
Sometimes I listen to Bach or Vivaldi, but mostly I prefer natural sounds and as quiet as I can manage. I built a tiny shed/studio last summer, after many years of working wherever, and find it’s very conducive to working. Sometimes I take a little time for meditation or visualization before starting…but mostly the flow is so ever-present I just reach for something to work with, and jump in that moving river!
What’s coming next from your easel?
I’ve become hooked on plein air work, and seldom use photo references any more, so whatever catches my eye. Usually it’s the way light falls on something…or some detail of nature. I love being OUT there…
I keep an artist’s journal, and in fact my newest North Light book, due out in June, is Artist’s Journal Workshop…I invited 26 other artists to share their journals, tools, methods, thoughts, feelings, reasons for keeping a journal. It’s been fascinating!
I’ve journaled for more than 40 years and written about it for magazines as diverse as The Artists Magazine, Watercolor Artist, Personal Journaling (no longer published), Family Adventures (also no longer around), Country Living and even Sports Afield!
So “next from my easel” is more likely to mean next in my journal, really…
Thank you Cathy for being an EBSQ Blogger of the Week!
If you are an EBSQ Artist and would like to be considered for Blogger of the Week just add us to your blogroll. I’m searching EBSQ profiles weekly for links to artist’s blogs. If you aren’t an EBSQ Artist, what are you waiting for?