EBSQ Friday Five: Art Seen

This week’s Friday Five features five recent artworks from various galleries in our community. They are a taste of the diverse and amazing talent of our artists. I hope you enjoy them and have a wonderful weekend!

Please take a moment to check out the artist’s portfolios on EBSQ: Allesandro Andreuccetti, Sherry Key, Torrie Smiley, Martha Di Giovanni, and Janet M. Graham.


EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Cathy Johnson

Artist Cathy Johnson

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.

Winter Morning by Cathy Johnson

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??

Pepi by Cathy Johnson

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.

Old Dairy by Cathy Johnson

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!

Pods by Cathy Johnson

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?

EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Maria Soto Robbins

This week’s EBSQ Blogger of the Week makes me want to head for the beach! Her rich paintings of tropical landscapes and flowers make me swoon. Even her still life paintings make me think of lazy Sundays at the beach. So pull up a seat and meet this incredible artist.

Who and where are you?

First of all, Amanda, thanks so much for asking me to be your Blogger of the Week.  I’m  honored since I know that there are so many more experienced bloggers and so many talented artists on EBSQ. I’m truly touched!
I’m Maria Soto Robbins, a native of Cuba, long time Florida resident, and late comer to painting and blogging.  I started representational painting about 6 years ago and blogging since 2009.  Although I’ve always been creative in crafting, sewing and decorating, I never thought I could master oil painting nor blogging! I’m constantly reading about painting techniques, blogging, marketing, etc. to improve my skills and become better at what I do.  My heritage is very important to me as well and I love to portray scenes of Cuba and also of the Miami area, where we live.  There is so much beauty in south Florida that I’d love to capture on canvas and share with others!
Geranium Red on Round Table
How did you get started art blogging?

Well I saw a lot of talented, self-rep and indie artists on EBSQ that I grew to admire and saw that most, if not all of them, blogged. So, I knew I needed to do that as well. I also read in so many different places that blogging is a must-do in order to help SEO (search engine optimization) rankings, build a collectors list and as a way for others to get to know you.  People who know you and (hopefully) like you, will buy from you. And what better way than to share your art and your thought process with them?
Cuban Coffee & Lime 6
Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

First Tip:
Blog as frequently as you can. For me it’s at least three times a week, usually more. I do see the benefits of blogging frequently (via google analytics) but sometimes I don’t have time to craft a complete post  and instead will just post a description of one of my paintings from one of my venues (Etsy or ebay), along with a picture.  This is still good for the seo however it is lazy approach and I don’t recommend you over do it. The point is to get something out there rather than go for days and days without posting anything on your blog!
Second Tip:
I’d like to share, a simple list I glance at each time I blog. It consists of these basic, but important reminders (adapted from www.dailyblogtips.com):
1.  Did I read the post after writing it?  (You’d be amazed how many times, I’m in a hurry and forget to do this-lol.)
2. Is the post as complete as it could be?
3.  Did I research any related keywords?
4.  Did I think carefully about the title?
5.  Did I link to one or more of my older posts?
6.  Did I link to external resources when appropriate?
7.  Did I check to make sure my links are working?
8.  Did I include an interesting image?
9.  Is this a good day for traffic?
10. Did I proofread and check my spelling?
Third and Most Important Tip:
Besides these things though, the most important thing is to have a certain degree of passion about that which you blog
about and have those feelings shine through to the reader.  It’s a lot about your reader (not you necessarily) and what he hopes to find in your blog. They’re reading because you inspire them somehow!
Miami Beach Ocean Dr Vista
What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’re working in your studio?
Oh, I’m so glad you asked that, because music is very important to my creative process.  I’ve just discovered Johannes Linstead and I have him now on my YouTube playlist. I absolutely love this Canadian’s instrumental music!  My favorite of his is Moonlight in Havana, and Cafe Tropical.  I also listen to Celia Cruz’ Boleros, the Tango Project, Enrique Iglesias. Mostly peppy, happy and rhythmic! Those are some of  the favorites right now.
Royal Poinciana in Cuba
What’s coming next from your easel?
Keep on learning! I have a long list of paintings I would like to tackle and it frustrates me because of the lack of time.  I also plan on working on a big, for me, painting (60×60) of a traditional Cuban landscape scene.  This is more of a long-range project and I’m in the planning stages still.   Each painting is a lesson for the next one, and there are so many more lessons that I need to make!

Thank you Maria 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?

Join Today!

EBSQ Blogger of the Week: Brenda Boylan

This week’s EBSQ Blogger is a pastel artist who’s not afraid to take her art on the road. You might find her on a street corner, a city park or even out in the countryside. Her pastel paintings are vibrant, colorful impressions of the beauty all around us.

Who and where are you?

Hi!  I’m Brenda Boylan (also known as “Lil’ b”, by my closest friend).  Painting with soft pastels in the studio or en plein-air is what I LOVE to do!  I’ve been painting professionally for 16 years and am a member of the Northwest Pastel Society and a few other regional organizations.  I have won a few awards with my work and more recently my work was published in the Best of America Pastel II Series.

I’m also married to the man of my dreams and a mom of two very busy kids, so you could say I’m pretty fulfilled.  I live in the Great Northwest, Portland, Oregon, where tree huggers and salmon run free.  This region offers artists a lot of beautiful areas to gain inspiration from.

Albrights Donuts, 12x9 inches, Pastel

How did you get started art blogging?

I started blogging mostly out of curiosity.  Visiting my favorite artists’ websites, (some from EBSQ) I noticed that a lot of them had really cool blogs which kept me coming back for more. From their example, I figured out how and what I would blog about.  Also, I was told that Blogging is a simple way to market my work to a wider market and that I can easily build relationships with my visitors.  Sounded easy to me!  So I jumped right in, and have been posting weekly since September of ’07.  Blogging keeps me accountable to my art and motivates me to paint on a regular basis which can sometimes be hard with my busy life.

Rise From Water, 5x5 inches, Pastel

Any tips for other EBSQ art bloggers?

Keep it simple and have interesting things to write about that others may learn from.  Also, post regularly!  I have found bloggers who don’t post regularly don’t give me any reason to return.

Being Sour Has it's Benefits, 6x6 inches, Pastel

What’s your musical inspiration of choice when you’re working in your studio?

I love to listen to a lot of different stuff.  Currently, I use Pandora.com and have created a “station” I mixed with 80 punk/new wave music as well as the other side of the spectrum of Classical and new age instrumental sounds.  More recently, the background sounds of jazz are beginning to appeal to me more and more.

Buoy Dance, 18x12 inches, Pastel

What’s coming next from your easel?

I’m getting ready to create a larger version of a study I did last November ’09, called “Evening Reflections“.  I have been working on a series of 24×24” scenes of my family’s farm, but have moved beyond that idea to include other property lines filled with moody color. This one study is just what I’d like to make on a larger scale.  Sometimes a study doesn’t translate into a larger piece, so I will be trying to capture the mood more than the exact likeness of the study.


Thank you Brenda 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?

Join Today!