Sunday, March 9, 2014

Ten Year Anniversary



I’m coming up on my ten year anniversary of writing articles for the web. We started publishing April of 2004 with a site called Outdoorpainting.com.  I started the actual writing that March. The site was owned by friend and fellow painter Stefan Baumann. Stefan had secured the domain but was busy with his PBS show The Grand View and wanted someone to write content for the site.
 
I had wanted to write about artists I admired and about the painting process. I agreed to monthly articles and limit the focus of them to outdoor painting and painting from life. I would retain the rights to all of my creative content and Stefan keep all other rights  to  the site.

We invited other notable painters to join the site and  we created free content on historical artists and articles for people looking for information about painting.  It was one of the first sites of its kind.  As the way people used the net changed the site started to show its age as a newsletter. Blogs had become popular and allowed people like me to forgo the need of a hosted domain. At the end of 2008 I had been talking to Jim Gurney about blogging and he suggested I start my own blog. I started the Art and Influence blog as a continuation of the writing I started on Outdoorpainting.com.  I expanded my focus to include all of my interests which included illustration and studio painting not just painting from life.

It has been an interesting ten years but I feel I need to change things up some more. I am not the same artist I was ten years ago and my focus has changed along with my abilities. Social media has replaced a lot of interest that blogs and newsletters once held. There are many people doing what I do now, some better some worse; some even reusing my content, sometimes without my permission and appropriate credit. One of the side effects of success I guess.

This is where I would like some feedback. The blog still gets a substantial number of unique visitors a month, so I know people still read it. What I would like to know is what kind of content are you the reader most interested in?  As much as I have changed over the years, I assume my readership demographic has also changed.  I have some ideas where I would like to go with this but this is a very labor intensive for me. Writing does not come easy to me so if I am going to focus my efforts somewhere I would like it to have maximum impact.  So what would keep you reading the blog for another ten years? I would like to hear your comments.  You can either comment below or if you are shy you can write privately to me with suggestions.

18 comments:

Maywyn Studio said...

I look forward to reading your blog, and always find your posts interesting. Its not like me to not have ideas, but in the case of your blog, I think its perfect as is.
Thank you

Carole Pivarnik said...

Having only discovered your blog a few months ago, I am still catching up on content. So much good stuff here. But the articles that resonate most with me are the ones about your processes -- both mechanical and mental -- that apply to your painting, whether that be plein air or studio work.

I would love to read more opinion pieces about the art market and what's selling and why. Not so much about actual marketing unless it's something different from the same old same old that everyone seems to be writing about (aka social media, which I think has been vastly over-emphasized as a method for direct sales of art...but that might just be my inexperience talking or else I'm just sick of hearing the same thing over and over again on every art blog out there).

Regardless, I hope you will keep the blog active even if you don't post much. Painting, after all, is more fun than writing :)

Mark Szymanski said...

My preference is for you to keep doing what you're doing, perhaps some on the composition of painting, especially some wide set up shots and some where you have cropped down on what you've decided to paint. I know it's quite personal, and then you decide what to include in your composition. I am always curious as to how another artist approaches the same issues I do. Love any and all how to articles, taking pic's of your paintings was (is) quite timely.

Jesse Hamm said...

I like all of it: notes on technique & composition, ruminations on the business of art, introductions to past masters who don't get much attention.

To maximize your impact, I'd recommend organizing your favorite entries into an archive by subject (or even just have each piece listed by title), all linked on one page, to make things easier to find or peruse. Blogspot makes it easy to access an author's latest content, but it's hard to scroll through months of Blogspot entries to find this or that. (Plus, if you organize a "best of," it would be easier to package it all as a book at some point, further extending its impact.)

Jim Serrett said...

Armand, first off congratulations and a sincere thank you. You have been an inspiration and a wealth of knowledge, I do not think you realize how much influence artists like yourself, James Gurney, Stapleton Kearns, Daniel Maidman and others have contributed. I hope you keep writing those in-depth, knowledgeable article about art and art making from your experiences.
And yes the web is changing, changing into snippets and scraps of information, give me those article with informed comprehensive portions of information!
Oh yea, more demos.

Charles Dickinson said...

Keep going Armand. Maybe a series of thoughts on SciFi and Fantasy art throughout the years, the artist producing the work and their influences.


Cheers

Charlie

Karen Thumm said...

I pretty much agree with all that every one else has said. I enjoy your blog very much as it is.

I agree with Carole that social media is overrated for marketing art, plus people are getting weary of the time sink it is and are pulling away. I don't go to Facebook to get art information; I read blogs that resonate with me.

I most enjoy reading blogs by successful contemporary artists such as yourself, James Gurney and Stapleton Kearns. They have the most relevance and value to me and my art.

Please keep up your posts!

Jo Castillo said...

I read and enjoy your blog as is even if I don't always comment. I much prefer reading blogs as opposed to the snippets on social media. Yours is always helpful and interesting. I have learned a great deal. I like seeing your work and hearing your stories. Thanks.

James Gurney said...

Hey, Armand,

Congrats on ten years. I hope you keep up your mix of the business of art, studio practicalities, and profiles of lesser known artists from the past.
Thanks to everyone who mentioned GurneyJourney as a destination.

I think the blogging format offers more scope for a thoughtful presentation (and feedback). I love when you share multiple pictures of your demos.

Twitter and Facebook are great, too, but they're more bite-sized and superficial.

Sean said...

I have really enjoyed your blog, and very much hope you'll continue another ten years (and more!) with the great content.

I continue reading because of your mix of commentary on current trends, and very helpful breakdowns of masters old and new. Most of all, though, I am detail-oriented and really enjoy your posts on painting in different environments -- approach, setup, technique given certain conditions, etc.

Thank you for taking the time to keep this up for so many years -- you've enriched the work we all do.

padmaja said...

A lot of learning has happened for me here, thanks to your wonderful variety of content. I keep going back to the index and read and re read some posts.Yous posts are always brimming with knowledge and wisdom, I enjoy your blog as it is, but change in directin is always interesting, so I look forward to what you are going to share in the future.

JonInFrance said...

Yep, people seem agreed there! Many thanks - that's what I really want to say...

Scott Suitts said...

I like the Blog, it seems a more complete expression of your ideas and images. The other medias don't seem as complete and as in-depth. Plus, the blog can be checked at work during the lunch hour. Other medias are usually blocked.

So Congrats on the 10 years of Blogging, I have been enjoying it for awhile now.

broker12 said...

Armand . . . I would like to see and read what goes on just below the paint. Translation: some of the personal and technical stuff and thinking other artists use when composing, color mixing, and laying on the paint.

In particular, I'd like to hear what other artists have to say about how they manage and mix color. I often read that an artist used mostly cobalt blue, or cad yellow medium here or there. But how do they modify it, temper it? Do they use neutral grays, and if so, how to they mix them. When do they use, say, raw umber instead of a neutral gray to adjust chroma.

I keep hearing about using complements for this, but -- blush -- a small confession: I can go through a couple of tubes of paint trying to "gray down" a color with a complement. Of course, I was 11 before I learned to tie my shoes.

Bus seriously, I think you see what I mean . . . maybe you could publish interviews with other artists from time to time and let mine them for those things that, to my mind, matter. I know they use red, yellow and blue, but how do they modifying them, and how?

Judy P. said...

Of course I always soak up your posts on technique, also you have written at times distilling down famous paintings, explaining what they have in common, and what makes them work. Those I think really resonate, they hone our eye to a deeper level, helping us to really see- that's invaluable! I can't add more to what the others have written- I just want to say congrats on ten years!

Julie Schauer said...

Dear Armand,
Wish I had seen your blog sooner. I'm writing a blog on Henry O Tanner and will reference your page, when the time comes. Interesting career you've had, and that you are self-taught. I note how interesting it is that artists love Joaquin Sorolla, while art historians don't give him much attention. Funny we don't live to far away and i'd love to see your works sometime

ARMAND CABRERA said...

I want to thank everyone for all of the kind words and suggestions. I really appreciate positive sentiments. The feedback has given me some ideas and I am going to incorporate some new ways to present the information while keeping the core of the blog intact. Thanks again.

Todd Bonita said...

two more cents....Nice decade of work Armand, thanks for all you do...I would write what excites you. Like painting, if you are excited about it, it is less effort to paint it as apposed to painting (or writing) something you have to work to excited about. Your readership responds to you and your voice. Uniquely Armand! I love it when you show process photos and talk about them too. Hope you do it another ten years. Well done.