Monday, September 13, 2010

Thoughts and Questions about My Three Year Blog Birthday

As my blog approaches it's third birthday (Oct 4th), 1090 posts and counting, I have been thinking and questioning. Oddly enough it almost seems sacrilegious to question my blog and its purpose, but I must.

My blog, a long time friend to me, needs a change. The necessity of posting daily, which I have taken so seriously, much to the annoyance to many family members, is the issue. Is it helping or stymieing my growth as an artist?  I often find that my work schedule is wrapped around that need to post. My posts are sometimes uninteresting and simply a post. 

When I began my blog October 4, 2007 it was as a discipline. Finally I had the joy of painting full time and teaching only part time. A celebration. I wanted to be accountable for my time so that I would never fritter away this hard-won victory. A Painting-a-day blog was my answer.

Now, fast forward...... and I find the need for accountability is not there. My "need" to paint is so embedded in me that it could be considered an obsession. Now I wonder, is need to create a small painting each day distracting me from the larger goal of creation. My work en plein air has grounded me and continues to help me understand light and I will never leave it. But who is the steering wheel, me or the blog?

Yipes! This has been in my head for a long time. As I purge my thoughts I am relieved and uneasy at the same time. So tell me bloggers, I am certain that you have met this challenge as well. Please take a moment and share your thoughts. Folks without blogs (we love you too), I am sure you can relate, what is your experience?

Thanks y'all!


Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Hi Loriann,
I read this post, came away and re read wondering how to reply.... here goes.
I lurked on your blog for many months before I plucked up the courage to comment, and then only after I'd started my own. I really appreciated the time and effort that goes into posting something everyday, even more now I'm trying to myself. I have enjoyed the daily post more than you can imagine and have gone back and caught up with the archive, it's always been interesting to see what you have done. If this is becoming too much of a 'chore' though and taking time away from your other work, which is more important, then maybe it's time to just slow down and take a break. We'll be here when you get back. Just a suggestion but maybe you could try posting once a week with an update of the work that you do? One thing that I would like to add though, I have never read any of your posts and come away feeling that it was,'uninteresting and simply a post'.

loriann said...

Hi Lisa and thank you so much for your thoughts and taking the time to comment. Reading your comment made my eyes water. First, congratulations on having the courage to start your own blog! Welcome to the blogosphere! Careful, it will change your life...for the better:-)
I am happy to hear you have enjoyed my posts and do not feel them dull...even when I sometimes feel them substandard. It's not as much that the blog is a fact I love posting each day....I just feel I am falling behind my other gallery responsibilities. Last week I was asked for 3 large pieces and that was all I had 3 large, 5 million small.... the buyer had no choice and went on. (good news and bad...I had sold the other large or they were in shows)
I would probably spend all my time outside painting small ones yet I am eager to challenge myself bigger and more memory based.
I like your suggestion of posting once a week...and am tortured to miss the dailies! I must be a nut!It's funny I really do love the part of sharing AND responding to comments. Thank you so much for yours, you made my day Lisa!

Lisa Le Quelenec said...

Thank you and you are most welcome. It seems you know in your heart what you must do. Sometimes it is very hard to cut a cord but then you do it and realise that you can grow and are much better for it. It's a tough decision, good luck.

Double "D" said...

I agree with posting once a week or maybe don't even put an expectation of how many and when. Post when you can, comfortably. You won't lose your strong following of bloggers waiting to see and learn from you.
Do whats right for Loriann, don't let the blog control what you do. It's far more important for you to think and paint bigger more beautiful works to continue your need to learn and explore, but on your schedule, not the blog. Who knows what you'll try without the pressure of a blog.

We'll follow you where ever you choose to go.

loriann said...

Thanks Lisa!

loriann said...

Hi PB!
You are so sweet!Thanks so much for the encouragement. I really appreciate it. You have been a real friend to me...and imagine we met on blog! cheers my friend! Loriann

Jan Yates, SCA said...

Hi Loriann,

Lisa and Double D have some wise words and I agree. May I also add that it seems to be your generous nature to share in your ideas, process and inspiration - benefiting those of us who read your blog- --so I think that you will continue to enlighten us in the progression of your larger works (I hope) as well...being an artist is about Quest(ions) is it not? It's the unknowing that we can count on--congratulations on your blog anniversary.

Astrid Volquardsen said...

Hi Loriann,
I always admired your output and wondered at the same time how you could keep up the amount of work. Your blog was and always is an inspiration and it brought me to the point, not always to want to paint the big and perfect painting.
But I do see your point and it's not always possible with the dayily hassle to keep up both: Painting daily outside and complete bigger studio work. My advice: Cut down the daily blogging to once or twice a week so you don't fall behind the other stuff.But I wouldn't cut down the blogging completely,because it still helps a lot to clarify your artistic standing. And besides, your customers love to get to know the artist behind the paintings...

Sonya Johnson said...

Hi Loriann,

Clearly, your blog has served its original purpose for you quite well! The discipline and dedication you have for doing daily paintings for coming up on three years is quite remarkable to me, and I've certainly enjoyed following your blog since I found it sometime last year. I enjoy both seeing your paintings and reading about your thought processes/musings with each.

Ultimately, even though your blog appears to be an extension of your artistic spirit/soul, if you will, it is a tool and therefore, it is yours for you to do with as you wish. I don't think you have to worry about letting your readers down if you choose to regroup and adjust your approach and posting frequency to your blog; we'll still be here!

I'm actually coming up on the 1 year anniversary of my blog at the end of the month, and can totally relate to the positive impact you've described. But, it is definitely time-consuming! For the moment, it's a worthwhile expenditure of my time, as it has been for you.

With that, I only have two more words to add:

Rock On!


Casey Klahn said...

Happy birthday!

What is difficult (in my mind) is that you have an identity of daily blogging, and more so painting. But, I think that there is room for expressing that - maybe the schedule button is your ally?

To be fair, your blog's identity is way, way more than daily posts - to me it is free and abstracted landscapes. I read the other day that readers don't come for the art or the words, but the vision presented.

I ramble...and I am so glad to be a reader of yours.

RRoseman said...

I must admit that much as painting is your daily vitamin, I have come to look upon your blog as my daily inspiration-I bring my coffee to the computer and check my emails and then your blog! So, you should know that your blog has been appreciated by many of us struggling with the same process of finding our way in art-
I hope you keep blogging in a way that works for you...but know that your effort has been noted and appreciated.

Janelle Goodwin said...

I always love checking your blog, kind of like my daily vitamin. You've been extremely generous with your explanations and though processes. Not only that, but you've always been supportive of other artists. Please do whatever works for you. No matter what you decide, I will always consider you a dear bloggy friend!

Sheila Vaughan said...

Loriann, I met up with this problem a few months ago and decided to give up the "daily painting" discipline in order to explore what I really wanted to do in terms of art and indeed whether I still wanted to continue the search - I needed space to find out and it is still a relief to me that I don't feel pressured to produce a small painting every day. I found it hit me economically but creatively is a gift from above! Good luck and enjoy the freedom!

SamArtDog said...

I hardly know what to say, but that hasn't stopped me before, so here's my stream of consciousness, sprung from the post you leaked. Blogging has taught me bevity, so I'll keep it short. Just the facts, m'am...

Your blog is a garden and you grow great tomatoes.

Besides inspiration; you're a teacher and a friend.

You have a public and we love you.

Life is short; use yours exactly as you want.

Follow your heart.

Paint with as few words as possible.

I thank you for every word.

Don't stop now.

No pressure.

Har har. :0)

Jala Pfaff said...

Hi Loriann,
I too have gone back and forth about my art's relationship to my blog. Sometimes the fact that I have the blog forces me (in a good way) to go paint when I might've just watched a bad reality cooking show (for some reason, an addiction). When I started out, I really wanted to post every day, and it has gradually evolved to where I finally don't feel guilty if I only post a couple of times a week, when I really feel a need to or have a new painting to show.
Personally, I think you should post only when you feel like it. If that IS every day, great. If not, also great. We'll be here regardless. :)

loriann said...

Wow everyone, I am really touched by your support and to see that it, in its very small way, helps others, not just me. I will continue to consider my options before making a decision. Now let me answer everyone..

Hi Jan and thank you! You are so right it is a quest...full of questions,of which not all have answers. (at least that I will ever know!)

Hi Astrid, you make some good points. Though it's strange the blog has never been a hassle, I love the blog. Strange, eh? I wish I had 30 hour days instead of the usual 24. I have tried sleeping less, but it just makes me dull. Since that doesn't work I have to find a different way. My husband Paul has put his plug that he doesn't want his time cut. And I have sooooo many ideas to work out in paint and pastel! I guess there could be worse problems!

Hi Sonya, Yes you are right the blog served its initial purpose, it's just figuring out how it will survive its growing pains. Thanks for your support and happy blogging birthday!

Hi Casey, you bring up some good points. I wish the schedule button could solve it...but they still need to be painted and written about.I also feel I need to try to contribute something, not just take up blog space. I am rarely successful, but I try. When I get to these hills I just tell myself, this too will pass. And it does...some how in a about another month I will know my blog's next destination- whether I perseverate or not;-)

Hi RRoseman!
Thank you so much. All this time I did not know we shared coffee together! Blogging is so cool. We all do have similar battles and triumphs and I agree it's good to know we can share. I always look forward to my comments and answering them. I really appreciate your support and your kind words!
Till later!

Hi Janelle, my bloggy friend! Thank you! I love your blog too!

Hi Sheila!
Thank you for your words of advice. I love your blog. It's good to also hear from someone who has been through this.

Hi Sam, I am sure glad that has not stopped you before! A tomato??? Thank you for all for your support. I ALWAYS look forward to your comments! No pressure;-)

loriann said...

Hi Jala, Your comment must have come in when I was answering the others.I know you and I have spoken about this struggle and you seem to be managing it quite well. I too will work it out-somehow_I am sure glad that you will be there regardless! Thanks for your support!

Brian McGurgan said...

You're getting lots of great feedback here, Loriann, which is no surprise considering you've got quite a fan base out there. I'm approaching four years with my blog and - although I've never attempted daily posts - I have frequently posted work I regret sharing simply for the sake of getting something up there. I've debated stopping my blog altogether and have considered posting less frequently (I'm down to a post once every week or two now). Somehow I just keep going with it, though - mainly because it has introduced me to a world of blogging friends like you who inspire and educate me with your work and encourage me with your words. Speaking of which, your memory dawn pastels are beautiful and I just love your reworked underpaintings (I rather liked the first go-around with them as well but they're just gorgeous now!).

loriann said...

Hi Brian! Yes you are right I am getting lots of great feedback.I fell fortunate!
I agree with you there are many posts I wish I hadn't made...awful paintings that immediately made it into the trash. I have always told myself that it is just process and not to let anything to too precious or too embarrassing since it is just a road. Easier to say.
I also agree with you that the blogging world is awesome. It is like a large connected studio, don't you think?.
Thanks about the memory's hard to put them out since they seem so incomplete. I really liked yours..not incomplete at all.Can't wait to see your next steps..please post as you work, ok?Process right?

Caroline said...

Well it is the early hours of the morning here in Scotland and I have been so busy with tutorials and then paperwork yawn am I tired! but I felt I had to quickly nip into blogger land to see what you had posted up today..ta da! surprise...! I think your work would look wonderful in a large size as so much of your work is about atmosphere and is emotive work. You will find that a week does fly by very quickly. I think it will be a challenge to work quietly on one painting after all you have been learning so much during your painting a day blog. Great that you shared all you learned too. Thank you. Just blog when you can I will look forward to seeing more of your works when you can manage it. Good night or should it be good morning!

loriann said...

Hi Caroline! Thanks for taking time, even in the wee hours of the morning.Thanks for the encouragement!

Nika said...

I think in a way you answered your own question, Loriann. Three years of daily blogging is an admirable feat. Although I visit your blog almost daily and I LOVE reading even the smallest bits of wisdom you have to offer, I often wonder how it's humanly possible to keep up such a high output. Honestly, I never read a single "substandard" post of yours, and I'm in awe of your dedication!
However it sounds that the daily posting that you've been practicing has stopped serving it's original purpose - to develop a discipline. Well, you're already driven belief and if you post a few times a week instead of every day, blogging will still be a useful tool and not turn into a burden. You're first of all accountable to yourself, so do what serves you best. Don't you worry, we'll still be checking in and following your progress! Hugs.

Celeste Bergin said...

Compliments for "discussing" your misgivings. There must be 5-8 blogs on my blogroll where the author just stopped explanation1 One day they just didn't come back. You can handle it like that and/or you can create a dialog about it (as you have). I blog nearly every day and I know that sometimes my "material" is thin. I still like blogging though--I'll stop when and if it becomes burdensome. We all live with these self imposed rules. Heed your inner voice--you can't go wrong!

loriann said...

Hi Nika, Thanks for your comment. I can always count on you to be so sensible and straight forward...if you ever play darts I am sure you will hit the target. Thanks for your kind words. I think I am coming closer to a working solution.

Hi Celeste,
Thank you for stopping by to weigh in on this discussion. I appreciate your feedback. You hit the nail on the head I have always lived with strict self-imposed words. Discipline accompanied by the guilt when not fulfilling my own expectations...probably the result of a strict Catholic upbringing that I thought I discarded. I will take your advice to heed my inner voice.

Anonymous said...

Hi Loriann,
Your posts have been amazingly instructive to me and I follow and experiment with many of your techniques. I learn so much from you. I too struggle with time management and advise you to do what is good for YOU and your creative process. Your art should be fun, not stressful. So cut down a bit and enjoy :) Orit

B Boylan said...


Even if I don't have time to read every post, I still drop by for some of that "Loriann eye candy". I have often wondered just how you find the time for your daily blogging AND responding to each and every one of us. Truly the mark of a successful blogger! But alas, when you first started out to blog, what was your true intent? To create more work? To teach? To reach another market? All I'm sure. And, you have done it! I say make room for Loriann and paint more, post less.

Caroline Bray Art said...

Hi Loriann! I totally understand your desire to take a step back and rethink things and I think it's good that you're doing so - it's a great way to grow. Personally, I find your blog invaluable - the lessons, thoughts and observations you share inspire many of us out here in cyber-space. Not only do you lead us in lessons of technique and skill etc. but, more importantly, you show us the benefits of taking a step back and questioning/reassessing, which can only lead to growth and development. So from a selfish point of view, please don't stop blogging!

That said, I thnk posting once a day can, at times, have a detrimental effect on any artist's output and suffocate devlopment in other directions. I know that's how the idea makes me feel - I've only ever managed one a day for a week. Personally, I can't control my creativity and discipline it to come to me once a day. There are times when we need to spend longer on pieces or take a change of direction that doesn't fit with the one-post-a-day template.

Why not live your life free from your blog for a while, posting say once a week is a great idea but why not go further? Why not let creativity rule? Post when the moment takes you and see what happens...

loriann said...

Hi Orit! Are you my anonymous friend?
I am thrilled that you have been following and experimenting....and that you have learned! I totally agree with you time management is probably the hardest thing. One day a friend said to me that it was comforting to hear that even famous artists have to do the dishes, pick up the kids,grocery shop and figure out how to get the roof fixed (just to name a few). We are all in this boat together. Don't worry I won't leave the blog; it's just a matter of figuring out what my inner self will allow me to do. cheers and thank you!!!


loriann said...

Hi Brenda!
Loriann eye candy ...hee heee! When i started out my blog my intent was so simple it has grown along with my art.Thanks for your support....I love your blog too.

loriann said...

Hi Caroline,
thank you thank you! And do not worry I am not ready to stop blogging. I am sure that I get more out of it than anyone else. For me I learn through articulating thoughts and concepts.I am well on my way to figuring this out with the tremendous amount of help I have received from my blogger friends around the world. I really appreciate your thoughts, support and kind words. I really didn't know so many people really read my blog. I must say I really enjoy your blog as well. Thanks again!!!!