news and thoughts on social media
recent sketchbook pages
It's been (so far) a hot and dry summer, paint dries quickly, the light and shadows inspire ideas, it's not easy to take good evenly-lit photographs....Right now we are enjoying a slightly cooler few days and I am attempting to make the most of the them. I'm working on a new collection of paintings and will share more here soon.
My working method has shifted a bit - instead of sharing one painting at a time with the world, as they happen, drip by drip, I am working on things, putting them to one side, continuing on with evolving ideas and then looking at the group of paintings as a small body of work. This allows me to just get on with it but also gives me the opportunity to make work that I feel matters rather than become anxious about social media feedback. I am remembering how things were before the internet - when an artist put things away in a drawer and looked at a picture with fresh eyes a week or a month later. And yes I know many artists still work in this way and have never shifted their approach - but when you mostly sell online there is a certain pressure to share, to feel the need to be constantly engaged with your audience, least they slip away from you.... All of these anxieties are based on a certain amount of unreality, but can become real if you let them....
Whilst of course I value the opportunity to share my work and gain insight into how others think, I have allowed my own responses to be, to some extent, sidelined. If I wish to continue to evolve and develop my skills I need to be more independent-thinking, whilst engaging with others when it feels right. Social media is not a problem, but my approach to it has had to change. It can become a treadmill if you let it, a demanding always hungry baby, a place where ideas can be virtually ignored if your post is 'ill-timed', or you simply depend on it too much.
I have gained some great collectors and friends via places like Instagram and do not underestimate the importance of this.... However, I know I need to keep a balance, work at my own pace, listen to what I really want or rather let the work become what it wants to become.... I hope this makes some sense.... So I am taking a step back from places like Instagram, posting maybe 3 times at most a week instead of posting 6-8 posts a week. This isn't much of a big change for anyone else except me really! But you may be surprised by the amount of thought that can go into planning and considering what gets shared etc... When I joked to a friend recently that social media for artists can be a full-time job I wasn't really joking. You can become a slave to it, not only in the way you think of your own work but in relationships with other artists and the anxiety of always making sure you keep up with what everyone is doing. That anxiety can wear you down and take energy away from where it should be - in your studio space, problem-solving. My favourite thing to do is just paint and problem solve as I work. And my problem solving needs to be based on my own brain's thinking.
Now I must stress I have not got to breaking point with using social media - but I know a few people who have. It can cause people to regret, delete, become depressed and anxious. As someone who has lived with depression and anxiety for many years I know by now if something is making me unhappy I need to step back and do something about it, proactively, positively. As an artist I don't wish to become blinded by social media responses, but I would like to be able to enjoy what should be a fantastic opportunity to share and explore, connect and flourish..... Feelings such as not being part of a certain clique, feeling you need to project a more positive image, be friendlier - all of these come about via overuse of social media - and take you away from your own work.
I've suddenly written an essay - which was not my intention. If this helps others I will be glad. And if you have any feedback then please do get in touch (leave a comment or email me, if you like).
So there will be times when I don't share much online but these times will be relatively short periods.
I hope to share new paintings here very soon! And will post again at the end of the week.
I plan to update my shop next week - (Wednesday 18th at 2pm) with a selection of new paintings and more. I have several tucked away - and I just hope you may enjoy seeing them. They are mostly figurative works in acrylics.