Readers of these Twice-Weekly Letters often send quick notes to let me know about something on the Internet — an article, a video, a demo, a book review, that sort of thing.
I’ve often thought that many of our subscribers would appreciate seeing these links. With this in mind, our team has devised a new feature for The Painter’s Keys. It’s called The Painter’s Post. It’s a daily compilation of the latest online material that we think might be of value to creative people. And so not to waste people’s time, we are also including a brief explanation of what each item is about. You can see our very first, hot and speedy edition of The Painter’s Post by going here.
Needless to say, if you wish to contribute ideas, suggestions or links, please send them along directly to me. Further, we are currently setting up a worldwide team of volunteer editors who will look for and submit appropriate material. Our idea is to have a number of these editors so that they can each contribute when they feel like it. I’ve never liked pressure, and I don’t fancy it for my friends. If you’re interested in being part of our team, please just respond to this email and I’ll drop you a note with the basic info.
Editors will be given a username and password so they can come and go from our back-end administration. I was able to put in an item myself this morning — apparently even a challenged person can do it.
Like it or not, print media is in decline while online material and readership is on the increase. So is the amount of poorly written and uninformed junk. We have designed The Painter’s Post to be a “broad-minded filter” that will quickly add genuine information and current interest to our creative lives. If we succeed, it will be in providing further tools for your growth and success. Who knows where it will take us?
We’re hoping that our new venture will be so useful to people that they will make The Painter’s Post their home page, bookmark it, and send it to their like-minded friends. It’s my sincere wish that you’ll get value from The Painter’s Post. Please take a look.
Esoterica: I’m sure lots of folks already know about the guy who makes art in the dust on car windows, another who puts dancing figures in the eye of a needle, and a third who does optical illusions in chalk on sidewalks. But we’ll be open to novelty and humour as well. Fact is, we have a pretty good idea of our readership in 115 countries and we respect every one of them. How we might publicize outstanding workshops and seminars is yet to be figured out. The Painter’s Post will be built on the sharp-eyed wisdom of our fellow artists and our treasured friends.
Thanks for the new service
by Linda Hoard
I just saved this site as one of my “wake up in the morning and read important stuff over coffee” daily rituals! You have loads of information here, and I certainly feel it will help keep me updated. I am a tad agoraphobic (just another side effect of Bipolar Affective Disorder) and pieces like this help to keep me linked to the Art World.
(RG note) Thanks, Linda, and everyone else who wrote with similar sentiments. New items are going in there every day, as our sharp-eyed editors dig up more interesting and valuable links. Oops, there’s a new one just popped in now.
Keep it simple
by Frank Kendall, London, UK
The Painter’s Post is fantastic. As I was looking around and going to places, I refreshed and a new item came in. So your intention is to keep it active so that people can always expect something new. You must also make sure you keep it simple and limit pop-ups and advertising. General sites like the Huffington Post have become much too busy and cluttered. They are okay for some people but not okay for artists and other creatives who have their own life and just need connectivity. Bravo Robert and your team.
A few changes needed
by John Rocheleau, Kelowna, BC, Canada
You have a winner of an idea in The Painter’s Post. To further its readership I have a few suggestions based on some experience as a blogger.
To begin, how about including the familiar orange “Subscribe to RSS feed” icon using Google’s FeedBurner service? That way, readers get notice whenever there is new content. You can configure it to feed only a teaser so that readers move to the site.
Also, even though you have launched this site to already-in-the-loop readers, you will benefit by adding a navigation menu pointing to an “about” page, and “contact” page, etc. New readers that you gain through back-links and organic search sources will want to know who established this site and why. “About” pages are one of the most frequently viewed pages by new readers. And I assume that as your links with excerpts grow in numbers, you will be using categories to organize and archive them. These few changes will make your site more fully functional and reader-friendly. And ultimately it will help boost traffic. There are likely a few more design and content things you can do, but you probably have these already on the back-burner for development.
by Micha Therrien, Tunisia
I have been reading you for quite some time and enjoying it very much, thanks for your ongoing philo-threads, though my RGENN mailbox is getting quite full. Regarding the volunteer editors, I would be interested… I’m amazed at how you can manage your art, travels and write your bi-weekly letters with such gusto.
So hey, I figured I would contribute and take the time to put in some links from time to time that may be culturally interesting. I took a sabbatical in 2005 with my family on a sailboat in the Mediterranean. This extended quite a bit and I’m now in Tunisia teaching in the Fine Arts dept at the Sousse University. Please send me more information on how I might be of use to The Painter’s Post.
(RG note) Thanks, Micha. And thanks so much to the more than fifty subscribers so far who have generously offered to contribute. An initial explanation goes out to everyone who may be considering working with us. If you would like to know more about making a contribution to The Painter’s Post, just drop me a note at email@example.com.
There are 3 comments for Application by Micha Therrien
An offensive instructor
by Jeanne Jackson, Manhattan Beach, CA, USA
I love the idea of The Painter’s Post and have a suggestion for an important topic under this heading. There are innumerable painters who give instructional workshops, some of whom are great teachers, some mediocre, and some downright abusive. To save artists time, money and heartache, it would be helpful if they could click on the name of a teacher, often a well established artist, and find out what kind of teachers they are.
I’ll give you an example of what I’d like to spare some poor unsuspecting students.
Ovanes Berberian, a brilliant painter working out of Idaho. Has a summer landscape painting workshop schedule, $750 for the week excluding room and board. Before each session but after everyone has arrived, the students are required to sign a release form stating that they will not sue for non-performance. (!!!) This is a real heads-up for what awaits the group.
During the week he only gives two demos, both from 8 p.m. ’til the wee hours of the morning after the students have been working on their own all day. His friends and those who paid $50 to walk in off the street to see this demo, sit in the front three rows of his not overly large studio. Those who paid for the workshop are shoved to the back, so far that they can’t even see his palette. No photos are allowed in the studio.
He’s verbally abusive as he sits drinking beer and critiquing the students’ work at the end of the workshop, often bringing people to tears. If one wants his attention during the day, one had better be a fine looking young woman willing to succumb to his advances. He’s a fat, arrogant, unattractive 51-year-old, not that being young and handsome would make this behavior any more acceptable. If one doesn’t happen to have exactly what he considers to be the right equipment or simply not have enough paint on their palette, he won’t talk to that person for the entire week.
His minions lay out all the rules daily, one of which is that there will be no talking amongst the students on the grounds of the property, even if they are simply waiting for two hours for him to make an appearance in the morning. And if he hears anyone talking he won’t come out to the yard. His minions are also doing most of the communication and will only take the students to a certain point, not showing them how to finish what they’ve started. Students are told they need to come back at least three times for that info.
This is quite a racket. One would think that the word would spread and the students would avoid him like the plague but the unenlightened continue to show up for this abuse. Again, his work is brilliant but this man shouldn’t be posing as a teacher. What do you think? Could a review like this be posted without fear of legal recourse?
(RG note) Thanks, Jeanne. While his manner may be offensive, he may be an effective teacher. I’m also concerned about non-performing workshops. As we are currently being asked, we are thinking of opening The Painter’s Post to paid workshop and seminar advertising. But not until after they have been screened by a small but responsible jury for their competence, value and ethics. There are a few workshop-givers who should be taking workshops from artists who know more or less what they’re doing.
There are 2 comments for An offensive instructor by Jeanne Jackson
Too much, already!
by Patricia Edie, Troy, MI, USA
Your new idea is great. It will give people a lot of useful information. Nowadays all of us artists need all the help we can get.
I think your letters are interesting and fun to read… but they arrive a bit too often. In other words, reading this twice a week is hard, especially because one wants to go into the links… read the comments by other people, see the paintings you are talking about, etc. So, I end up saving them sometimes un-opened until later times. So they accumulate and I have to confess that I end up just reading a few, because they become like in the show of Lucille Ball packing candy at the candy factory… Not sure if you are familiar with it — if not it would be worthwhile for you to watch and will understand exactly what I am talking about.
(RG note) Thanks, Edie. I appreciate your concern. Please consider reading only every fourth one.
There are 2 comments for Too much, already! by Patricia Edie
by Tammi Otis, Denver, CO, USA
The art community lost a great painter last night. Jim Valone died after a protracted illness. He’s not really on the Net unless you count the MANY folks who mention his influence. Here in Denver I can’t even begin to list all the well known artists who studied under and were influenced by him. Kevin Wechbach and I believe even Quang Ho are just a couple. He painted and taught for over 50 years at various schools both here and in Texas, most recently at the Art Student’s League of Denver. He will be sorely missed, especially by me. He was my dear friend and mentor. He taught me how to paint and more importantly…. how to SEE. I wish you could’ve known him.
(RG note) Thanks, Tammi. Our deepest condolences to Jim’s family and his wider family of students and creative friends. We all need to take greater note of our teachers and honour them as we can. I often think of some who quietly passed on without thanking them for the effect they had on me. And that includes Miss Ledingham who made me stay after school in Grade five and made me paint for her. That made me feel so special.
The excitement of learning
by Sheila Venner Wiseman, Calgary, AB, Canada
I am relatively new to the art world. I have a B.Sc. in Geology and have worked in the bush and in an oil and gas research facility. I also taught math and science for a number of years. Although I had no art training whatsoever, except for elementary school, I had an appreciation for art and I had a hunch that I might really enjoy adding art and the visual creative process into my life. Three years ago I decided that it was time for me to finally make mine, a truly renaissance education. To that end, I decided to engage wholeheartedly in pursuing an informal arts education. I am now officially retired.
I thoroughly enjoyed the first 2 courses I took, that were a kind of exposure to all sorts of 2-D art forms. I quickly discovered that the little inkling, that I just might find the inclusion of art into my life to be rewarding, was a completely underestimated hunch. I became a keen, keen student of art. I’ve built myself quite an extensive collection of art books and materials and I make sure that I am always enrolled in some form of art instruction. I am a visual learner and I have taken the opportunity to travel to participate in eleven different workshops from various instructors in Toronto, Oregon, Washington and Alberta. I am finding that different folks approach the same task uniquely, emphasizing their strengths and understandings and passing on the tip of the iceberg of what they know and understand about their particular discipline. I am extremely eager to learn all that I can and I’m thinking that it is beginning to show in my work.
Self-esteem creates solid platform
by Susan-Rose Slatkoff, Victoria, BC, Canada
As a retired psychotherapist, I can attest to the damage and misery caused by low self-esteem. Many children are told over and over again when they mess up. Few are given reinforcement when they do something good. Psychological research has shown that the best way to get someone to do something is to praise them when they do it. This includes being kind to others, and trying hard. Praise leads to good self-esteem. Good self-esteem does not lead to mediocrity, rather it allows us a solid platform from which to take risks.
You take issue with a system which encourages little children to play music in public. Should we only praise the best? Ever wonder how that makes the other kids feel? And, of course, that little tyke who is the “best” is not really any good yet either, so according to your thinking, why would we reward him or her. When every child gets a ribbon, they feel good about their efforts, and are far more likely to continue to want to play. What have you got against little kids feeling good about themselves?
Excellence for professional artists is a totally different thing. They are no longer children, and need to become their own source of approval. Fatuous compliments are not appropriate here. However, you might have noticed that often it is those artists who promote themselves most aggressively who tend to sell, not necessarily those who are best. There’s a lot of mediocre work out there in the galleries. I have a friend who is a brilliant artist, but does not yet have the self-esteem to try and market her works. A little encouragement early on might have allowed her to be farther along in her career.
Maybe you will call me mediocre because I like to feel good about myself and my work. Maybe I am mediocre, but it doesn’t stop me from loving to paint, from feeling good when someone buys one of my works, and from trying to improve and grow. I hear art snobs walking around galleries sniffing, “Derivative,” or “Mediocre.” Well, I have decided not to let any nay-Sayers stomp me down. I have decided that I am in my “Derivative Phase,” and thoroughly enjoying it! Your attitudes are elitist and don’t allow for a variety in talent and, more important, a variety in taste.
I’ve sold more than Van Gogh — but what the hell does that mean anyway?
There are 2 comments for Self-esteem creates solid platform by Susan-Rose Slatkoff
System of opportunities
by John Fitzsimmons, Fayetteville, NY, USA
The current trend in schools is to discourage competition and to reward everything. The beauty of competition — and the possibility/ likelihood of failure — is that it is a self-perpetuating motivational system. Ironically, a competitive system that only awards success allows far more opportunities than a less demanding, non-competitive system. I think most kids are far tougher than some educators think, and respond to real challenges — some kids not — but you can’t bring the whole system down for the few!
There are 3 comments for System of opportunities by John Fitzsimmons
Among the Lilies
oil painting 10 x 16 inches
You may be interested to know that artists from every state in the USA, every province in Canada, and at least 115 countries worldwide have visited these pages since January 1, 2013.
That includes Manuel Boice of Madrid, Spain who wrote, “There is no end to the joy of understanding and knowledge.”
Enjoy the past comments below for Introducing The Painter’s Post…