Artist Websites  Artist Websites |  Featured Artists |  Art Marketing  Art Marketing |  Art Contest |  BrushBuzz |  InformedCollector |  FASO Loves You - Share Your Art, Share Life


« Selected Upcoming Exhibits by Informed Collector Artists | Main | Thoughts on Selling Art Online: Help Links to your Artist Website spread Virally »

Follow this Blog

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Quick Links

Artist Websites and Good Design
How to Sell Art
How to Get Your Art Noticed by Galleries
SEO For Artists - The Ultimate Tip


Blog Roll

Mikki Senkarik's Blog

About the Artist
acrylic painting
advice for artists
art and culture
art and psychology
art and society
art appreciation
art blogging advice
Art Business
art collectors
art criticism
art education
art fairs
art festivals
art forum
art gallery tips
art history
art law
art marketing
art museums
art reception
art show
art studio
art supplies
art websites
artist resume advice
artist statement
Artwork videos
BoldBrush Winners
Brian Sherwin
Carolyn Edlund
Carolyn Henderson
Carrie Turner
Clint Watson
commissioned art
Cory Huff
Curator's Pick
Daily Art Show
Dave Geada
Dave Nevue
email newsletters
Eric Rhoads
exposure tips
FASO Featured Artists
Fine Art Shows
framing art
Gayle Faucette Wisbon
giclee prints
Guest Posts
Internet Scams
Jack White
Jane Hunt
Jason Horejs
Jen Piche
John Weiss
Juried Shows
Kathleen Dunphy
Keith Bond
Kelley Sanford
Kim VanDerHoek
landscape painting
Lori Woodward
Luann Udell
Mark Edward Adams
mixed media
Moshe Mikanovsky
New FASO Artist Members
Noteworthy Artist
oil painting
online art competitions
online art groups
open studio
plein air painting
press releases
pricing artwork
S.C. Mummert
sell art
selling art online
selling fine art online
SEO for Artist Websites
social media
social networking
solo show
Steve Atkinson
still life art
support local art
Think Tank
websites for artists
Zac Elletson

 Mar 2018
Feb 2018
Jan 2018
Dec 2017
Nov 2017
Oct 2017
Sep 2017
Aug 2017
July 2017
June 2017
May 2017
Apr 2017
Mar 2017
Feb 2017
Jan 2017
Dec 2016
Nov 2016
Oct 2016
Sep 2016
Aug 2016
July 2016
June 2016
May 2016
Apr 2016
Mar 2016
Feb 2016
Jan 2016
Dec 2015
Nov 2015
Oct 2015
Sep 2015
Aug 2015
July 2015
June 2015
May 2015
Apr 2015
Mar 2015
Feb 2015
Jan 2015
Dec 2014
Nov 2014
Oct 2014
Sep 2014
Aug 2014
July 2014
June 2014
May 2014
Apr 2014
Mar 2014
Feb 2014
Jan 2014
Dec 2013
Nov 2013
Oct 2013
Sep 2013
Aug 2013
July 2013
June 2013
May 2013
Apr 2013
Mar 2013
Feb 2013
Jan 2013
Dec 2012
Nov 2012
Oct 2012
Sep 2012
Aug 2012
July 2012
June 2012
May 2012
Apr 2012
Mar 2012
Feb 2012
Jan 2012
Dec 2011
Nov 2011
Oct 2011
Sep 2011
Aug 2011
July 2011
June 2011
May 2011
Apr 2011
Mar 2011
Feb 2011
Jan 2011
Dec 2010
Nov 2010
Oct 2010
Sep 2010
Aug 2010
July 2010
June 2010
May 2010
Apr 2010
Mar 2010
Feb 2010
Jan 2010
Dec 2009
Nov 2009
Oct 2009
Sep 2009
Aug 2009
July 2009
June 2009
May 2009
Apr 2009
Mar 2009
Feb 2009
Jan 2009
Dec 2008
Nov 2008
Oct 2008
Sep 2008
July 2008
June 2008
May 2008
Apr 2008
Mar 2008
Feb 2008
Jan 2008
Dec 2007
Nov 2007
Oct 2007
Sep 2007
Aug 2007
July 2007
June 2007
May 2007
Apr 2007
Mar 2007
Feb 2007
Jan 2007
Dec 2006
Nov 2006
Oct 2006
Sep 2006
Aug 2006
July 2006
June 2006
May 2006
Apr 2006
Mar 2006
Feb 2006
Jan 2006
Dec 2005
Nov 2005
Sep 2005
Aug 2005


FineArtViews Interview: Sharon Butler -- Artist, Writer, Founder of Two Coats of Paint

by Brian Sherwin on 4/16/2011 8:56:06 AM

This article is by Brian Sherwin, Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews. Brian Sherwin is an art critic, blogger, curator, artist and writer based near Chicago, Illinois. He has been published in Hi Fructose Magazine, Illinois Times, and other publications, and linked to by publications such as The Huffington Post, The Boston Globe, Juxtapoz Magazine, Deutsche Bank ArtMag, ARTLURKER, Myartspace, Blabbermouth, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Modern Art Obsession, Citizen LA, Shark Forum, Two Coats of Paint and Art Fag City. You should submit an article and share your views as a guest author by clicking here.


Sharon Butler beside one of her paintings during a recent exhibition at STOREFRONT Gallery in Brooklyn, NY. Photo by Steven Truax.


As a writer Sharon Butler maintains the award-winning art blog Two Coats of Paint, is a contributing writer at The Brooklyn Rail and blogs at The Huffington Post. Through an affiliation with Culture  Pundits, Two Coats of Paint has been sponsored by The Museum of Modern Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The New York Studio School, The Pulitzer Foundation and many other arts organizations.


As an artist Sharon Butler has received several grants and awards, including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant, Pocket Utopia residency, Connecticut Artist fellowship, Blue Mountain Center Artists' fellowship, Vermont Studio Center residency grant, a Red Cinder Creativity Center residency, and Connecticut State University research grants. Her work is included in private collections in New York, Los Angeles, Boston, Baltimore, Tampa, Philadelphia, Providence, London, Berlin and Kyoto. Butler is an art professor at Eastern Connecticut State University.


Sharon recently offered her time and experience to FineArtViews in order to discuss her art blog, advice that she has for artists, and other issues.


Brian Sherwin: Sharon, you have been writing at Two Coats of Paint for several years now. In fact, I'd suggest that you have made a name for yourself among core art bloggers. Can you offer a brief history of Two Coats of Paint?


Sharon Butler: I discovered blogs in 2006 while I was on sabbatic leave from my teaching job at Eastern Connecticut State University, but none were specifically about painting and art criticism, so I signed up for a Blogger account and started Two Coats of Paint. At the time I was reading Winkleman, Heart as Arena, Anaba, Art Fag City, NewsGrist, Modern Art Notes, Hrag Vartanian, Joanne Mattera Art Blog, Fallon and Rosof’s Artblog, Amy Wilson, PaintersNYC, and a few others that no longer exist.  John Morris (former owner of Digging Pitt Gallery in Pittsburgh) organized a blogger art exhibition in New York, where I met Loren Munk (aka James Kalm), and other blogosphere veterans. The community was small and relatively obscure, so everyone was reading each other's blogs. We all knew each other.


BS: What has been your goal for Two Coats of Paint and how has that goal expanded over the years?


SB: When I started Two Coats, I didn't consider myself a writer. I hadn't written anything beyond my own (awful) artist statements and some short fiction, although I admired people who wrote well about art. Two Coats was a digest of articles about painting culled from online sources that I wanted to share with like-minded artists. The escalation of mechanized aggregation tools and Twitter have rendered the digest format less necessary, and, now that I feel comfortable as a writer, I'm interested in creating more original content. Last year I started Two Coats TV, an online channel that features videos made by and about painters, and I want to put some more time into that in the next year. I'm also using on-demand publishing to produce artists’ books, and I've been invited to curate some exhibitions. Producing Two Coats of Paint has led to exhibition opportunities for my my own paintings as well.


BS: There has been debate on whether art blogs can be as vital to culture as print art publications. I can recall in years past that said debate would often turn volatile-- print published writers taking an extreme view of their importance and new media writers, such as bloggers, declaring a new approach to art writing and criticism. With that in mind, would you say that specific art bloggers are impacting art criticism and the 'landscape' of the art world directly-- is art history, at least in regards to art writing, being made with each click of the keyboard? Does the art blogging community-- in general-- have historical significance?


SB: When I started blogging, the availability of free tools to create online publication was an historic innovation, but established writers and mainstream media were slow to understand the impact blogs would ultimately have. I think the blogosphere has been particularly important for unrepresented artists, who traditionally have been excluded from the dialogue. Art critics who blog are not changing the nature of art criticism—they're simply using different tools to distribute their writing—but unrepresented artists who utilize social networking media are taking greater control—and that is changing the art world.


BS: With the above in mind-- and with consideration to the fact that you are a college professor-- is it 'dangerous' that art writers, such as Paddy Johnson of Art Fag City or Tyler Green of Modern Art Notes, have the following that they do in the sense that specific online focused art writers are arguably more known-- due to the viral nature of their articles-- by the public than art critic Jerry Saltz, art critic Roberta Smith, and other notable art writers who are generally respected for their work in print and are assumed to write under a strict professional standard? In that sense, are bloggers 'hijacking' the role of art writing as some have suggested over the years?


SB: Blogs like Art Fag City and Hyperallergic have created a newsy, more amusing type of art writing, but certainly haven't replaced the academic, long form criticism found in serious journals. We aren't hijacking traditional art writing, we're contributing a new form that has the potential to expand the audience for art in a way that dense, academic writing does not. All bloggers have different goals, education and talent, so you can't lump everyone together and say that our professional standards aren't as strict as those of mainstream art critics and journalists. For instance, Tyler Green (Modern Art Notes) and Carolina Miranda (C-monster and Gallerina) actually studied journalism in school—not art.


In academic circles, blogs still aren't respectable. Peer-reviewed journals have long been considered the most credible places to publish articles. Last year when I successfully applied for promotion to the rank of full professor at Eastern, it was a challenge for me to explain to the Art Department's evaluation committee the important role blogging has come to play in art discourse. Despite the absence of respect for the medium, I continue to blog because I feel I'm making an important contribution.


BS: You have been critical of various gender gaps within the context of the mainstream art world-- especially when fellow writers post content that appears to exclude artists based on gender. As you know, some individuals suggest that issues of sexism, ageism, and other forms of prejudice within the mainstream art world are not as 'bad' as writers, such as yourself, have claimed. Why do you think that so many individuals appear to want to avoid these topics? Furthermore, what can art writers and artists do to help bring more balance to the art world in regards to these prejudice fueled gaps?


SB: Most men don't think about gender disparity. They may also be more organically drawn to male artists because the work speaks more directly to their own experience. I don't know. My feeling is that the more women write, the more articles we'll see about women artists. When Tyler Green started his "Art Madness" tourney, I honestly don't think it ever occurred to him that there was a problem with his game. It may have been the first thing everyone else thought when they saw a list of 64 important artworks that only included three women, but it never crossed his mind.


BS: You are also a visual artist-- a painter... I've noticed that some individuals feel that visual artists should stay clear of writing about art criticism or should avoid publishing reviews of art exhibits. The idea being that an artist who is also a published art critic will show professional bias more so than an art writer who does not consider himself or herself an artist. I can recall an individual who told me that art writing published by a practicing visual artist is nothing more than a contradiction or a professional jab rather than a serious examination of art. What would you say in response to that?


SB: I'm proud to be part of a long tradition of artists who write. Reviews written by artists are often more insightful because the writing is informed by a deeper understanding of the artmaking process. Contemporary artist-writers I admire include Carol Diehl, Laurie Fendrich, Stephen Maine, Tom MicchelliCarrie Moyer, Mario Naves, Peter Plagens, Mira Schor-- and nearly all the writers at The Brooklyn Rail.


BS: How do you divide your time between creating art and writing about art? Is there ever a conflict? Or would you suggest that writing about art informs your creative process in painting?


SB: Writing/ blogging helps clarify my thoughts and articulate my ideas, so it's become an integral part of my art practice. The biggest time pressure comes from teaching—but I'm lucky to have a position that enables me to pursue various projects and still pay the bills. I've been at Eastern for eleven years.


BS: I, for one, think that more artists should focus on writing about their art as well as the art of others. Unfortunately, I'm apt to find artists who procrastinate on writing their own artist statement-- writing detailed articles about their practice or the practice of their peers is the furthest thing on their mind. When I think of recent art history I think of all of the informative essays that famous artists, though not famous at the time, offered-- specifically those written between the 1940s and 1950s. That said, would you like to see more artists today writing about their art and the art of their contemporaries? Is it important? I think there is historic significance to it in the sense that said writing can serve as documentation of the thoughts surrounding art during our relatively short existence-- do you agree?


SB: Rather than hounding critics to review their exhibitions, artists should start writing about each other's work. My advice: write honestly and you can't go wrong. Don't try to write like a critic—be creative and develop your own voice. The most important thing is just to sit down and do it no matter how hard it seems. Maintaining a regular writing practice will make anyone a better writer. I highly recommend reading Strunk and White's The Elements of Style.


BS: As an artist you have received several grants-- including a Pollock-Krasner Foundation grant. Do you have any advice for artists who are seeking grants? For example, would you advise artists to hire a professional photographer in order to improve presentation?


SB: Grant funders have so many applicants that getting funded is often compared to winning the lottery. High quality images are extremely important, so if artists can't afford a professional photographer, they should make sure that the work is evenly lit. Invest in a set of portable lights that can be set up in the studio. Make sure to have someone else read the proposal. Writing about our own work is challenging, so getting perspective from an outside source is helpful. But honestly, if funding is crucial to the success of a project, I would recommend a Kickstarter campaign rather than applying for grants.


BS: What advice do you have for art writers who want to gain exposure for their art blog? For example, should they join an art blogging network?


SB: Posting regularly is crucial to developing an audience. Draw attention to your blog by becoming an active member of the online community. Read other people's blogs, make intelligent comments, and add plenty of links. But mostly, post interesting content.


BS: In closing, is there anything else you would like to offer to our readers-- any advice... insight?


SB: Be generous and contribute to the community. Follow your instincts. And, most importantly, don't let the gatekeepers break your spirit.


To learn more about Sharon Butler and Two Coats of Paint please visit --


Take care, Stay true,


Brian Sherwin


FASO: The Leading Provider of Professional Artist Websites.
FineArtViews: Straight talk about art marketing, inspiration - daily to your inbox.

InformedCollector: Free daily briefs about today's finest artists in your inbox.

BoldBrush Contest: Monthly Online Painting Contest with over $25,000 in awards. 

Daily Art Show: Daily Show of Art that reaches thousands of potential collectors.


Related Posts:

FineArtViews Interview: Mat Gleason -- Art Critic and Founder of Coagula Art Journal

FineArtViews Interview: Edward Winkleman -- Gallery Owner, Curator, Author and Art Blogger

FineArtViews Interview: Mollie White -- Show Director for SCOPE Art Show

FineArtViews Interview: Alan Bamberger, Art Appraiser, Consultant, and Author

Topics: Brian Sherwin | FineArtViews 

What Would You Like to Do Next?
Post your comment Join Email List Follow via RSS Share Share


Loading comments...

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
I just put your blog into my google reader, thanks!

Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA
Thank you Brian....

Sharon is amazing with an amazing Blog.

Hmmmmm, now I am feeling sheepish and intimidated because after a year of deciding to start my own Blog or not, I finally started one yesterday.

AND, lo and behold, what is the most recent article about? An Award Winning Blog!! I should go hide behind some trees or some place out of view.

Good thing I had not read this interview first or I may not have started one.

But now that I have, Sharon can only inspire me to try to do a better Blog. I know it will take awhile to get my Blog sounding well enough to (hopefully)interest others, but her Blog shows us all how good a Blog can be.

Her Type of Blog is NOT what I need aspire to write.
However, her Blog teaches many things I need to know when writing a Blog.
She is generous with her advice, and you Brian are generous with your great idea of bringing Sharon's Blog to our attention.
It is a "Wow".

Thank you both.

mimi torchia boothby watercolors
Sandy, you are well on your way to starting a blog. Your website is lovely. Don't worry about it. Not all of us want to be an art hub. Do your paintings and talk about them. That's what my blog is for, anyway. Good luck

Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA
Thank you so much Mimi. I needed that encouragement. You offer great advice that I need to take.

Donald Fox

What a great interview. The information from both questions and answers leads in many directions at once. Add to that the various links, names, and other references and this becomes a mini-encyclopedia. BTW - is this conservative or liberal? :-)(

Barb Stachow
When I was dealing with Cancer issues, I was a part of "Arts in Medicine" in our Canadian city! We were required to write about our art, and it can a real eye opener when you have to dig deep inside and write about what you've created. Great article! Thanks

Brian Sherwin
Sandy -- I'm glad the interview inspired you. You'll find that art bloggers, in general, are very supportive of other bloggers. And yes, 'art blog' can have several meanings.

The really, really, really well-known art bloggers are all generally nice people. Most are very good about interacting with readers and answering questions when asked. Most love conversing about art online-- even with someone who can be as mentally taxing as I am. LOL

Donald-- I'd say more of an individualist talking with another individualist. :)

Jo Allebach
Well, Sandy's blog inspired me to get going on a Blog. This article really gives me a great starting point so I know where I am going with it. My writing is not the best but just as with painting it will improve with practice.

Thank you, thank you, thank you.

Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA
Hello Jo...Brian...

Gosh, that makes me feel like I did something good now in beginning my Blog. Like you Jo, I have been putting it off time and time again. Always afraid I could not write well enough ..and what would I have to say???

I guess we each have our own unique experiences and we can just draw on that to write simply what we know.
Surely as we keep blogging, we will do better and better at it. Like you said...practice should help us improve.

And, now to read your kind comment that my blog helped inspire you to get going on your blog, that is a good feeling.
Maybe we can keep encouraging one another on with our Blogs.

Sandy Askey-Adams, PSA
I just looked at your Blog....Wow, Really good.
Loved your first day of Blogging.
Great idea to introduce yourself. Hmmmmmmm. I had not thought of that. Maybe I should have.

Jo Allebach
Thanks sandy that means a lot to me.


FASO Resources and Articles

Art Scammers and Art Scam Searchable Database


FineArtViews, FineArtStudioOnline, FASO, BrushBuzz, InformedCollector, BoldBrush
are Trademarks of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc. 

Canvoo is a registered trademark of BoldBrush Technology, LLC Licensed to BoldBrush, Inc

Copyright - BoldBrush Technology, LLC  - All Rights Reserved