This article is by Carolyn Henderson, the managing half of Steve Henderson Fine Art. She is a Regular contributing writer for FineArtViews and her freelance writing appears in regional newspapers, online magazines, and her humor blog, Middle-Aged Plague.
I have a bookkeeper friend who quivers with anticipation when she is handed a two-inch stack of invoices and the comment, “There’s a $2.38 discrepancy in here somewhere. Please find it.” The surge of excitement coursing through her veins mirrors the Norwegian Artist’s emotions as he stands at the rim of the Grand Canyon, water bottle in hand, fiber bar in pocket, and camera slung around his neck.
This topic arose at breakfast recently when we were discussing various relatives and friends who passionately embrace anything to do with accounting.
“I would feel like the fairy tale character who was given a roomful of flax and told to spin it into gold,” the Norwegian announced flatly. “I don’t know how they do it.”
“But look at what you do,” I countered. “You stand in front of a blank canvas. You squirt out a bunch of colors, dab a brush in them, and wipe it across a white surface. You do this again and again, building on what you’ve put there before, until you transfer the three-dimensional image in your head to a two-dimensional surface.
“Many people (including me) would run screaming from the studio into the roomful of flax.”
Isn’t it wonderful how different we all are?
Obviously, there are artists who are accountants and accountants who are artists, and everything in between – but the irrefutable truth is that even the Da Vinci Renaissance Man (would we call him a Wal-Mart Man today – everything you want or need in one place?) didn’t know how to do everything with equal ability and skill.
Which brings us to writing – specifically, artists writing about their work, blogging about their thoughts, literarily sharing their skills in an effort to attract web-based browsers – both the kind that breathe and the kind that don’t – to their sites and to their art.
From reading the comments on this site and others, I know that a lot of you don’t like to do this, preferring, instead, to look for the $2.38 discrepancy in the stack of invoices, but in this brave new world of changing and transitioning ways, it’s just sort of part of it all.
The more that you write about yourself and your art, the more that your name is bandied about in the airwaves of cyberspace, the more chance that someone will stumble upon and discover you. Some of this discovery is indeed chance; some of it is aided by a knowledge of Search Engine Optimization – skillfully, knowledgeably, and successfully incorporating key words into your content so that Search Engines, like Google or Yahoo or Bing, are likely to rate your work higher on the page, but none of it will work if you don’t get started, and if you never write about yourself at all.
Some people get so locked up about the SEO concept and how they’re not computer geniuses so they may as well not do anything at all that they, well, don’t do anything at all. Yes, there’s a lot to learn. Yes, it’s overwhelming. But no, it’s not impossible, and the best way to make it possible is to simply get started. In that vein, here is a link to 10 Basic SEO Tips to Get You Started, which is readable, understandable, and not written as if you were a 10-year-old. Glean from it what you can; don’t flagellate yourself if you don’t understand something; and go have a cookie.
Writing about yourself and your art is a big topic, one in which I am knowledgeable in some areas, not so much in others, but as with all the columns I write in Fine Art Views, I am willing to share with you both what I know and what I don’t, and to discuss what I’ve learned – most of which is by making mistakes.
And so, we start next week with the concept of writing about yourself and your art.