Friday, July 1, 2011

a blog rethink

 Why blog? That is a question I have asked myself in recent months. Over time, I faced the reality that the reasons I had started a blog were simply no longer relevant to me.

Initially, I started my blog as a way to help my students stay motivated. I felt that if people who had invested time and money in learning cp techniques could have a way to still be in my studio, watching over my shoulder (as it were) long after our classes ended, it would help them in their artistic journey. Too many promising students were letting life interfere with their art and I was hoping to stir them out of this neglect. I also wanted to have a place where interested collectors could see my newest works as they were being created. Eventually, I realized that a lot of my students didn't read blogs, mine included. They also didn't read the helpful websites that I referred them to. As for collectors, well the feedback there was that they didn't have time to read blogs either. Humm...

Eventually I got bored with just sharing my works in progress. How many times did I want to go over why I chose the support I did for a particular piece and why I chose the brand of pencils that I did? I started sharing more of my life, not just studio stuff. Garden pics were shared, renovation projects (Remember all of the restored chairs? LOL) And then I started talking about the livestock...that was the last straw.

While in California, at the CPSA convention last summer, I became aware that the chickens and goats I had talked about in my blog were somewhat of a focal point for people. (I was getting introduced to people as, 'This is Teresa Mallen, she has chickens and goats.") In hindsight, I think I was naive. I guess I hadn't thought anyone was reading or at least paying too much attention! I started becoming a bit uncomfortable trying to answer questions about why on earth I had goats. So much for my art work!!!

Upon returning, I felt shy about sharing my life outside of the studio. I got busy and didn't know what to do about blogging. I started to ask myself why I would want to continue. I reasoned that I could make the blog just about art, simply a vehicle to talk about my next show, an award win or show a new finished piece. I seriously considered that.

Finally a decision was made, I was going to just be myself after all. I have been revamping this blog, new template and all and I have rewritten my profile info. My disclaimer is now posted right up at the top - this blog shall now include chat, info and pictures of many of my passions - both inside the studio and out. I hope that readers will find something of interest here and for those of you who simply want a blog about art then I would ask that you just ignore the other posts. Thank you for bearing with my discussion of my months of introspection. Now that we have that out of the way, it is time to move forward. I am excited about sharing my interests with you.

The pictures above were taken today in our meadow and in the woods along the edge. I had the great fortune to stumble upon the nest late one afternoon while the baby birds were just leaving, learning to fly. What a wonderful time that was.

Finally, more baby goat have seen the Saanens (the breed of white goats in the last post) and here are the Alpines (a breed originally from France, the Saanens are a Swiss breed). The first photo shows twins Ella, Dukah, and their mother Rainah.

The next photo is of baby Ella...she is a fireball. Day two she was dashing about chasing chickens. Something she still loves to do. The chickens don't like being bunted around so they scatter with noisy clucking when she comes running.

To all of my fellow Canadians, Happy Canada Day. The Duke and Duchess of Windsor (William and Kate) are here in Ottawa today. The city is in a bit of a stir so tonight I shall forego the fireworks on Parliament Hill and plant apple trees instead.

So why do you blog? :-)


black bear cabin said...

i enjoyed your post very much...when i originally started my blog, it was so my sisters and mom, in another state, could see what we were up to. Then i started to share art and quilting too...and then i discovered neither one of my sisters ever checked my blog, nor did my mom, but i did however make a lot of new blogging friends :) I finally did the same thing as you...a simple disclaimer, that i post about any and all things that interest me read what interests you or skip it. :) I also justify my blog by having it printed into a book each year as a keepsake for my daughter...hopefully she will read them one day. Cheers~

Teresa Mallen said...

Your keepsake idea is terrific. And what is it with family, mine doesn't read my blog either?! Interesting that the reasons we start a blog isn't what keeps us writing. Oh well... Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

Ann said...

I am glad that you made the decision that you did. I enjoy reading about your life's happenings and seeing your photos, along with your wonderful art. It is nice to get a sense of the whole person, sort of gives you a reference for where their art is coming from. I, on the other hand, struggle with these same issues on my blog. Do folks really want to know how I spent my day if it doesn't relate directly to my art? Of course, I don't have cute goats hanging around to photograph :-)

Teresa Mallen said...

Thanks for the vote for a diversified blog. :-) It is a struggle to know how far to go isn't it? I mean some stuff I read on blogs seems like obvious 'fill', that old you must post often advice that kept getting shoved at bloggers a couple of years ago.

Now I am just creating a blog that I love - and if others like it too that is great. Trying to please an audience is a fools game. You have cute dogs Ann. Would love to see pics of them. :-) And for what it is worth, I would enjoy hearing about your day.

Brenda said...

When I began my first blog, it was to be about my art work... a way to share and meet with fellow artists. (Not many in the town that I am in!) Little bits of my life began to creep in. As my other hobbies began to take shape (mainly from finding fiber art blogs to learn from), I created a second blog to house those escapades. I guess I just feared that all my crazy jumping around on topics would make people nuts!LOL The funny thing is that most people that read my art blog, like to hop over to my the second one. Both blogs together give my internet friends a true sense of me. Funny enough... my Mom and Sisters do not read my blogs either.

I enjoy how you have combined your two loves into one blog Teresa. I love reading about your art and life. It makes an artist appear human to the reader and shows more of what makes them tick. I sometimes feel sorry for my art blog and feel it has gotten a little dry after the creation of the second one. I have been reminding myself to put a little more of my endeavors into that one too. I think readers like to see the human on the other side of the screen.

Hey also... Welcome back! I for one missed your art, animals, landscapes, food, and adventures!! :)

Teresa Mallen said...

Thanks so much Brenda for taking the time to share your thoughts. I had thought of creating a second 'farming' blog but when it got down to the nitty gritty I was concerned that I wouldn't be true to them both. I have a friend that tried to run two blogs and eventually she shut one down because she just couldn't keep up. As you know, blogging takes time, fiddling with compressed photos, problems with uploads...all that fun stuff. :-)
My two cents here, I did check out your second blog the other night and for what is is worth, if you wanted to post that sort of stuff on your art blog, that would be fine with me.
I so love your work! :-) Thanks again for taking the time to comment. That is part of our blogging time too isn't it?!

Ruca said...

Hello Teresa! This is my first time to your blog and already I know that I would prefer to read about ALL your interests. I'm fascinated with seeing how people live and create their lives, especially when it is from another part of the world. And being a dog, I'm always eager to hear more about dogs too (Hi Ann). As for why blog? - it's been an incredible way to connect beyond my fairly tight environment. If I put something in my blog about my perspective on things it can elicit a response about someone else's perspective and that's so eye-opening.
Tchao-wow from Portugal.

Jennifer Rose said...

hmmm why do i blog? no idea really lol just like blogging. i like knowing that people are reading, but when it comes down to it, I blog for myself, so that I remember things that happen in my life, good and bad. i do like the community part of blogging, I have met (online yes, but still met) many people that I would consider friend and gotten help with questions not just about art or crafts.

Jeanette said...

Everyone has their own reasons for blogging and they are as diverse as there are people.

I think you should blog only if it gives you pleasure. It shouldn't be a chore. It shouldn't be based on how many people read it. Whether its about art or raising goats, its 'you' and only you will know if it is what you want.

As for me, I blog because its my way of making myself accountable. Its my push to keep producing. I don't care if one person or a thousand read it. Whether its about my art or life on the farm, I just do it, its second nature now after 6 years.

With so many other social media intruding, blogs don't have the same readership in depth as they used to I think, but I don't believe they're going away anytime soon.

Kendra said...

Hi Teresa! It's nice to see you blogging again, I was wondering where you went! Don't underestimate the power of goats and chickens, we like to hear about them and we like to hear about your art. I think blogs should be about whatever you want them to be about. Your baby goats are darling and must be so much fun.

I started blogging to help readers to learn or become more familiar with colored pencil (and the other forms of art that I try). Most of my students read my blog anonymously as well as friends and family. I'm always surprised when someone I meet or know says "oh yes, I read that on your blog." I do wish I could attract more followers who would sign in. The other reason I started blogging is for my own reference, so I could look back at my entries and recall how I worked on different surfaces, or which colors or brands of pencils worked best, etc.

Beth said...

Oh Teresa, this is a question that I have been asking myself. Especially when I asked my sister if she read my blog posts and she held her head down and said I can't say that is surprised me though. My family is distantly interested in what I do, but that's about it. But I started blogging for myself to journal my art journey, so if no one reads it, thats ok. I have it to go back and see what i've done. I need to look into the book option. But I agree with everyone else, include whatever you want. I like to read the everyday stuff too. We get to know you in your daily life too.

Teresa Mallen CPSA said...

Goodness Beth what is it about family? I know that we all have to be careful with how much time we spend on-line but I swear if my sister had a blog I would be reading it. I would be too curious not to. :-) Documenting your own art journey seems like a very good reason to blog. Thanks for taking the time to comment.

Teresa Mallen said...

Well somehow I missed your comments Jeanette and Kendra...

Jeanette, you have been so faithful to your blog for the past 6 years. You keep it fresh and interesting which isn't easy. There are a lot of boring blogs out there. And yes, social media has shaken things up a bit. But everything has its day. I just read recently that Facebook in North America (not in the rest of the world where it is still getting established) has stabilized and is no longer growing. The gist of the article was that everything goes through a fad period and Facebook simply just isn't for everyone and so it was inevitable that it would peak eventually.

Hi Kendra, thanks for sharing your thoughts. Glad to hear that you don't mind reading about the critters! Yes, wouldn't it be nice to know about the anonymous people? :-) Well lurkers are welcome too but it is fun when a former lurker pops in with a comment!

Teresa Mallen said...

Geez Louise, did blogger just dump a bunch of comments or am I getting senile? (no answers please :-)) I missed your comments Ruca, and Jennifer Rose as well. Ruca, I think yours is the first dog comment! Congrats and welcome. And JR, I can tell from your blog that you love blogging! Thanks for stopping by folks... and canine!!!!