Challenges of Blogging – Being Consistent

Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist
Chris Erskine, Urban Landscape Artist

The Challenges of Blogging: Being Consistent

Only 2% Are Professional Artist

Five years after graduating from art school, only two percent of artists work full-time.

Let’s say you are not an instant success and that your paintings are not racing out the doors of Toronto and New York art galleries; this means you have to work.

So, now you are spending 140 hours per week on activities not related to the production of your art.

Maybe, for the first few years after graduation, you are single and you are able to devote yourself to creating art in the evenings and weekends. Eventually, however, you decide to settle down with a partner and maybe decide to have some kids.

Suddenly spending a few hours every night on your art and maybe another 10-20 hours on the weekend becomes difficult.

Now, you are lucky if you can manage 10 to 20 hours per week.

This is the challenge that all artists face (including writers and musicians).

Artistic Output

When I started painting back in the 1990s, each painting would require about 100 hours of studio time (and still true for today). This means that if I spend 10 hours per week on a painting, I could complete a single work in about 10 weeks.

This translates into 5-6 paintings per year.

In those days, I didn’t have a family, so I could work on several paintings at the same time.

Art vs Social Media

When time for art is scare, how can you justify time spent on social media?

There are many answers to this question:

1. Galleries can’t afford to keep artists that don’t sell. You will be lucky if you get two or three years without establishing a market for your art. Social media is a way to mobilize your fans and collectors to come to your shows. At the very least, having a crowd at your opening may convince the gallery owner to give you another chance.

2. Your art production likely means solo shows only occur every few years. Social media provides a way to maintain interest in your art during the off years.

3. The best way to generate support is through word of mouth, social media gives you the means to attract and engage before, during, or after gallery showings. Shows provide the opportunities to super-charge interest in your art and maybe generate sales outside your bi-annual solo shows.

All this social media engagement cannot suddenly happen during the lead up to a show; it must be developed and be supported during the two or three years between showings.

If you abandon your social media presence every time you get busy with art or life then fans and collectors that you have generated interest from will suddenly disappear. As a result, the whole cycle of building interest and support will have to begin again.

What I say about gallery shows also applies for musicians and writers who face the same challenges; that creating original material takes years, but the buzz in the market place lasts only a few short weeks.

Social media is the way you maintain that interest and show during artistic production period.

You may not have a movie out, but like Jennifer Aniston, you want to people talk about you and not to forget to go to your next movie.

So, the production of art and social media must be seen as a mutually supporting relationship that needs to be nurtured every day.

Next Week: How do you view yourself?


Odds and Ends – 4 art projects

odds and ends – artist’s notebook

Artist's Notebook for Aug 10th 2015
Artist’s Notebook for Aug 10th 2015

Aug 10, 2015 – I continue to work on four unfinished painting to develop my skills at doing under paintings and using oils for colour.

The four unfinished paintings are the following:

1. The Bold Street Project
2. The McClure House
3. The Central School Project
4. The Elgin Street House

The McClure and Central School projects were started as on location, sketch-paintings. The Bold and Eglin Street projects are based on photo references.

With all four projects, I will be using reference photos to complete the works. The challenge at the moment is to determine how to use these photographic references. How I resolve this challenge will shape my approach to the larger project of creating 24 works focusing on the theme of my “My Home is My Castle.”

Chris Erskine
urban landscape artist

Odds and Ends – under paintings and oils

Artist Notebook @erskinec
Artist Notebook @erskinec

Aug 3, 2015 – This week I decided to devote part of my time working on unfinished paintings.

Using these works to gain experience with acrylic under-paintings and then adding the colours with oils. I am quite bad with finishing projects.  So, in additional to building up my skills, I will also add to my work of completed architectural portraits.

The down side to this approach is that progress on my new residential series will be slowed. Not a perfect answer, but at least it keeps me moving forward.

Chris Erskine