Thursday, 13 August 2009


I've spent most of this week (and last) attempting to finish my Shap Abbey drawing and also making the little sketches I've been uploading to my Flickr pages. Drawing in public is not easy for me, and I don't think I'll ever make a good drawing (certainly not a polished one) in public, unless I'm in total private and entirely relaxed, but facing this particular fear can only be good for me, both as a person and as an artist and creative individual.

Although I have drawn in public before (many years ago, when I was a 6th former, and later, as a student) it's never been something that I've been comfortable with. I envy and respect anyone who has the courage and the single mindedness to stand in a busy town centre and draw what's around them, as the artists in the Urban Sketchers Blog and Flickr group do. There's some really great work being done by the artists in this group, and there is a great deal of fine work on Flickr as a whole.

I don't think I'd have made the 'outside my comfort zone' drawings if it hadn't been for Flickr, a photo' sharing site ideal for artists, both budding and experienced. Nothing motivates better than an audience, and Flickr is a great way both to see other artists' work (usually sketches, quite often 'Moleskins') and also to put your art forward for criticism, though mostly this appears to be less analytical criticism and more uncritical praise. Still, if you're an artist who usually prefers to keep your artwork to yourself and who perhaps lacks the confidence to dive straight in and exhibit your work in a library, gallery or other public place, this might be a good way of sticking your toe in the waters of publically displaying your artwork. It's free to register and costs nothing to upload your artwork using the extremely easy upload pages. You can add a profile and group your pictures into folders, ideal if you want to upload themed work or a sketchbook. You can then submit your work to relevant groups, so people who are interested in that subject matter, style, gentre watever, can find your work and maybe, find their way back to your photostream (your gallery, in other words).

My experience with Flikr has so far been a positive one, not only is it helping me to motivate myself into facing one of my fears, it has also got me drawing from life, something which I am apt to neglect in favour of the comfort of working from my own photographs. It's also leading me down avenues along which I'm quite happy to be lead, for instance, today I found myself adding words to my drawing, something which I've not really done to a great extent before, even though finding some way of meshing my written and my artwork is something I've fretted over for a few years. I don't know why it never occurs to me that fretting is the least productive way of working out problems, especially problems of an aesthetic or creative nature. In art it's best to work your way through dilemas through doing. Maybe the Flickr environment (or the motivation it provides) can act as a catalyst for things that I might just have mulled over for weeks before? We'll see.

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