You won’t believe me when I tell you it was just a few months ago I was crying and kicking the wall about blogging and Facebook as my friends were dragging me to the computer.
I didn’t want to enter that world of technology. I just wanted to write and paint but now I have found myself working on a virtual store.
This store will encompass uploading e-books and art workshops. I am being carried away with Social Media like the rest of the world. Social Media is the way it is, whether business or personal, whether we like it or not.
“Shaking the bushes” once meant artists were doing art shows and taking their art to galleries. Shaking the bushes today means social networking and building a virtual cliental.
The pillow was talking to me: What was I going to do? Was I going to move with the future and keep up with the younger artists or give in and rest on what use to be?
In the ’80s and ’90s I called on galleries, interior decorators and businesses. I toted art in and out of many businesses in Albuquerque. Many of these businesses still have my art on their walls today. I worked with decorators and contractors and painted for many model homes. I also did my share of art shows in the blistering sun. It was the way we did business.
Today gallery owners will tell you, “Send us pictures of your art online. We will decide if your art will work in our store. A successful gallery owner is not twiddling his thumbs waiting for clients to walk through his doors, he is on the computer sending art online to his clients.
My friend has asked me for years, “Why did you write this or that book? If you write them, then you are in the business, like it or not.”
My answer has always been, “I just have to write, that’s what I do.”
Then she looked around at my inventory and said, “You should be getting more of your work out there so others can enjoy it.” And I always answered her, “I know.” I know and doing it is a far cry.
I spent a week in Clovis, New Mexico, with this friend. I went to Clovis to help her redecorate two cottages she owned. She was not ready and the reason for me being there changed.
“We need to get you on You Tube, you need a virtual store and a website for your art and books,” She said.
So we began the process. She knew a production company and we were soon shooting a DVD for an online watercolor painting workshop. I also needed a promo to go with it. As I looked into the monitor, I became very aware I was no longer thirty years old and the camera was showing only what it saw, wrinkles and all.
I read a quote from Oliver Cromwell.
“Mr. Lely desires that you would use all your skill to paint my picture truly like me. And not flatter me at all; but remark all these roughnesses, pimples, warts, and everything as you see me, otherwise I will never pay you a farthing for it.”
What did Mr. Cromwell have in mind? Was he saying? Paint me as I am, but show me beautiful? I was feeling the same way.
My question to my friend was, “Do the young people see beyond an older person? Can they see forty-five years of experience or do they see someone’s grandmother with wrinkles? Can they learn from us or even want to?
My friend fired back a response, “What are your demographics? Who are you planning to reach?”
“I guess those who want to learn how to paint? Making a workshop video seemed to be the next step. But now I wonder if age makes a difference?”
She continued, “Take for instance, if you were going to appeal to the readers of the AARP Magazine, you wouldn’t be seeing someone in a bikini, you would most likely see an ad for Depends. We had a good laugh, but it still didn’t answer my question.
“Does that mean I have to play rap music and have a crazy wild look?”
During the week in Clovis, I went from the production of a video, a promo and all the self-consciousness of entering a younger world, a new generation of entrepreneurs. I comforted myself that I wasn’t selling a dating service or diet pills, I was teaching others how to paint.
So now what? Who am I selling? I’m still not sure. Now it is time for shaking the bushes virtually; another lesson to be learned. I guess it is “wait and see.”
“My eye has played the painter.” I am counting on the eye which plays the painter, who doesn’t care about wrinkles or warts, but appreciates art and sees beyond to see beauty. If Social Media is the next step in staying up with the times, count me in. I am not sure what all that means but I know it is the way it’s going.
Final brushstroke: We arrive as a novice at each age of our life and take the risk of learning something new.
“And all the lives we ever lived and all the lives to be, are full of trees and changing leaves …” — Virginia Woolf.
Send your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org. See my work on http://bettysladeartistlandscapes.blogspot.com and read other articles from the Artist’s Lane on http://bettyslade.blogspot.com. Coming shortly, The Artistic Works by Betty Slade, a Virtual Store.