Does online art leave you raring to go or feeling like a Chinese meal?

connecting with other artists online

One of my hesitations about creating art is that it can feel a rather solitary pursuit. You have to be your own rocket fuel, judge, teacher, whip-cracker and cheerleader. (Insert slightly dodgy stock-library photography of your own choosing here …)

If this is a feeling you recognise then you are most definitely not alone! The art college crit system provides you with a chance for discussion and debate about your own work; having the chance to push and pull ideas around with others can be extremely helpful in making progress. But unless you are a member of a painting group or class it’s hard to create this yourself and it’s tempting to look online for the answers.

Undoubtably YouTube can be an inspirational artists resource but as you have to spend time watching each clip, it can also be a tremendous time sink. There was a period I lost whole mornings to the overwhelm of watching other people create when what I really wanted was to get back to my own work. It can be quite hypnotising but leave you at the end of the day with a rather empty feeling and nothing to show for it. What would you rather do: watch others or make your own art?

One of the reasons I set up this site was to connect with others about the journey we all take creatively – to celebrate the ups and the downs. I’m quite an extrovert but after 6 weeks of children’s summer holidays I am craving some time on my own so possibly today is not the day to be writing about inviting more people in! But I believe we can all benefit from the interaction that sharing can bring, wherever we are on our creative journey.

A week or so ago I discovered
#DrawingAugust on Twitter: simply a way to show and share drawings created during the month (rather late I know!). I’m new to Twitter so I’m probably creating all sorts of twit-ups with what I’m sharing and liking but it’s fun. Some days I’ve been happy with what I’ve done and others not so much…

Inspired by David Parfitt’s sketchbook posting I tried painting clouds in watercolour for the first time.
Not a huge success, but it inspired me to go off and see how Turner tackled the same problem and I’ve since been experimenting using watercolours in my sketchbook much more.


I’ve watched with enjoyment as others post their images and joined by sharing my own. What has made it fun is the interaction: a question about technique, the shared frustration with moving subjects who won’t sit still, and of course it’s always nice to have a ‘favourite’ or a ‘retweet’. That old school gold star reward is hard to shift!


We all have a fear of putting yourself ‘out there’ especially treading carefully in the online world. But think what you have to gain. This week an old friend of mine contacted me to say he had been inspired to get his sketchbook out again after seeing what I was doing. He was happy to let me share it and it’s over on the Facebook page, he said a “rusty but fun!” drawing fitted into his lunch hour.

TIP: when looking at artwork online, don’t get sucked in! Know the reason for looking: if you are looking for inspiration remind yourself to stop as soon as you find that spark – make a note of whatever idea was triggered so when you next have the time you know what you want to begin with.

If you enjoyed this, why not share with others you know and help build a supportive network – come over to the Facebook page and say hello and let us know what you are working on, or what your biggest challenge is right now.

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