Michael Mize Art Blog
I've been meaning to write this blog for a few weeks now but haven't managed to find the time. After reading Caroline Henry's astute observations about the importance of art communities, I felt compelled to make the time today. (And it has nothing to do with the fact that this is the last Friday of the school year! Woohoo!)
I can remember vividly the night I set up my initial free Artid account. The excitement and anticipation over the visibility my work might receive on the World Wide Web; the thought that something might even sell! I remember praying and asking God to please bless the effort that I was making to become more actively involved in promoting my art. I laugh at that prayer now, because although God has absolutely answered it and then some, it was just not quite like I expected. If I were honest, in my heart I was praying that God would bless "my efforts", (i.e. please let me sell a bunch of stuff!) Instead, I've been blessed by new opportunities, unexpected inspirations, and a list of new "e-friends".
Shortly after becoming a Silver Star member, and with a little encouragement from my wife, I answered Maria's challenge for people to become featured bloggers. I began to write my "Tales from the Art Side" blogs, confident that no one would be all that interested, but still hopeful. Much to my surprise, people seem to be enjoying them, which continues to flatter me beyond measure. I've received some very encouraging comments and responses, and I always love hearing that people are relating to what I've said.
I've also discovered the joy of sharing encouraging words and praise with other artists. (It's like the best part of grading, without actually have to grade something). If you__™re at all like me, there is an intoxicating rush of excitement every time you notice you have a new comment. I__™ve become quite passionate about sharing that excitement with others by leaving frequent comments and observations. In fact, keeping a close eye on the new artwork and artists that are added each week has become a favorite pastime. And being able to read other artist__™s thoughts, comments, observations, and processes is always very fascinating to me. It__™s almost like having a subscription to an art magazine without having to wait a month for new content.
I've enjoyed numerous comments of affirmation about my own work as well. But the comments I appreciate most are when I hear that someone has decided to do something they had not previously planned as a result of something I said to them. Wow! That's huge. To know that I__™ve been of some help or influence in another artist__™s work is as humbling as it is addictive. It makes me all the more excited to become even more involved in this sense of community that Caroline Henry has elaborated so well on.
So I've unquestionably been blessed. I have come to love spending time on Artid more than I ever expected, and for reasons I would have never imagined. And if I had to guess, I would imagine a lot of artists initially come to this site in much the same way I did; and likely have very similar aspirations. So I share my story in the hopes that others might be encouraged to become more involved than they are right now. Participation is the biggest obstacle to overcome in establishing a truly strong community. I think Artid holds genuine potential to offer artists far more than merely web space to exhibit your work. There are intangible and intrinsic benefits of real substance to be gained by making an effort to get involved beyond just setting up an online gallery.
Please excuse the shameless plug of putting my latest painting in for the blog image. I couldn't think of an appropriate image to go along with the topic.