We've had discussions on the FASO site before, regarding adding music to the art. Sandwiching those paintings in amidst a few tunes.
From the complaint column come gems like these:
- Why should I have to listen to your music?
- I have dial up and it takes too long.
- I don't need music
Well, today I am throwing caution to the wind. I just published another video of some of my paintings, and yes, there's music involved!
Why should I have to listen to your music? Yes, it's my music, and yes, there is a person who will ask "why should I have to listen to your music?" You, my dear, have my permission to turn your speakers off. But I think one of the reasons people read artists blogs is to get to know "their" artist, and I think my music choices tell the reader a little more about me, and why I paint what I do.
I have Dial up and it takes too long Dial up? I'm sorry.
I don't need music Whoa. You are the rare one. My favorite comeback is to ask how many public events include music as a given? Someone sings the national anthem to us at the beginning of the football game. WE sing Take-Me-Out-To-The-Ballgame during the seventh inning stretch. We scoff at parades that don't include at least one marching band. And don't get me started with personal electronic everything that give us music whenever/wherever. We have studies that show kids involved in high school music score higher on their SAT/ACT's. We have nationally televised musical competitions. Heck, we have people singing in the shower.
And with that as my affirmation, here's the link, and just click on the title -- and enjoy!
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. Let's talk about the calendar today.
After all, timing is everything. Don't you just hate that phrase? Timing is everything. Most people say it to you with sympathy on their faces, because you've made a timing erred mistake. Or when an opportunity is lost because the perfect time has already slipped by. There are those people who make it their living to forecast the perfect time to get something done. Sigh--even they are not 100% perfect.
A little while ago there was an article in the FAV newsletter about Ebay. Be it noted here I am not an Ebay fan, but allow that for some people, it works. That's not the point however, rather the comment included in the letter:
"When the art goes off is extremely important. You don’t want the auction to end Christmas Day or on any other big holidays. Use your brain."
Did not that author just say, "timing is everything"? I was reminded of this paragraph when I opened the stats page of my website today. All of you who have FASO artist websites know that little bar graph that pops up there, right? It shows how many people have visited your website today, or yesterday, or whenever.
Aaaach! Flat lined! My personal bar graph is apparently glued to the bottom. What does that tell us? NO BODY and NO ONE (except for me) is sitting in front of their computer this holiday weekend. Okay, actually, there were a whopping seven there yesterday, and eight today, but trust me when I tell you that doesn't give your bar graph any perceptible motion.
Now then, what's the lesson to take away and retain? That brilliantly written blog post article, or that beautifully crafted newsletter? DON'T send them at holiday time. There's no accounting for all of your reader's travel plans and vacation times, but by looking at the calendar and using your brain, it's pretty simple to forecast that your bar graph will be flat lined for a day or two. In essence, your very important information will fall on deaf ears. Unopened ears, errr, emails, I mean. And those same people probably won't have time for you the first day back from holiday either. Really, everyone is playing catch up and it's way too easy to file things away for reading later. A later that often never happens.
So if you are one of those crazy seven or eight, sitting in front of the machine, designing that newsletter, when everyone else is out on holiday, look at your calendar. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Schedule that article/newsletter to go when there's actually someone there to receive it.
Note: I'm writing this today, but you won't get a chance to read it for a day or so. And were the fireworks in your town spectacular?!
I am still thinking about newsletters, of the studio sort. I just published and sent my latest this week. Did you get your copy? (If not I plan to add a link over there at the left menu, under the "link to recent audio newsletter, plus others" heading, but you need to be patient) Oh wait, we could do it like this as well: click on the colored link.
That, however, is not the subject du jour. Rather we are talking "Newsletters.Avoiding the premature click-off". Wh-aaaaat, you say? Oh come on, surely, you've done it yourself. Found someone's email newsletter in your inbox. Opened it. Started reading. Yawned. Clicked off. PREMATURELY. Not even reading the whole thing. It was too dry. Too dull. Too boring. Take your pick, you just couldn't bring yourself to finish it. Now should enter the thought in you head, oh horrors, what if people do that to my newsletter? What if they click-off prematurely on MY newsletter? Aaach! All that time and effort wasted, not to mention the insult, eh?
But wait a minute, revisit that last sentence: "all that time and effort". How much is your all? DO you invest time and effort into your newsletter? Aren't we supposed to be creatives, and if so, shouldn't our newsletters reflect that?
I remember reading in the book "Conversations In Paint" a suggestion by the author, for artists still trying to find/know/understand their personal painting style. The author suggested the artists look at multitudes of varieties of paintings by other artists. Keep track of what attracted them. Search deeper into those specific attractions, because in those specifics would probably be the roots of the painting style the artist would find as a fit. Seems pretty logical, doesn't it?
I decided the same tactic could apply to newsletters. Visit artists websites. Sign up for their newsletters. Keep a list. Which ones do you give the premature click-off? Which ones do you read clear through? Better yet, which ones do you look forward to with anticipation? What attracts you and makes you want to read more? What makes you yawn and go away? These should be road signs for your own newsletter!
What do I expect from an artist's newsletter?
1. It's from an artist, therefore it should be creative. "I have this painting at this show this month. You should go see it"....does not work for me.
2. It should have beautiful art, presented in an appealing way. You should sign up for Diane Leonard's newsletter, what a perfect example. (click on the colored "example")
3. It should be fun, something that makes you wish it didn't have to end. Go look at Karin Jurick's music videos, 15,062 viewers can't be wrong. This is fun. (click on the colored "this")
4. I think a newsletter should have "all that time and effort" involved, or at least the appearance of. (our personal technical abilities probably factor in here!) If you slap something out, just to say you sent your newsletter, then what is it really worth? And what does it say to your friends and collectors?
As artists, we get lots of advice about how important it is to send out newsletters, to stay in touch with the people who appreciate our paintings. I would encourage you to remember that it's a study in futility if what you send is a yawn-er, if you are giving your readers the nudge toward that premature click-off. Food for thought, eh?
Welcome to the Cooper studio, Jefferson, Iowa. And yup, it's winter here. Lots of time on our hands for long trains of thought. Let me illustrate, in text format:
I went to see my doctor recently. I had a muscle knot, the perennial kind. It comes, it goes, it comes again. Happily, right now, is a gone time. But that's not the point of this writing, just the lead in. My doctor gave my ouch a name, it's called my trapezius muscle.
Funny, how I've had a couple of 'em all my life, made it through all the science classes of my required education, have read countless "anatomy for artists" books, studied the very same muscles on lots of people in life drawing sessions, have drawn them just as many times...but it took the personal touch (the ouch, and the doctor naming it) before I could reliably say its name.
I have long-held writers of "anatomy for artists" books in a special category. It's my "you annoy me" category. Why does anyone title a book like that and then fill it up the way they do? Don't they understand that the average artist reads those books, LOOKS AT THE PICTURES, hopefully remembering the shape and location of them, says that awful unrelated name that some genius (?) gave it, and then promptly forgets it? Surely there must be a better way.
And I don't mean to indicate that I think the personal touch, the ouch factor, is a good way to learn "anatomy for artists". But the personal touch, ah, yes. In other arenas of interest the personal touch can be a gold mine. Infinitely valuable. Do you see where this is going? You didn't miss the second half of my title for this text, did you? "Go write that newsletter" It's the personal touch, you know. And while some people don't like to write a newsletter, they are not nearly as painful as a knotted up trapezius muscle.
How do you expect your patrons to remember your name, if they don't get the personal touch? We like to know our patrons, but it's only fair that we allow them to know us as well. It's called communication, the personal touch. Whether it be an anatomy part called a trapezius muscle, or a painting with Cooper signed in red :) the personal touch helps someone remember. And isn't that our goal?
So. let's revert back to the title up at the top of all this: "It's Winter So What Are You Gonna Do. Go Write That Newsletter" Alright, already, I am. It is going to be one of those cool things set up as a video, complete with music. And the theme, you ask? Ha, winter rebellion in full force: the newsletter will be all about SUMMER. Summer music, a bit of news about summer scheduling, paintings about summer, paintings that make you wish for summer, paintings that make you feel like summer. Have I mentioned I really enjoy summer? So tell your friends and family to click on that little link at the left "CooperStudio Newsletter Signup" and get signed up. Everybody can get a copy. I'll send a link to your email and you can view it at your leisure. Or when you get hit with a blizzard and you need a little breath of summer-ish. It'll be fun. And summer-y. I promise.