Monday, 3 December 2012

Article Published

A year ago I answered a Call For Articles on Facebook from Gail Stiffe at Women's Art Register - a small art magazine published in Victoria, Australia and wrote an article on Building an Artistic Community and Connections and it was published.

I chose the paintings which had meaning to my community realtions.

The ButterFlyGirl was created for the Summer 2011 Flying Lessons Group - my Fly Tribe - the group of women I met online whilst doing the Kelly Rae Roberts Flying Lessons e-course.

This was also used for the bloghop...

This is a photo of me in front of one of the paintings I created at the Flora Bowley workshop - workshops are a great way of meeting other creative people.

(I hate that pic - I think I look kinda weird - it's my eyes or something...)

And this painting was one that sold at a local community art festival.

Here's the article I wrote a year ago, my husband and son just read it for the first time on Thursday and they are like What?  What's this?  after reading the first sentence.  I based the article on my experiences and was also thinking of Kelly Rae Roberts and Flora Bowley too.


Family unsupportive of your artistic journey?  Friends don’t understand your passion for painting and creating?  It is important to find and connect with other artists who ‘get’ you so you can share your excitement with them.  There are two main ways of building your artistic community - by meeting people in real life and online through art communities and blogging.

My artistic journey started in January 2009 when I went to drawing classes at the local art shop.  I went to learn how to draw not realising that it was the beginning of building an artistic community.  It was at this first class that I met Sandra, the more classes we took together, the more art I created - pastels, watercolour, acrylics, mixed media and collage - the more we clicked with shared creative ideas.

When I first started to draw and paint I joined an online art community to upload my art to show family and friends overseas.  That community had different groups you could join so I did to show off my art.  Members in those groups provided praise and encouragement to me and I found inspiration and friendship too.

You can meet other artists at art classes and workshops as well as local community and learning centres.  Sandra asked me to be take over her group co-ordinator role at the local learning centre.  I met some wonderful people who I was able to teach, mentor and even inspire.  Are you able to organise an art class or invite an artist you admire to teach at a workshop?  Is there a community centre near you where you could invite other artists to meet and work on their art together?

There are many online art communities, I even belong to a couple on Facebook.  Joining an online art community is like going to a party.  First of all you get dressed up - most communities give you your own page where you can upload an avatar of yourself or your art to represent you, you can change the background theme and script as well as add photos of your art and write a little bit about yourself.  Then find the forum and introduce yourself - there is usually an introduction thread.  Listen to others by reading their threads and looking at their galleries.  Participate in the conversation by replying to questions, giving sincere praise and encouragement, compliments and offer helpful positive advice when asked.  Start new threads and post questions too.  Before long people will be responding to your comments and friending you.

Blogging is another way to build your artistic community and connect with others who share your interests.  A blog is a website where you can write about your art, your life - not too personal but enough so people can relate to you,  and add photos too.  Your blog can provide inspiration to others, share some of your techniques, guest writers and interviews with other artists too.  To build your community visit other people’s blogs, become one of their followers, leave positive and sincere comments of praise, encouragement and congratulations.  Read their list of blogs they read and then go visit the blogs that sound interesting to you. People will start to visit your blog, become your follower, leave comments, connect with you and may even buy your art.

This may sound like a lot work but the more you put into building your artistic community the more you will get out of it.  I personally know artists whose careers have expanded from painting and blogging to selling books, providing online courses, sold out workshops - in minutes, products - calendars, bags, statues, frames, mirrors and crockery, online shops with over 300 sales in 24 hours on Cyber Monday.

I started blogging in March 2011 and it wasn’t until a few months later when I took an online creative business course that I consciously started building my artistic community.  Looking back I’ve found that the  benefits of using the above ways to connect with like-minded people include: making new friends, receiving and giving praise, encouragement, inspiration, support and positive and helpful criticism, teaching and mentoring,  information about books, classes and workshops, confidence in myself and my art and a group of people to hold an exhibition with. 

You may have to research and shop around for the community that suits you best and remember that this will take time.  Building your artistic community will help you build your artistic career.  Looking forward to seeing you there.

Online art communities:  US based  - UK based great for watercolour artists  - NZ based - great for oil painters.  -  UK based - great for learning how to draw and paint faces, mixed-media art  Magically Mixed Art Community

Different types of blog hosting websites:  - this is the one I use - simple and easy  - You will find a list of arts and crafts blogs at the Australian Women Bloggers Directory

How to find me:


  1. Congratulations are an inspiration to me..It's only since Tracy Verdugo's invitation to join The Magically Mixed Art Community and discovering blogs like yours that I've reclaimed my inner artist and pursuing it with fervour :)xX

  2. Congrats Michelle on getting published, it's a great article. I do like your comment "Joining an online art community is like going to a party"! It has been lovely to meet you online. You have been a great support and inspiration me and I am sure to many others with all your artwork and your lovely blog. :)


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