Artists and the Internet: A Double-Edged Sword

"Clearing" 12 x 18 Pastel on Watercolor Paper
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Where would artists be without the internet?  It's allowed us to express ourselves, connect with each other, present ourselves to the general public, and done away with a lot of the "gate keeping" that used to separate the majority of artists from the art buying public.  

I've received many benefits as an artist thanks to the internet.  It drew me into the practice of daily painting, and helped me feel connected as I shared my artworks with other artists-- particularly during times of isolation, when I couldn't get to art classes or events.  If I need a little pick-me-up, a scroll through Pinterest gives me plenty of inspiring art to view.  I've learned so much about contemporary artists by interacting with them and seeing their latest works!  When I consider my favorite artists, names that spring to my mind include many artists who are living, thriving, and posting their works on thoughts for the world to see.  I still love my favorite old masters, but I find many of today's artists equally inspiring.  I have somewhat traditional taste, so I'm not sure I would feel that way if it weren't for the boon the internet has granted the art world.

However, there is the other side of the internet and art.  Although I started posting my works when I truly felt I was ready, I still wish I had waited a couple more years to refine my painting style.  I often joke with people in my age group that it's a relief there was no internet when we were teenagers-- we could make plenty of mistakes without having them recorded for future viewers.  I see plenty of cases where the temptation to share and constantly post new work outweighs the quality of the work being posted, which leaves me wondering why some artists feel the need to post every undeveloped sketch and doodle on their profiles for others to see?  There's also the rampant copyright infringement-- everything posted online becomes available for those who have no qualms misusing artists' original creations for their own purposes.

In spite of the pitfalls, I think the internet is a worthy gamble for artists.  With a little care and consideration, artists can benefit greatly from participating in the now massive world of art.  

The above painting was originally done in 2010, but I took it out last month and gave it a little retouching to open up some of the shadowy areas.  Although my work has changed in the last five years (since I began posting), I felt like this piece stood the test of time and still matches my style today.  One thing's for sure-- I've painted many pieces that I'm now glad I never posted. I've gotten overly picky about what I post these days, but I guess that the alternative of giving in to the temptation to overshare would be worse.  I can always let works sit for a while and decide later if they're worth posting-- it takes a little extra self-control, but will make for a better collection of work in the future.

If you like "Clearing," check out some more water paintings in my Water Reflections gallery!


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