August 2019 is my Sketchbook anniversary.
I wrote a blog for a full year!
Since last August I’ve covered a lot about what makes my painting practice mine. It can be nerve racking to put my ideas into words. Even explaining some things to myself is a full brain work out. To get over my fear of making mistakes, I tell myself “you can’t be wrong when you’re just talking about yourself”. It’s not like a third party can prove me wrong right? Hopefully not.
On April 22, 2014 I registered my domain, hillerylay.com using Squarespace. It’s been five years. I would say for most of that time my site was a pretty stagnant. Sure I added new paintings, but as far as using all of the features available to me… I was not. Last summer I decided that to get deeper into my artwork I needed to build a better foundation.
I am absolutely terrible with computers so I try not to get bogged down with techy details. Unfortunately you gotta learn something if you want to build a better website. Apart from brainstorming relevant content, categories, developing ideas, writing, and editing I also taught myself topics like web design, sending email newsletters, analytics, blogging, and SEO to name just a few scary sounding subjects.
Technology kills you and saves you at the same time. I got help from Squarespace, Pinterest, and Google. Slowly, a little bit at a time, I added the Sketchbook blog. Then the Studio Notes newsletters. I put together a better CV. I used all of the wonderful editing blocks and video tutorials Squarespace offers to better organize and grow my website.
My hard work is paying off. This chart shows the difference in visits to my website from July with no blog, to August and the first post The evolution of a symbol and a forest pop up. The most read article of the past 12 months was A Painting Start To Finish. The runner up was Cyanotype Process Sun Printing.
I’ve also worked on areas outside of the World Wide Web since last August. I’ve had my work in three group shows in Oregon with a solo show at the Royal Artisan in Baker City, Oregon in October. I also spent time volunteering at my local nonprofit, Crossroads Carnegie Art Center in Baker City, OR. I joined the Membership Committee, developing their membership systems, designing their new logos, and creating the Spring Fling.
I have more plans for hillerylay.com in the near future, so stay tuned.
I’m pretty happy with how my first year of blogging went. I already have another full year planned out for your reading pleasure.
And of course I plan to keep painting.