It's my Sketchbook one year anniversary!

August 2019 is my Sketchbook anniversary.

I wrote a blog for a full year!

mixed media painter Hillery Lay

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.

rural Oregon painter

On April 22, 2014 I registered my domain, 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.

rural Oregon artist

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.

blogging in Oregon

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.

blogging in Oregon

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.

mixed media artist in Oregon
cyanotype 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.

rural Oregon painter Hillery Lay

I have more plans for 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.

Most importantly, thank you for following along. I hope it has been enjoyable for you.

And always if you have questions, comments, or just want to say hi, I’d love to hear from you.