Marja-Leena Rathje
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an artist's blog

Anna sent me an email suggesting I read and comment on Rachael's post of Thursday about artists blogging. Go read Rachael's first, including the comments, then come back here for my response, which I decided to post here:

I've been an artist all my life, and professionally for half that life. Artmaking is an important part of my life along with my family, home, friends and many interests. I started blogging almost nine months ago to show my art work, talk about my favourite medium of printmaking and to write about the many things that interest and influence me and make me the person, and therefore, the artist that I am. The blog is a way of recording all these things, somewhat like in a journal but more so because of the joys of linking to other sites. It is a way of sharing these with any readers that care to read them. I really did not know fully at the beginning how passionate I was to become about blogging.

It's gratifying to note the statistics show that the numbers of readers have been growing and growing. Yet I receive few comments, mostly from a few faithful who have become friends. Sometimes, like Rachael, I wonder how readers feel about my site. I've thought about asking "Who are you, dear readers and how did you find me?", especially those who are scattered around the world, (many in Finland!). Maybe I don't want to know and really, I'm not about to change, since I'm doing the blog for me as another creative project, as a form of self-publishing. Anyway, if the readers are still there, I must be providing something of interest for them, and so I am very very thankful for this silent encouragement.

Because this blog is in part a professional site about my work and might sometimes be viewed by a gallery or collector (I can hope!), I've been keeping really personal stuff out of it, as well as to maintain its focus on art and those interests and influences that I mentioned. I do believe we should feel free to let our blogs be what we want them to be (as long as no one is being hurt by what we say of course).

Rachel, Anna, and readers: Have you noticed that there are not very many blogs by artists about their own art, at least that I have found? Is blogging still such a new phenomenon for visual artists, and why? There are quite a few blogs about art shows and art criticism, and numerous literary blogs.

As I was writing and thinking about this, I was catching up on reading some blogs I like. Synchronicity struck as Keri at Wish Jar Journal mentions Rachel's blog too and presents this perfect quote:

"There is a vitality, a life-force, an energy, a quickening that is translated through you into action, and because there is only one of you in all of time this expression is unique. and if you block it, it will never exist through any other medium and be lost. The world will not have it! It is not your business to determine how good it is nor how it compares with other expressions. It is your business to keep it yours clearly and directly, to keep the channel open..." -Martha Graham

Marja-Leena | 16/10/2004 | 6 comments
themes: Being an Artist, Blogging, Other artists


Thanks so much for your comments Marja-Leena. One thing I sincerely appreciate about this effort of yours (mine, anna's, carolyn's, elise's, et. all) is that we ARE blooging our lives in the studio, in the art community, in the big fat world. your voice is a good, clear strong one!
take care,

This is a lovely and timely post. I too have been thinking about these topics much this weekend. I also wonder why more visual artists are not blogging, and I also wonder why I personally do not blog more about the studio- I think I will be doing something about that! Thank you for sharing your insights, very much appreciated.


This is an important question and I don't know the answer. I don't know why I don't write more about my work - that was the intention when I started. I guess I just like writing about the things that make up my life. Since my art comes from my life, I guess I'm happy to continue that way.

Thanks Rachael, Carolyn and Mr. Zip for visiting and writing in!
This conversation is going around a number of the artists' blogs - touched a nerve there, Rachael! Again, I do believe we must do whatever the urge within ourselves, not "what is expected" (whatever that may be)!

i know this conversation is a few days old, but i just wanted to say that you all who have been ruminating about this lately have really inspired me. i have a hard time "straining" or filtering everyday life things from art things, so my blog is really all over the place and i've been hesitant to share it in a professional art context. in a way, artmaking can be such a personal process (even in an educational or community-based setting), that it's difficult to separate out the personal when we go to document our studio lives.

i don't know - i could talk about this all day - but thanks for addressing this.

Hi Denise and welcome! I agree that our personal lives affect our work, sometimes hindering our ability to find time or focus for it. Yet all this is part of the artist and individual that one is, and comes through in the work in its own way, whether or not it is verbalized or written about, I think. Maybe it is part of one's personality as to how much one wants to reveal publicly on a blog.

Best wishes with your blog, will visit it more closely soon. And thanks for visiting & commenting - come again!