26 February, 2010

How To Mind Map Your Blog

"I must create a system,
or be enslaved by another man's,"
William Blake

The Mind Map of The Colorist blog was posted a week ago Monday, and you may wish to do this exercise for your own blog. My goal in doing a mind map was to
clean up my busy sidebar and sort out what kinds of data I may want for the new Blogger tabs.

The following describes how I did my mind map.

detail - center of the mind map

I began with the identified subject in the center of the blank page, and drew radii with subjects that I found easy to describe based on
what I like to write about in the blog. The broad subjects included Art essays, Art History, My Art, The Art Blogging Community, Casey Klahn (it is my newsletter), etc.

I skipped the rule about using color (go figure!). I think in color when I draw, though - that's part of my whole job description. A rule I will follow next time is that one should
pose the subject as a thesis statement or as a question, not just, "The Colorist." I should have written: "what are the components of The Colorist?"

I consulted my labels, and then I described the sub-branches by associations of content with the main branches. For instance, "My Art" has several sub branches such as abstract and landscape genres. Also, the broad category of "Art Content" broke down into the associated subjects of "art philosophy" and "education."

brain.gif picture by caseyklahn

The finding of links between the broad subjects, or a systems analysis of how subjects connect, was illustrated by double ended arrows running between the main branches. This is the most problematic area, and I think the worst represented by mind mapping. Systems are more complex than this 2 dimensional scheme, and they have multiple associations, not just those that are easily illustrated by an arrow. Anyway, the object was to
get some systems identified, and to find groupings that will help me pull together types of content for my tabs and my sidebar widgets.

Below, I drew a pop-out that attempted to scheme some broad concerns of the blog. I want to keep my blog focused on ideas, and not so much on myself - people get bored with that. That's why I drew the overlap as a little bit of the artist's self, a better amount of content (ideas) and a whole lot of action (painting and drawing). The outside influences of culture and others I described as "world."

Like with the Borg, all ideas can be assimilated, but when you get the crew of the star ship Enterprise involved, all bets are off. I would say the same thing applies to the artistic mind. Artists are (or should be) the most individual souls on Earth. Systems that artists work within may not function for other offices. Create your own sets of ideas and make your artist's blog a "Mind Map" of your own personality.

Extreme Navel Gazing Links:

Mind Mapping
Argument Map
Disney Mind Map 1957

Funny gif by EFAmbros

24 February, 2010

Banners and Badges

#1. New banner, gray with green.

#2. New banner, brown with green.

#3. New banner, green with orange.

The time has arrived to replace my aging blog banner. Here are some designs, and I am asking you to
vote on your favorite. You might expect me to be a whiz at design, but I have too much respect for that profession to think that I can just rip out designs like a pro. It is a skill I struggle with. Help me out by voting for the one you think should top The Colorist blog.

There is a school of thought that says you should get straight to the content in your blog, and not delay everything with a big banner. The idea is to either dispense with the banner and go with text only, or place the thinnest banner at the top of your blog. My own view is that I write an artist's blog, and
I want visual impact. The little picture icons that are now part of blog rolls do a nice job of headlining each new post, as does the post title. The majority of readers are fed by their subscriptions, and recognize the blog plenty well when they get here.

Except that now you'll be seeing a fresh banner. But which one? Please vote in the poll at the right hand sidebar. In addition, I will offer a brag banner for those who so desire to advertise that they are one of the smart readers who visit here often. Whichever banner is chosen, I will be complimenting it with a badge like the one below.

The How to Mind Map Your Blog post is written, but I need to tweak it a little more. Stay tuned, mind travelers.

22 February, 2010

Sunshine Award

The Sunshine Award has cast light into my studio and my blog. Mary Anne Cary sent the award, and I want to thank her again.

Alyson Stanfield, my favorite Art Biz Coach, posted about the Geography of being a local artist, and at the same time I had the urge to illuminate my local blog dogs in a new post. I have decided to give the Sunshine away to the bloggers from Washington State. Some I know in real life, and others just online. I am supposed to recognize twelve, but I couldn't stop there.

If you want to participate, see the outline at Mary Anne's blog.

  1. Sheila M. Evans
  2. David Patterson
  3. Angela Wales Rockett
  4. Katherine van Schoonhoven
  5. Rachel Maxi
  6. Jennifer Phillips
  7. Miki Willa
  8. John W. Stinson
  9. Garth Perfidian
  10. Gabriel Campanario (Seattle Sketcher)
  11. Donna Watson
  12. Susan Ogilvie
  13. Jennifer Evenhus
  14. Kathleen Cavender
  15. Lisa McShane
  16. Barbara Benedetti Newton
  17. Jason Waskey
More here.

Sorry if I forgot someone. Feel free to send me a comment and I will try to make amends as I do like to link to Washington artists.

16 February, 2010

27 Art Blogs To Watch 2010

Artist Donna Zagotta, of Notes From the Studio, Donna Zagota's Art Blog, asked her readers to name their favorite art blogs so that she "could create a list of hot art blogs to watch in 2010." The Colorist was one of the 27 Art Blogs to Watch in 2010, posted February 15th., 2010. If you follow the link you will be astounded by the many kinds of art blogs that she has noted. I am proud to be on the list and I had a great time reading and following the links. Thank you, Donna!

Artist Mary Anne Cary has also given The Colorist a Sunshine Award, which I gratefully acknowledge. I have an idea of how to pass on this sunshine, which I will be working on soon. Thank you, Mary Anne!

Next post: How To Mind Map Your Blog.

15 February, 2010

Mind Map of This Blog

Mind Map of The Colorist Blog. Click on the image to read in a larger format.

Cue the Twilight Zone Theme. We are going to mind map The Colorist.

Here is the theme music for this post ( Right Click to open a new tab).

The reason for this exercise is that Blogger has introduced tabs. You know the ones that make Wordpress blogs function so well? They take you to static pages that live (as I understand it) within your blog and I assume they accrue to your blog's statistical performance. I already use Google Page Creator (soon to be replaced by Google Sites) to direct readers to static pages, and the links have been via badges or icons that I place on the sidebar.

The mind map is my way of gathering the cluttered strings of this parachute that is my blog. I am trying to discover what sorts of things are interconnected. Which subjects would function better if found via tabs? Which want to be found via badges in the sidebar?

In addition to the mind map, I also listed my sidebar items by function. I look forward to reducing my sidebar to a more manageable affair. My plan is to use sidebar badges or icons to link to certain content, and tabs for other types. Now I just need one more important thing: some time.

Katherine Tyrrell has generously posted a How To for adding tabs to your blog.
Google Sites.
Mind Mapping.

08 February, 2010

New Series Thoughts

Last Year at the Festival

Thanks to the following kind comment givers who wrote on my last post:

Sam Hannaway
Carole Buschmann
Alison Straite
Irina Rekhviashvili
Katherine A. Cartwright
Katherine van Schoonhoven
Trevor Lingard
Jala Pfaff

Mary Anne Cary

Also, a big thank you to Katherine at Making a Mark, where my roll-out of the Prairie Series was noted.

I am just as interested as everyone else to see which direction the new series will take. The reason not even I know the answer is that I started the series with a few works late last year, and have just recently started back on this series. Of course, things look different, now, and so I'll have to make a few and see which elements are speaking to me. When I get it all figured out, I'll post about it. Meanwhile, if you want some wisdom on the artistic process, I refer you to the Katherine A. Cartwright blog where she and her gang of readers are looking at the creative process loop.

For my part, I still await that axe man who comes to cull out my worst paintings. Seems I remember his name was "Johnny."

See a collection of pastels about snow scenes at the Pastel News. Some of us have had way too much snow, and others, like myself, have had way too little. No fair.

05 February, 2010

Prairie Series

Violet & Green Tree
5" x 4.5"
Casey Klahn

Here begins the Prairie Series. The ideas will be like the Rivers, but with some significant changes. What are those changes? I'll let you know first, once I figure them out.

Today I have some time to actually straighten and clean my studio a bit. After a week and a half of daily work, the dust is beginning to reach my ankles. How many artworks did I finish? Maybe 8 or 9, but I'll have to wait for this man who comes in with an axe and destroys several of them before I can tell you the actual number.

02 February, 2010

Press Release

Photo: Lorie Klahn
Casey Klahn

Because, once in a while, I have to post a photo that doesn't have red or orange added.

Press Release.


Abstract Expressionism, Art Criticism, Artists, Colorist Art, Drawing, History, Impressionism, Modern Art, Painting, Pastel, Post Impressionism