I’ve been rethinking a whole mess of stuff, i.e., my art, my newsletters, my website, my blog. It’s all feeling a bit lackluster to me lately. I feel a need for a change.

For one thing, my website, initially built some twenty-plus years ago on top of a database of my entire body of work, needs an overhaul. Both the MySQL database the PHP code is about to go stale. And I’m not sure I like the way it operates anyway, even though I still get a lot of positive feedback. But I might as well rethink it since Michael is about to upgrade the whole enchilada. I need to map out new sections and revamp the navigation.
Then there are my newsletters.

I’ve been building a mailing list since the late 1980s. Before computers, it was a long, slow process to get people’s physical addresses from people that were interested in me and my art. I soon after created a physical newsletter, like a zine. I used a word processor and color copies of my art, then cut and pasted everything together at Kinkos–in the middle of the night because it was cheaper to use the copy machines.

Concurrently, I kept track of my art on notebook paper and numbered it. I kept track of who bought it, where I showed it, where I submitted it, and any other pertinent data. I did this early on because I had the foresight I would eventually enter the information into a computer one day and that I would accumulate many hundreds of artworks. At the time, I’d only faintly see that I would need a relational database.

Then I got a Windows 3.1 machine and was able to enter my 300-person mailing list into a Microsoft Works database. Once everyone else got on the web, I very quickly gained email addresses, like lightning. Thank Jesus for the Internet, right?

My newsletters got more manageable too. Much easier to write and send out. No more paper. I have always sent them out no more than four times a year (seasonally). And they are on the long side–up to 1000 words, at times. My blog posts can be much longer.

I don’t send the newsletters out very often because I want to wait until I have actual news to report. I also don’t want to bother people with “spam.” I’m afraid to get unsubscribers, but I get them anyway. It comes with the territory. It doesn’t hurt my feelings or anything. I don’t know why I care, except that the number of my subscribers goes down. Who wants that?

But I realized, after speaking to my artist friend, Trine Churchill, that it’s more about the quality of each subscriber, not the number. A no brainer. I knew that already, but I never applied that to the concept of sending out a newsletter more often. Either my subscribers want to hear from me, or they just don’t, and that’s okay.

So, this is a wordy way to say I think I should write newsletters more often, just shorter ones. Sorry that it took me 526 words to make this point.

In the meantime, I’d like to mention that my friend Trine, who’s sincerely an incredible artist, is working on a spectacular project right now involving portraits–of you: The Together Now Project. Check it out.

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