When it comes to modern technology I usually feel like a grumpy grandad tackling his first video recorder when it appeared in the 1980s.
That is to say, endlessly scratching my head, using 10 per cent of its capabilities until someone shows me which buttons to press, and ending up with recordings of white noise when I really wanted Inspector Morse.
But recently I felt I should engage further with the world of social media and combine it with my recent passion in life - painting.
Producing acrylic pictures has been a relaxing diversion after work for the past three years. It started very much as a hobby, but my recent postings to Google+ have made me think again.
Despite positive feedback from friends and colleagues, I never really knew if I was painting anything with general appeal. With that in mind I decided to post a couple of my latest pictures on-line using Google+ and Facebook.
I did not undertake this with any great confidence, either in my abilities or the potential kindness of strangers...
What a response though. Since October 27 one of the paintings has been viewed on Google+ over 95,500 times around the world. That does not mean they all liked it of course, but I cannot think how I would ever reach an audience like that without using social media. And thankfully, some very positive thoughts have been sent back to me:
Google Art Project replies - ‘Reminds me a bit of Lowry, as I am looking at two prints on my wall! Very nice - the colors are complementary and I like the idea of feeling the scene rather than seeing the details.’
‘not just nice beautiful combination of colours good for the eyes & mind’
‘very nice - I love the texture of this (same reason I love Seurat’s work).’
And others from Steve Cobb’s original posting:
“ great highlights and contrast, the overall effect is very pleasing to the eye’ - nationally displayed artist from America
“Beautiful work on the edges and textures. You’ve managed to show a feeling rather than a place. Nice work!’ - artist from North America
‘...such a great atmosphere. Good work!!’ - artist, Alberta
‘fabulous’ and ‘You really need to start selling your work!’
Well, this has been an incredible encouragement. With so many clicking the ‘like’ button from as far and wide as Addis Ababa, South Africa and Asia I have not only dipped my toe into the world of social networking but also into the turbulent and often fickle art world. Two great adventures that have changed my outlook in life.
It has been a real eye-opener and proves without a doubt that the new digital age has to be engaged with whatever interests we enjoy. There are people all over the world who can and will interact with us. I’m grateful that the whole experience has been entirely positive and hope that it remains so.
On the home front I hope to produce giclee prints of some of my latest pictures, as I would love to be able to sell prints via picture retailers in the area.. .maybe someone could help me with this next step. Or perhaps I should continue the on-line process, get myself a website and sell directly from there.
It’s all a learning curve for this 50 year old technophobe. And yet, through the use of social media, my pastime is taking on a life of its own.
So far, I’m enjoying the journey...