Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Review: Woolgathering and lessons from art

Problogger’s blogging prompt for today is “Write a Review.”

Blogs can really be about anything and done in a variety of media. One of the truly unique blogs to come to my attention recently has been Woolgathering. Instead of text or YouTube clips, Woolgathering features Elizabeth Perry’s sketchbook pages which are usually accompanied by a brief text. Sometimes the text describes the circumstances of the drawn scene, other times she describes a particular technique with which she is experimenting, but it is always fascinating.

On her profile page Elizabeth writes that “one of her degrees is in writing.” And a writer she is as well as a published author of a children's book. She later states, rather off-handedly, that she “decided to learn to draw by sketching something everyday…” I find the prospect of deciding to learn something by doing it everyday intriguing because I decide to prepare meals everyday, so why haven’t I yet taught myself to be a chef. Obviously she does more than just crank out a sketch everyday. There is evidence that she must also study her work, compare it to the work of master artists and make adjustments in her approach as needed. Developing this sort of discipline can benefit other types of bloggers as well, and Elizabeth sets an excellent example.

Of course her drawings are beautiful and interesting to view as art scenes, but they also hold lessons of seeing and communicating which can benefit bloggers in any niche or medium. Studying the pages of Woolgathering everyday encourages the viewer to consider the everyday from other perspectives. A great example of this is on July 2, where she has drawn a tabletop with a white folded object on it. Then, in the text, she speculates on how to interpret it: “a landscape, or…a plot device.”

These are the kinds of critical decisions that all blog authors should be making about their layers of content; am I merely recording history or am I providing evidence that instigates taking an action (making a change). While one direction might not necessarily be more right than another, trying to accomplish too many things can be overwhelming. Elizabeth shows us how to be focused and yet have enough variety to peak our readers' interest on a continuing basis.

Elizabeth Perry is an amazing woman with a wide range of interests including video and digital projects, group drawing projects, knitting and community activism. She also possesses the discipline to balance her time and attention among those interests. Several examples of her works and group projects are linked at Woolgathering, so check them out.

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