I was going to wait until The Watercolor Gallery hit 150 or even 200 pieces in its archive before I gave another update but several key things are going on and I want them documented. For context see the announcement post, the 30 pieces update, the tools of The Watercolor Gallery, and the post celebrating 100 pieces in the gallery.
Today I'm going to focus on audience. I haven't really talked much about audience since I began. To be honest, I wasn't really focused on it. I was tracking it but I wasn't worried about where the audience would come from or actively trying to grow the audience on my own. I didn't buy any ads, share any links, or do anything special whatsoever. I simply focused on making a gallery that I would like to visit. In fact, the only update I gave regarding audience was back in August when I said:
"I have many, many ideas for The Watercolor Gallery and I’ll be working on them as the site gets more and more of an audience. Right now, after only a week, the audience seems to be near 50 people per day. I’m extremely happy with this."
Well, the Watercolor Gallery has found an audience. Since that update there have been several surges in both traffic and people 'following' the gallery on Tumblr and Twitter. The two most notable surges amounted to thousands of new people being 'members' of the gallery. And if I was happy with 50 people per day I'm very happy for thousands. The two main surges resulted from a painting going 'Tumblr-viral' and, yesterday, The Watercolor Gallery being featured on Tumblr Tuesday.
By the way, having a single post go Tumblr-rival seemingly has more legs than being featured on Tumblr Tuesday. However, being featured is only 24 hours old so I'll withhold firm judgement until the dust settles.
I have reason to be happy with The Watercolor Gallery gaining so much momentum in such a short period of time. As I said in August, I have plans for the gallery that would be utterly fruitless without a fairly large audience. So far I've added two new series to the gallery in addition to the paintings.
The artist interview series has been a smashing success. It isn't easy, and took a bit of work from me to get rolling but so far the interviews that have been published are just great and the upcoming interviews (of which I have 12 in the can right now) are just outstanding. Watercolor artists are part of a global community and this fact shines through these interviews. So far I've published interviews with artists in Bangkok, Thailand,Waxahachie, Texas,Scarborough, England,Los Angeles, California and Jerome, Arizona. These interviews have not been the most popular (in terms of "likes" or "reblogs" on Tumblr) posts on the gallery but - I think - they add a certain professional nature to the gallery as a whole. The Watercolor Gallery isn't just a Tumblog that reblogs every watercolor painting that passes by my desk. It is a serious look at how artists can be inspired by looking at and learning from other artists, their paintings and their workspaces.
Which leads us to the Artspaces series. In a word, this series has been a flop. I've gottenabsolutelyzero submissions since I began this series on the gallery. Zero. The artspaces that you see on the site have been gathered by me personally. I've searched for them, asked for permission from their respective owners to publish them, written the posts and published them. But I'm not giving up. I believe we have a lot to learn from the workspaces of every artist. I believe every artist should want to have their artspace published on The Watercolor Gallery - for two main reasons. First, I think it is an easy way to be seen on the gallery (whether or not the artist specializes in watercolor). With the audience growing every day it now means something to be featured on the gallery. Second, I think it is a fun series and who doesn't like to have fun? I might be wrong about the Artspaces series but I'm going to give it a little while to catch on before I make that decision.
I believe the Tumblr community is one of less interaction then online communities of the past. They'd rather simply click a "like" button on a photo then read an entire post, submit a photo to your site or compete in a contest. At least, that is the way that it appears. I plan on overcoming this challenge by, hopefully, providing something valuable to everyone that joins the gallery. I hope The Watercolor Gallery becomes a notable moment in an artist's journey when they are featured there and for it to be another tool for artists all over the world to be inspired by others.
The future of The Watercolor Gallery looks very bright. Some of the things I thought I would have to wait months to be able to try I believe I can do sooner thanks to these boosts in audience. I'm looking forward to working even harder on making The Watercolor Gallery a truly special place for watercolor artists and those they inspire to gather together and enjoy each other's work and company. I'm extremely happy that so many people have thought it worthy of their "follow".