I have been struggling with the Internet of late.  Whilst I love the democracy of information available and the scope of what there is to see and do, knowing how to filter that flood of information can be too daunting a task to embark on.

No doubt we have all been there, sitting in front of a screen with good intentions of doing some ‘real’ work, only to be distracted, for undisclosed periods of time, doing nothing of note on the glory of the interweb. Posting, liking, browsing and perusing – life can get cluttered when you are busy doing nothing, surfing the whole day through (that’s one for you Vaughn Monroe fans out there!).

No disputing that webland is full of amazing stuff – but how can one absorb, retain and process such a wealth of data in any meaningful way? Furthermore, how can, as an artist, the Internet best be used to fuel and assist the creative process?

This is the question friends that has plagued me.  So I have had bouts of being rather absent from our digital world, confused and frustrated at the way forward.  Christmas saw the acquisition of a rather pleasurable Tablet, which, is primarily an internet and multimedia viewing machine. It was this that prompted me to re-establish my friendship with the webnet, to actively seek out new sites and new online civilisations and to boldly go where no casual browser has gone before (that’s one for you Star Trek fans!).

So – have I found the golden alixia of WWW fun?  No, but I have made substantial progress and started to find and use some tools that are of particular use to a web-shy creative time waster such as myself!


My first nod is towards the tremendous Pinterest.  I am not sure if it is supposed to be a social network site or a tool for obsessive image browsing netofiles. I didn’t really give it the time of day for a long time (and no, it isn’t because it is branded by one and all as being too feminine!), but within the last week – I have gone Pinterest crazy.

For those who don’t know, Pinterest lets you create themed ‘boards’ of images.  Onto these boards, you can ‘pin’ images from anywhere on the Internet, or upload them yourself, and add a few hundred word comment (should you desire).


Boards can be named and themed, images pinned from the web are credited and you can like or re-pin fellow pinteresters images. Of course, it also has the usual features of following others – getting a feed of images they are posting into their boards and all that jazz.

That side of things, doesn’t really pinterest me – what does is it is a first step to utilising the Internet as a very handy sketchbook. I frequently come across Photographs or Art/images of interest that I want to remember. Previously I scribbled these down into a vast array of notebooks I rarely looked at again.  So I have started to use pinterest instead to catalogue these finds as a personal reference to me. It then acts as a brilliant place to go to for research and inspiration into personal projects.

As a side, I think for art teachers it is brilliant – I have started using it with my Photography students and will let you know the results, but it is looking promising so far.

I think Pinterest for artists is genius and I hope my initial enthusiasm continues.

If you are pinterested, you can see what I am cataloguing at: http://pinterest.com/ourworldmyeye/

The eagle eyed readers might have noticed the little Pinterest widget in the sidebar of this here blog. God bless WordPress.



Flipboard screen grab

This is the first app I have installed that I really use on a daily basis. Essentially, you set it up with the various news, culture and media feeds you want and then it creates a personalised magazine for you. It really is quite splendid.

There are of course a myriad of feeds you can sign up to and I suspect it is easy to opt for overkill and so not actually filter anything out, however, be selective and it really does the job. I got it syncing to my Twitter and Facebook and then to a variety of art & photography blogs, news sites and a few general interest sites.

Flipbook looks and works beautifully, giving you ever changing cover stories based on your feeds. Flip the page to another if none of the headlines grab you – click on one for the full story if you do. I love it – finally I can quickly with fascism, choose what I want to look at in one place rather than having to check numerous sites to get the tit bits I want.

Flipping marvelous. Get the app at: www.flipboard.com


I presume I am the last person in the world to get on the back of this, but I quite like a quick stumble if I can’t think what to do with myself or have 5 minutes to kill. It leads you to a lot of crap, but also points you to some gems you may never normally see. My favourite so far was this gem: www.vatican.va/various/cappelle/sistina_vr/index

YES IT IS THE VATICAN…but it is a zoomable 3D image of the Sistine chapel!

App or web based use, for more info: www.stumbleupon.com



What is really missing for me is a resource to pull all the information I want together and allow me to annotate it.  I have started playing with S-note on the Galaxy Note tablet, as I wonder if that might be part of the answer.  What I really want is to be able to grab images, information, quotes, weblinks, film clips and quickly and easily arrange them, annotate them, link them and combine them with my own thoughts and images.  YES…you could argue that is the purpose of a blog – however, I want something that is basically an artists sketchbook – but a digital one!  I like using pen and paper for a sketchbook, but I never do it as much as I want because so much reference is online and needs printing out first. An online software based approach would be far more congenial, elegant and convenient.

So developers out there – make me what I want and I will be your guinnuepig!

In the meantime, please suggest any sites, apps or anything else that might help me on my quest!

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