Cyber Corner

Getting Online

By Libby Kyer

Originally appeared in The Botanical Artist - Volume 16, Issue 2


To quote the inestimable cartoon possum Pogo, “We have met the enemy, and he is us.” I think about this often, when I see our members struggling with technology. What you don’t know about technology can, indeed, hurt you. In nature, lack of adaptive behavior leads to extinction. In human development, not using tools available generally means society suffers. Our Society suffers. It may seem a small thing that we haven’t all embraced computers and the Internet, but ignoring this rapidly changing tool leads to missed opportunities to: sell paintings, further the acceptance of botanical art as a fine art form, research species with current resources, find resources, save money on materials online galleries, and many, many more supportive and inspiring activities.  

Getting online doesn’t have to be difficult. Did you know that you can connect online for email and web surfing using your TV monitor and your cable service? That’s probably the easiest way to function in a limited fashion online. However, since you will more than likely get hooked by the wide world of websites out there, a device such as an iTablet or Blackberry phone can get you online for email and web browsing in a more portable manner. And a little web book or laptop is a delightful solution, as it allows you to get and send email, create correspondence, manage business and personal finances, create image files for virtual galleries and even create your own website; with a little help and supplies, view online galleries, include your own work in online sites.  

These devices are all available in enough variety to suit even the most terrified beginner. As artists, we’re required to view reality in a close-up observational manner. These skills translate nicely to learning about computers. Classes are available widely, in cities and towns large and small, and online. Even if your DVD player still blinks the same time as the day you bought it, and there is no teenager in the house to fix it for you, you can still learn about computers!  And now is the time for you to leap into this brave new world. Botanical art needs your presence.  

I published a compendium of North American botanical artists in 2008. The research was done in libraries and online, to find quality artwork and invite artists to participate. In the 2 years since publication, the presence of North American botanical artists online has grown exponentially, and that fact will make my next book easier to research with a broader base for inclusion of artists. What if you’re fabulous, but not online? I will miss your artwork, more than likely. There simply aren’t enough published works to make libraries a viable resource now.  

I think the genre needs us to view technology as a helpful necessity. More people will be introduced to botanical art thru the Internet than by any other means in the world. That’s not an exaggeration, it’s a staggering fact. Our genre has a long and important tradition, known for accepting the latest aids in materials, supplies, techniques and reproduction. Each age of botanical art drew from the fullest support of that age. So participating in the technological revolution is not a betrayal of our art, it is the truest form of respect for it. Art on paper needs our help to be art online. Now is the time!