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Instagram

The trials and triumphs of staying at home

By Instagram, New ventures, Talking art

Here we are at the end of April all settled into our ‘staying at home’ routines. To ‘zoom’ has become as ubiquitous as to ‘google’ and 2kg dumbbells are probably selling on the black market for prices you’d normally associate with precious stones!!

I think I’ve finally mastered the art of the Instagram live. There have, however, most certainly been some technical hitches. I lost a couple of recordings and had to redo them without an ‘audience’ which was horrible. You might think it doesn’t make much difference as I can’t see anyone anyway and there’s even less interaction when I turn off comments, but I imagine you all in the room with me which is more of a boost than I can tell you.

The first hitch came about because the internet was properly rubbish and I kept cutting out which was irritating but I couldn’t do much else. The second was a killer because it was my fault… my camera memory was too full to save the recorded ‘live’ once it was finished. Imagine! You could say that I was unimpressed. It actually led to my only mini isolation meltdown to date. I can highly recommend the soothing qualities of a jigsaw in these situations. This one was a collage of photos from a beautiful holiday with some girlfriends from last year so every so often I’d find a piece of one of their gorgeous faces and get misty eyed all over again. But the jigsaw worked its magic – and kept me up until 2am.

Mistakes and meltdowns aside, the thing I love about human nature is the way we adapt. I can’t be the only one to have been wondering what the world will look like for the next few years. I’m guessing, for example, that I won’t just be able to waltz into the National Gallery with a group any time soon. I can’t really process this if I’m honest, but I’ve started to do the next best thing which has been to think about an online offering. It can’t just be about replacing a gallery tour, although I’m happy to get online with you and do that if you’d like me to, but I feel that it has to offer something a little bit quirky. I have a plan. It’s in gestation but I hope that by the time I’m writing my blog next month you’ll all know about it.

So, let’s keep on keeping on but allow ourselves to get excited about all the wonderful innovations that are blossoming because we’ve had to do things differently. It’s really rather inspiring when you get the technology right.

Elevenses with Lynne

By Instagram, Talking art

Every time I write a blog entry I wonder whether I’m going to have anything to write about the next month. Will anything exciting happen? What if it doesn’t? Just a few short weeks ago when I was writing about my first podcast experience, I had no idea that the next entry would be written in semi isolation or that pasta and toilet paper would become semi-precious items.

Man alive, these are crazy times, aren’t they?

Given that the National Gallery is currently closed, it feels almost cruel to mention the Titian exhibition, but ‘Titian: Love, Desire, Death’ sparked a frenzy of activity in me that I am grateful for in ways I couldn’t have possibly imagined. It’s only three months ago that, out of an unfeasible fantasy (mine), the idea of making videos was born (my friend’s). See my post ‘Making movies (in my kitchen)’ for the progression on that one!

Anyway, if the exhibition hadn’t excited me enough to make videos exploring the works, I wouldn’t have the equipment that I have today to make little videos, and without the little videos, I very much doubt that I would have come up with the idea of ‘Elevenses with Lynne’, an Instagram ‘live’ born out of our strange new circumstances that I’ve started doing every Monday and Thursday.

Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this but I feel as though I’m flying by the seat of my pants. I’ve done two now and I’m learning all the time. There haven’t been any major incidents so far apart from a mini melt-down joining my own chat the second time round:

Me (my brain): Oh, I’ll put my phone on ’do not disturb’ in case someone calls or I get a flurry of messages whilst I’m online.

Me (my brain): Where’s ’do not disturb’? Oh yeah, done!

Me (my brain): Right, deep breath, here we go, get on line… the bloody ‘stories’ button isn’t clicking, damn, damn… oh, here I am, good. Right, go to the bottom of the screen, scroll across, where’s the ‘live’ button? WHERE’S the ‘live’ button? OMG WHERE IS THE LIVE BUTTON? What have I done? Is this what I did before?

Me (my brain – another part of it): It’s 11am, it’s 11am, it’s 11am, it’s 11am

Me (my brain): Okay, start again, no, I’m sure it’s in ‘stories’, is it in ‘stories’, THINK. WHAT DID YOU DO BEFORE?

Me (my brain – another part of it): It’s 11am, it’s 11am, it’s 11am, it’s 11am

Me (my brain): Oh no, people are going to join and I won’t be there and they’ll all go away and they’ll think I didn’t do my ‘live’. Where is that butt… oh, wait, has it got something to do with putting the phone on ’do not disturb’? Let me try that.

Me (my brain – another part of it): It’s 11am, it’s 11am, it’s 11am, it’s 11am

Me (my brain): Where’s ‘do not disturb’? Okay, there it is, switch it off. OMG, stories button won’t work again, oh it works and…..

Me: Hello! Good morning!

So, folks, the takeaway from me this month is don’t put your phone on ‘do not disturb’ and try to go ‘live’ on Instagram because it doesn’t work. The ‘live’ thing works in so many other ways though; technology is wonderful when you know how to do it, and my goodness, we’re all going to learn quickly.

The green screen, by the way, is also being put to good use. I’m planning a video a week which will be posted on the gallery and media page. It’s not the same as being in a gallery, of course, but it has it’s merits; not least of which being that I can re-take and edit, unlike another platform, mentioned above.

And in a second, ‘by the way’, I don’t have any worries about not having anything to write about next time. Covid-19 will ensure that we have a new experience almost every day I should think – just in ways we could never anticipate!

The photos are screen shots taken just after my panic. Don’t I look relaxed?! You can see the full ‘live’ which is all about St Sebastian on my Instagram feed.

Making movies (in my kitchen)

By Filming, Instagram, Talking art

My kitchen is now masquerading as a film studio for half the week. Seriously, I have lights, a green screen, microphones and a big sturdy tripod with a bracket for my phone. It’s hard to open cupboards, the fridge is out of bounds and if I turn on the gas hob it’s likely that something will either catch fire or melt. But a challenge is a challenge and this is a challenge!

I had the crazy idea to start filming at home at the end of last year when the gallery made it clear that they were less than delighted with me coming over all Sofia Coppola in their hallowed halls. I get it, and I certainly don’t ever want to fall out with the National Gallery, so you won’t see me there with a microphone any time soon. At around the same time, I was chatting to a friend about their upcoming exhibition, ‘Love, Desire, Death’. It will bring together six Titian paintings that I adore and, as such, I was waving my arms around excitedly and gabbling about going full on crazy cabaret in reverence to them… I wanted to write a show, and find a location, and make it award winning and completely fabulous.

After a deep breath (it may have been a sigh) my friend said:

‘You’ve got three months until the exhibition opens, have you started this project? Umm, it’s quite big!’

‘Well, not exactly. Actually, no’

‘Okay. Well, maybe scale it back a bit? How about making a start with little videos about the paintings for your website and social media?’

Eh voila!, the plan was hatched. Six paintings, three videos a painting, all launched into the world to a strict timetable at regular intervals with the last video planned to coincide with the opening of the exhibition in March. I had three weeks to get ahead of myself – until I got ill and spent two and a half weeks staring at daytime television with glazed eyes and my mouth open!

So, fully recovered, this has been my regime for the last two weeks: research, write scripts, film, edit in paintings, edit out the bits where I’m going ‘durrrr’ (thank you dear editor, these videos would be absolutely rubbish without you), fiddle around with Instagram and YouTube on the appointed day until they have been successfully posted. Do it all again. Thanks to my January cold I am only filming a week ahead of each launch date… eeeeek. It’s a bit stressful and ridiculous and huge fun and immensely satisfying.

I am, by the way, thinking of making a full length feature film of the f*** ups. Believe me, there are enough of them. The photos are stills of yet another take biting the dust!

Anyway, if you’d like to see the fruits of my labour, head to the media and gallery page. Goodbye gallery films, hello green screen. It’s a brave new world and I love it.

Insta-fear and fabulous friends

By Friends, Instagram

A couple of weeks ago I did a crazy thing. I ran an Instagram competition for two free places on a tour. I sent out the details which were set to increase my followers, and went off to Pilates. As I rotated and stretched and engaged my pelvic floor I imagined my phone giving a little ping every so often, a comforting affirmation that many people are as interested in my art tours as I am. And so when I fished my phone out of my bag at the end of  the class, I maybe wasn’t expecting the response…

Two people. Well, three if you count the person who replied before I went into class.

Honestly, I’m laughing now that I thought this call to action would trigger if not a frenzy of activity, then at least a steady trickle. The thing is that I am pretty new to both marketing and Instagram so I only had 62 followers as a starting point; OF COURSE I wasn’t going to be flooded. Beyond the Palette is my passion and even though I put my all into creating and conducting great art tours, everyone has a life of their own and stuff to do and frankly no one is just sitting around waiting for my latest social media post to enliven their day.

So, I put out an SOS to friends. Can I just say how much I love you all? People who didn’t even know they were on Instagram (until they were reminded) got involved and the net result was that I doubled my following. But more importantly, the solidarity and support and sheer wonderfulness of not only close friends but of my wider support network completely blew me away. Thank you.

The irony is that the winners couldn’t come in the end but I’ll arrange another date. Support like that deserves to be rewarded.

By the way, the group photo is from that tour, guess which one is my Mum?!