We have addressed most of my navigation issues with A Better Website – The Plan. In this post I would like to address specifically the part of the website for paintings or portfolio and the artist’s Bio.
The Paintings /Portfolio
Questions I asked myself:
- Do I want to sell off my site?
- Do I want to direct buyers to a Gallery?
- Do I paint in many genres?
- Do I paint in series?
When deciding how to organize my portfolio on-line, I needed to consider how I work. I think that this part of the site would best be served using a sub-menu. Paintings page can be sub-divided/organized in any number of ways depending on genre, series, recent/past or time line (by year). Each section will have a bunch of thumbnail images.
For now, I am debating whether to do a Recent/Past sub menu or to start using a breakdown by genre – landscapes/architectural/small paintings (with a block of the most recent at the top). I am leaning toward the latter.
Suggestions – If you paint in only one genre, a suggestion would be to organize based on past and recent work. Perhaps that one genre is broken down by doing series. A series could be a particular place, person, the sea, etc. If you work in several genres, for example, landscapes, portraits, still life, abstract, etc, you may want to organize by genre. A retrospective could be broken down by years.
Once the organization is done, the next question is do I want to sell? In my case, I am going to start small – meaning sell small paintings off the site. I want to experiment with the concept of selling off my site in as low risk a way as possible for both my patrons and myself to start. I plan to use PayPal and only sell paintings under 8×10 and possibly some greeting cards and see how it goes.
I plan to post the prices of every painting on the site and provide contact information for myself or the appropriate Gallery for the larger pieces. I don’t want to miss a possible sale of a larger painting, even if a direct method is not where I am ready to go quite yet!
The Artist Bio
The last menu item I want to address here today is the artist Bio. The typical things that one might want to put onto the Bio page include professional memberships, awards and collections – but – at least for me – that’s the easy stuff! Writing a coherent and brief story about me as an artist has proven hugely difficult. I expect that the one that now lives on my website will go through at least one more version before I am satisfied. For me there are the formal things to consider – the Bio and the Artist’s Statement. I have written successful grants in the past and in saying that – there is no right or wrong here. The way to separate these is best determined by use – so the formal way may not necessarily suit you or your website unless you are using your website as a vehicle for submitting grant/curator information. For me, the Artist’s Statement is reserved for a series or a collection of work. If one is prolific, this may not be a good use of space in your Bio.
Suggestions -The Bio is the place for the ‘back-story’. Who, What, When, Where, Why, How. I believe in being brief – but not too brief. You need a little space to tell your story – what makes you unique. In reference to Clint’s post on the Outside Zebra that makes Purple Cows that become Blue Monster’s, your Bio can help you communicate to people how you became a Zebra in the first place. Get the facts down, but don’t forget to add the ‘story’ element, the part that makes people want to read the whole thing and feel that they have learned something about who you are and why you paint. Sometimes it is a good idea to let someone else write it for you – they may see you as special in a way you take for granted in yourself. Don’t forget – you are evolving, so your Bio should as well. I review my Bio annually. It is painful every time though!
So that finishes the navigation and content plans for the site. Hopefully this will make the website a better support to my efforts to market my art and check off the third goal on my January 1st New Year’s Goal List! The CSS structure of the website is finally coming along – so well, in fact – that I expect that the site AND the new blog for small paintings, including a new painting or two will be up by the end of the month! I am very optimistic that things will stay ahead of schedule. After all of this is implemented, we’ll look at checking off another goal, albeit an ongoing one – with a post or two on how to get the word out, so to speak – social networking and on and off-line marketing! I am headed to a workshop on the subject next week.
Hopefully these posts on Goals and A Better Website have proven useful to my readers – if so – that’s another goal well on the way to being accomplished….!