new website: cold wax painting
A new website that I created, www.coldwaxpainting.com
, went live last night, almost two years since the idea was first conceived, and a year since actual work began. I've been enjoying all the positive responses on facebook today, and a sense of satisfaction that I can finally share the fruits of this long process.
The origins of this new site go back to a conversation I had in the fall of 2010 with my agent, who suggested that, in order to attract galleries and collectors, I should redesign my artist website to more strongly emphasize my paintings, and remove most of my workshop information and general links. Since my primary focus is indeed my own studio work, this made sense. My revamped artist websit
e was published in January 2011, and I was very pleased with the way it showcased my work .
At the time of these changes, I tossed around some ideas with my webmaster for what I thought of as my second, teaching site, where some of the extraneous information would land. For over a year this remained a “back burner” project, but I did create an online (Ning sponsored) interactive/discussion site
for artists interested in cold wax medium. Excitement about painting with cold wax medium began to grow and spread quickly, for various reasons I can only speculate about, and I received many requests and inquiries from people looking for information—an instruction book, tutorials, teaching videos, a website--none of which were available, at least to my knowledge. Workshops taught by myself and other artists began to answer this need to some extent, but obviously, only for those able to attend.
The Ning discussion site seems to have been a good idea (to date there are over 1600 members from around the world) but along with its positive features (artists can post their work, ask questions and engage in commentary with each other) there are limitations (discussion threads get buried, beginners may find it hard to jump and figure out how to navigate and learn, no organized categories of information. ) To serve the ever-expanding community of artists
interested in cold wax painting, a central source of well-organized information was needed.
My busy life seems to have kept me from focusing on writing a book or producing tutorials to meet this need--and the truth is that my interest in conveying purely technical information is limited. But the idea of a website focused on painting with cold wax medium gradually began to make sense to me, and one that would include more than just technical explanations. A clear vision for the site though, took about a year to emerge, which surprises me in retrospect. But the truth is that I started with an unorganized collection of material that had come from my original art website, prior to its revamping, a scattering of ideas with no strong, unifying concept. Not exactly a recipe for a great website, but a beginning at least (a bit like the beginning stages of a process-oriented painting, when I think of it!) It took feedback from my friend Janice Mason Steeves
last spring to make me realize that the site should be focused clearly on cold wax medium.
Several intermediate phases came after those initial efforts, until the site arrived at its present, published format—it was a work in progress and it took some time to form my vision for what I wanted it to be. Like a painting, I guess it had to evolve in its own time. My intentions finally became clear due to some insights I had shortly after returning from Ireland (gaining that distance was helpful.) Once I came to that point --see my last paragraph for details--I had a strong guiding idea. The final changes that were needed became obvious. So I emailed my ever-patient web designer with ideas for the changes, and the last stage of work on the site began, with weeks of re-organizing, editing and proofreading, and soliciting material from other artists. I had a final meeting a few weeks ago with my web guy, and more tweaking ensued. So many hours have been devoted to this project that I can hardly believe it’s done!
One last step remained, which also went live last night—a facebook page
that I created in conjunction with the website. This is a place for ongoing commentary, discussion, notifications of workshops, and anything related that anyone wants to post. It will function in a similar way to the Ning site, but because facebook is now so popular and familiar, and people engage with it so spontaneously, this may prove to be an easier and more popular format. (The Ning site will continue as well, since so many people have connected there—plus it archives discussions, notes and blogs and provides a live chat function.)
And what is my vision for the site? I want it to be exciting, active, evolving, to feel like it has an open door. Although I have an obvious presence on the site as its creator, I want it to be for and about everyone who is interested in learning about cold wax medium , and I am actively soliciting contributions of information and experience—links, information, instructor contacts, articles, websites, tips. Because I believe it will serve everyone involved, I also hope that those who find it useful will make a small donation to help pay for the cost of creating the site and the updates that will appear over time (there is a donate button linked to the Contact
page, along with instructions for submitting articles and other additions to the site. ) Thanks in advance for everyone who visits and engages with the site!