Art showing in Duluth, GARead More
I'm participating in this year's North Georgia Art Ramble and would love to have you come to my studio during this event. There will be plenty of art available for purchase from my framed glass, to framed paintings, and matted-only paintings. This just might be a great time to buy a loved one original art for Christmas :)
Be sure to check out more details on all of the wonderful artists participating in this year's event at the North Georgia Art Ramble site. There you can download a map with all of the participating artists and locations. Here is a direct link to a printable brochure and map.
The event is December 7-8, 2013 10:00 am - 6:00 pm. I would appreciate it if you can help spread the word!
If you happen to be in Chattanooga this Friday (11/23/2012) then come by River Gallery which is in the Bluff View Art District. Cher will be doing a demo of pulling hot molten glass out of a kiln using a technique called vitrigraph. She will be doing demos from 10:00 AM to about 4:00 PM. Below is a video we did of her doing this a few years ago. Pretty cool to what, or maybe hot to watch :)
Keeping an art site updated with fresh material takes time and effort which is hard to come by these days. I have not been attentive to Cher's art site the last 6 months and have been thinking about better ways of doing so. I maintain two community web sites and migrated those sites to the Wordpress platform late last year. Doing so dramatically reduced the amount of effort required to keep those sites updated. I figured the same approach could be used for Cher's site.
I had a couple of goals:
- Easier method of updating galleries
- Removal of flash galleries to enable mobile viewing and improve search engine optimization.
- Easier method of styling the site
I use Lightroom, and have for years, as my photographic catalog and post processing tool. Lightroom has a plugin architecture that allows all manner of crafty people to extend Lightroom capabilities. I've used SlideShow Pro for a few years to generate Cher's galleries. The only downside is I have to manually upload all of the generated files and the more interesting galleries are Flash-based which I want to eliminate. Also, it takes a good bit of work to get the styles in alignment with the web site.
I'm using the NextGen plugin for Wordpress to manage the galleries on the site. It is a powerful plugin and that in combination with a Lightroom export plugin designed for NextGen makes it super easy for me to select and then upload images to appropriate web site gallery with just a push of a button. Once the galleries have been set up and the display pages created then any image updates in the future takes no more than minutes to complete and it is all automated.
NextGen has full capabilities for displaying images from the NextGen galleries but they didn't not have the look or behavior I wanted for her site. I found a plugin called ScrollGallery that is designed to work with NextGen galleries that did the trick. Between the configuration options and the ability to hand tune the CSS used by ScrollGallery, I was able to get the gallery displays working within her gallery pages. ScrollGallery creates non-Flash galleries so these galleries can be viewed on an iPhone and other mobile devices.
There is a huge Wordpress theme industry out there and the number of themes available is truly mindboggling. With that said, there is a wide range of quality and capabilities available to you. Two primary needs I had was the ability to create custom menus and with a responsive design. Responsive design means the theme adapts to the display device or at least degrades in a manner that does not make the experience miserable on a small device such as an iPhone. This is probably where I spent most of my time, trying different themes, both free and purchasable. Oh, another consideration was the control you have over color. Cher's art which is typically shadow boxed in white looks best on a dark background. Many themes have limits on how much control you have over color, unless you want to crack open the CSS files and perform major surgery...
In the end I settled on a theme called Pilcrow which had a "dark" flavor which worked well. I did end up making some changes to the CSS to get better control over fonts and spacing of some elements but all in all, it worked pretty well out of the box.
There is a lot more I could talk about as there are a number of other plugins I use to help with search engine optimization, creation of RSS feeds via FeedBurner, security plugins to harden Wordpress against attacks, and I'll probably comment on those in an upcoming post. One note, it is amazing how often Wordpress sites are hit by nefarious people trying to gain access. If you use Wordpress, change the admin account name and put in a login lock plugin. I see 2 - 6 attempts to crack into those other two sites I maintain each day. Proper hardening of your site will protect you from those attempts.
Feel free to look around Cher's new site and if you see anything a bit off then please let her know via the Contact menu link. This roll out of the Wordpress platform for her site will allow her to keep content fresher so check back often to see what's going on!
So, which one do you think the customer picked?
Lots of fun activities for the whole family during this event and you can learn more at the Barefoot In The Park website.
Cher has been lost in painting for a little over 4 weeks now and geez, just look at all the wonderful work!
It amazes me to see the amount of creativity and art that flows from her. Not much to say other than wanted to start the new year off with a view of what she's been up to and we can't wait to get 2012 fired up!
Cher has been disappearing on me. Where, oh where, has she gone? Since converting the room above the garage into a painting studio she has been holed up in there for days upon end. I keep checking on her, keeping her hydrated and fed. She is in the zone, a creative and productive place.
She has been creating a great body of work and I just love seeing the process and what the results look like. What a gift to create as she does and seeing it happens just amazes me.
Well, now we have all this new work and it is getting a bit crowded around here. If you have a hankering for some original art then let us know. Perfect time of the year, I think, to purchase original art for a loved one. A few examples of her latest work below:
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Since the holiday season Cher has retreated from the cold and snow by slinging slinging paint. She has disappeared for days upon end. It's all good, the end result is a new body of work. We also discussed providing prints of her work. Though her career has been on providing original art, she does feel that offering reproductions can expose more people to work. So, we worked over the last few weeks to create a store for this purpose using Etsy. Please visit her Etsy store at http://www.etsy.com/shop/cheraustin.
Each original work was photographed at the highest resolution possible using a wide color gamut. This ensures each reproduction has the full range of colors found in the original art. Color profiling for each step of the process results in accurate color reproduction. Each piece is printed on a fine art matte paper with a texture and feel that is similar to the original art. Most prints are 8" x 10" though larger sizes are available by contacting Cher directly.
The Aurora Theater in Lawrenceville, GA (click this link for more information) has been providing residents with fine performances for many years. In addition to the great art they produce they have long supported visual arts. Each month they have local artists show their work in the lobby areas of the theater.
Cher was asked to display her work through the month of October and we finished hanging yesterday. A special treat is that Cher is displaying not only her glass work but a selection of paintings. I encourage all of you to attend a show at Aurora and experience the magic of theater. I think you'll find the Aurora productions to be performances you will not forget. Again, check out their site here for more information about shows and events.
If you happen to be in the Chattanooga area be sure to visit River Gallery in the Bluff View Art District. We are excited that River Gallery is now handling Cher's work. Bluff View Art District is perched on the bluffs overlooking the Tennessee River and is a wonderful location for dining and viewing fine art.
River Gallery is housed in a turn-of-the-century home with wonderful open archways separating exhibit rooms which showcase an extensive collection of regional, national, and international fine art and craft, including paintings, sculptures, and studio art glass.
If you are looking for a fun event that involves seeing a variety of great art, delicious hors d'oeuvres, live music, and an art silent auction. Cher will be there with her work and will have a piece of her art in the silent auction.
What: Arts At Twilight
When: July 10
Time: 6:00 PM
Information: Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at the event or from the site below.
More information can be found at the Duluth Fine Arts League web site.
I hope this post is somewhat educational and shows the vast amount of information available from web analytics. It has been interesting to see the far ranging locations that come to Cher's art site. Web analytics provide a rich set of information related to site visits. A few interesting facts from Cher's site over the last 12 months:
- 22 - most visits in one day (this has happened a number of times)
- 4.41 - average pages visited (the gallery counts as one page though all images may have been viewed)
- 57% - percentage of views that are from new visitors
- 28 - number of countries visiting from. Most from the US but others include Canada, UK, Netherlands, Germany, Russia, and even Slovinia.
- Las Vegas - second in hits only to Georgia. This location in Las Vegas has been hitting Cher's site every day for over a month now for prolonged periods of time.
These high level stats are available with tools such as Google Analytics. Other tools are available to dig even more deeply into site visits. The Las Vegas visits were interesting since they visit for long periods of time each day for the last month. Doing a bit of research I was able to determine not only the IP address of those hits but even down to the house in Las Vegas. I was surprised that this details is available from site visit data.
If you are an artist and are not currently using analytics in your art site then I suggest that you should. It will provide a wealth of information and could help you understand how your online activities drive traffic to your web site.
Thought you might be interested in seeing the glass flowing out of the vitrigraph. Take a look at this short video.
Very toasty in Atlanta these days as well as Cher's studio. The heat has run her out of the garden and she is staying holed up in the studio. Some fantastic work is popping out as you can see below.