Monday, August 30, 2010

Professional Site from Accomplished Wildlife Artist

Mark S. Anderson's website, is clearly professionally designed. The home page animation, which cycles through several of Anderson's works, is very well done, and the small changing painting in the upper left corner of each page is a nice touch. I particularly like the design of the buttons in the Online Gallery section.

The site,, gives the impression of an established and successful artist... a big plus for someone selling work to collectors and conservation groups.

I'd like to see somewhat larger pictures in the Gallery to really appreciate the detail in Mark's paintings, but I understand the concern many artists have about unauthorized copies being downloaded. (I'll be talking about this issue in a future post.)

Congratulations to Mark on a very attractive and professional site.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Traditional Site Provides Extension Information for Artists and Collectors

The Oil Painters of America website has a traditional feel that complements the group's mission - the preserving and promotion of representational art. The site has over 100 pages of information about the organization, its programs and activities.

There is little art on the site, other than the montage of paintings on the home page. However, the site has powerful database search capabilities, allowing visitors to find members and the galleries that represent them.

The design is attractive and professional, but there are few frills:  the focus is clearly on content and services.

This is a great example of a site designed to provide extensive (and easily located) information and resources for a large community of artists and collectors. 

Visit the site at

Monday, August 16, 2010

Back to Basics: a Clean Site makes Effective Use of Web Technologies

Derek Gores is a mixed-media collage artist. His cleanly-designed site,, is a great showcase for his work. It has all the features we expect from an effective artist website: clear navigation, info on the artist, upcoming shows, and commission & purchase information. There's a nice video - sort of a visual artist statement - showing Derek and his work.

There is a Flash animation on the home page of the site which gradually zooms out over a couple of Derek's work, showing how the detail coalesces into the finished piece. The Artwork gallery makes use of JavaScript and CSS to create a neat visual pop-up effect. Derek's site uses web technology (video, Flash, and JavaScript) to enhance the visitor's experience, without getting in the way.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A Major Museum Website

As a change of pace, this week we're going to look at a major museum's website.

Over the weekend, I visited the De Young museum, in San Francisco's Golden Gate Park. The museum is currently hosting and exhibit called the Birth of Impressionism, with pieces on loan from the Musée d’Orsay.

The home page of the museum's website ( gives a rotating view of current shows and programs, in addition to links for other shows. The pull-down menus are the top allow the visitor to find information about the museum, its permanent collection, educational programs, membership, current exhibitions, and even parking. There's a lot of information, but it's generally well-presented and easy to find.

Pictures of artwork set the tone and entice the site visitor, but the website is clearly intended to present information, not display the museum's collection online.

Once I clicked on the link to learn more about the Birth of Impressionism show, I was disconcerted to see that the top menu bar changed. The new navigation links provided information about the exhibition, tickets, group visits, sponsors, etc, but it was not immediately clear how to get back to the main menu (to find parking information, for example). This problem could have been avoided by adding a secondary navigation bar for the "exhibit" related choices, without replacing the main navigation.

Overall the museum's site is well-designed, attractive, and functional, as you would expect from a "big budget" site... but it's clear that even major sites sometimes make basic usability mistakes.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Simple Slideshow Engages Visitors

Dana Levin's website,, has many of the same features we've discussed in previous weeks:  a design that complements the work, simple navigation, multiple gallery pages, coming events, and information on buy the artist's work.

But designing the "home page" - the first thing a visitor sees - is always a challenge.  You got one chance to engage the visitor and draw him into the site.   Dana's site uses a very simple slideshow, consisting of five images shown in rotation, to show multiple examples of her work.

There's nothing fancy or high-tech about Dana's approach...  a bit of Javascript changes the image every two seconds.  But it adds interest to the home page and gives the visitor a better taste for Dana's work than an single image could.

Visit Dana's site and enjoy her "Contemporary Realism" paintings.

In future weeks, we'd like to present "must visit" resource sites for artists. Please Suggest a Site!