Eye Candy for Today: Peder Mønsted woodland interior

A Woodland Stream, Peder Mork Monsted landscape painting, oil on canvas
A Woodland Stream, Peder Mørk Mønsted

Link is to Wikimedia Commons, which has a high res version of the file. The original was sold through Sotheby’s in 1987 and is presumably still in a private collection.

As far as I can tell, the majority of Mønsted’s paintings seem to be in private collections. He is one of my favorite painters, based solely on seeing images of his work; I’ve never seen an original in person.

If anyone is aware of Peder Mønsted paintings in public collections here in the U.S. (particularly on the mid-Atlantic states), I would love to know about them.

 
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“Secret Life of Trees”, Dina Brodsky

Secret Life of Trees, Dina Brodsky
Dina Brodsky is a painter and miniaturist who I have featured previously on Lines and Colors.

In July of last year, she embarked on a project to draw 126 individual drawings of trees, each with its own distinct personality — tree portraits, if you will — starting with the drawing shown above, top, and ending just a day or so ago with #126, shown above, bottom.

The drawings are done primarily in ballpoint pen, an under-appreciated variation on pen and ink that has it own character, notably in allowing for a degree of softness not always evident in traditional pen drawing.

These are done on differing papers, some with noticeable texture, and are sometimes augmented with touches of gouache or watercolor.

Her range of subjects covers many varieties of trees, and their related root systems, each given a portrait-level definition of character by Brodsky’s keen attention to their variation in form and texture.

Brodsky expanded the scope of the project by reaching out to her circle of friends, family and acquaintances to provide input in the way of tree stories and photographs of particularly fascinating trees.

I was pleased to participate in a small way by providing photographs of a tree in my area that were used as reference for the drawings shown above, second and third from the bottom.

The series can be seen on Brodsky’s website, along with her statement about the project.

A large selection from the series will be on view and available as part of a solo show at the Bernarducci Meisel Gallery in NYC entitled “Secret Life of Trees”, that runs from September 8 to October 1, 2016. There are also two portfolios of the series on the gallery’s website, for available work and sold pieces.

The show is concurrent with a solo exhibition of works by her sister, artist Maya Brodsky, who I have featured in the post previous to this one.

 
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Eye Candy for Today: Pieter Claesz Peacock Pie

Still Life with Peacock Pie, Pieter Claesz
Still Life with Peacock Pie, Pieter Claesz

In the National GAllery of Art, DC, with zoomable or downloadable image, also downloadable image on Wikimedia Commons.

It’s interesting to compare this large (30,51inches, 77x129cm), sumptuous still life to a similar composition in the collection of the Rijksmuseum that I featured previously, Still Life with a Turkey Pie.

I love the reflections in the pewter flagon.

 
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10 years of Lines and Colors

10 years of Lines and Colors
Today marks the 10th anniversary of my first post on Lines and Colors, on August 22, 2005.

My initial intention for the blog — which you can read more about here — is still basically the same: to introduce my readers to wonderful art and artists that they may not be familiar with, or to point out something of interest about more well-known artists.

The artwork I feature is in a broad variety of genres, but tied together by two common factors — I personally like it, and it’s more or less within the traditions of representational realism. Other than that, as I’ve always said in the blog’s capsule description, if it has lines and/or colors, it’s fair game.

You can see some of the range of genres in the “Categories” listing in the left hand column, and below that, in the “Archives”, you can still read all of the posts I’ve added over the past ten years. (Well, almost all — I still need to restore about 10 posts from July of 2013 that were “misplaced” when I moved the blog from one server to another — it’s constantly a work in progress.)

My most popular single post to date, at least in terms of response and comments, has been “How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web“.

The images I’ve selected above are meant as a small sampling of what you may find in the archives.

It has always been my hope that those interested in a particular genre of art — like traditional painting, plein air, art history, comics, concept art, fantasy art or illustration — would be drawn to Lines and Colors to pursue their area of interest, and through it discover wonderful art in other genres that they may not have sought out or encountered otherwise. I see that aspect of what I’m doing as an attempt to gently counter the ever-increasing fragmentation of art interests on the web.

In the 10 years since writing my first article for Lines and Colors, the resources for art images on the internet have expanded dramatically, most notably in the form of major museums, such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Smithsonian and the Rijksmuseum, posting high-resolution images from their collections online; the appearance of remarkable resources like the Google Art Project; and new online destinations for illustration, comics and concept art.

Originally, my posts were short, and the images single and small, and I actually worried that I would run out of “favorite artists” to write about. Today, after more than 3,400 posts (not quite a post a day for ten years, but pretty close), I have an ever-growing list of potential topics to get to — that may actually be longer than the list of already written ones.

There’s more to come!

-Charley

 
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My turn as a painter/blogger

Chaley Parker painting
Back in 2005, the year in which I began writing Lines and Colors, I reported about an artist from Virginia named Duane Keiser, who had the year before begun a practice of painting a small painting every day, posting it to a blog titled “a painting a day” and placing it up for auction on eBay.

It seemed a unique thing at the time, and as far as I can establish, Keiser was indeed the originator of the practice.

In my article, I remarked on what a great idea this was, and how I wished I could emulate the discipline. It promised the kind of advancement as a painter that only regular painting can provide, aided by the incentive of selling the paintings as they were done.

The following year, I reported on others who had become “painting a day” participants, like Karin Jurick, David R. Darrow, Shelly Grund, Elin Pendleton and, in particular, Julian Merrow-Smith.

Over the years since then, I’ve watched and reported on the burgeoning of the “painting a day” phenomenon, although it has become so widespread and generalized that the term has lost much of its meaning, and I now tend to use the more general term “painter/bloggers”.

This is a practice in which hundreds of artists, at all levels of experience, are painting and posting their work on blogs and connecting with buyers through online auctions, PayPal payments, Etsy shops, group sites like Daily Paintworks and other means of direct sales — either bypassing or supplementing the traditional gallery system.

After following this for some time, and having gradually brought my own painting practice somewhat up to speed, I’ve decided to jump in and try it for myself.

The regimen of painting every day remains appealing, and the idea of selling the work makes it more likely I will adhere to the practice and hopefully will allow me to devote more time to painting.

What I’ve learned and decided so far.

I’ve tried to observe some of the best practices from those who have been doing this for a while; and as I begin my process, I’ll try to make occasional reports on Lines and Colors for those who might be interested in what I learn.

I’ve also tried to follow my own advice in my article on “How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web” and the follow up series on “How to Display your Art on the Web“.

So far I’ve established a few things that seem basic and essential, and I’ve also made a few decisions to vary from the mainstream.

Though I endeavor to paint every day, my goal for posting finished paintings will not be “a painting a day” but a more modest one of two small paintings a week, which I will try to post consistently on Mondays and Wednesdays. [Addendum: I’ve changed this to Mondays and Thursdays.]

Chaley Parker painting  blog

The blog

Like most painter/bloggers, I’ve created a blog, on which I will post my paintings as I put them up for auction.

Unlike many, however, I’ve decided that on that blog I will only post paintings, and not water it down with posts about works in progress, studio photos, the new brushes I just got, the weather, or any other topics not directly related to the paintings. I will continue to insist that the home page of a website, or the top of a blog’s home page, should always be aimed at the first-time visitor, not those familiar with the site who are returning.

For the design of the blog itself, I’ve deliberately chosen a dark neutral background, as I think it shows off the color of images to best advantage. Many painters without design experience don’t realize how much a colored web page background, that may seem appealing for the blog itself, can compete with and detract from the presentation of their work.

I’ve made a point of dedicating the sidebar to introducing myself, and describing the intention of the site, the size, medium and support of the paintings, the process, and my policies for selling and shipping the paintings. I’ve also made sure to provide a contact email address.

The current painting will appear at the top of the page, and visitors will have the ability to click on the image to view it large, or click on a link to view or leave comments. Comments will not only add interest for those visiting the site, but hopefully provided informative feedback on the paintings.

Chaley Parker painting  on eBay

The auctions

I’ve chosen to use eBay for the auctions, primarily because I already have an account and there is no upfront expense as with the Daily Paintworks auctions.

Most of my paintings are 5×7″ or 6×8″, and in keeping with the kind of size-based scale I would apply to gallery pricing, I’ve decided to set their auction minimums at $100 and $125, respectively.

I’ve also decided to limit my auction periods to 3 days, though this is one of the elements of the process of which I’m least confident, so it may change. [Addendum: Yes, changed to seven days.]

On the blog, I’ve provided a consistent line below each painting on the entry to show the painting’s status: At Auction, Available or Sold, and a clear link to the auction.

There will be an archive of past paintings, sold or otherwise, and a page for available works that are not at auction. Paintings not sold at auction will be priced at what I would consider gallery minimums at $200 for the 5×7″ and $250 for the 6×8″.

Contact and promotion

Near the top of the blog, I’ve included a sign-up for a newsletter, by which those interested can receive an email notice whenever I post a new painting.

For this, I’ve chosen to use MailChimp, which allows you to create and manage an email newsletter list for up to 2,000 subscribers and 12,000 emails per month for free.

I’ve created a new email address, specifically for contact through the painting blog.

I’ve created a new Twitter account, @CParkerArt, specifically for announcing paintings as I post them. I had to log out of my Lines and Colors Twitter account to create the new account. I’m using TweetDeck to manage multiple Twitter accounts now that they’re established.

I’ve also given the blog some basic search engine optimization (more on that later) and I will probably leverage my ability to place an ad on my own general topic blog (i.e. this one) to perhaps send some visitors, and some “Google love”, to my new painting blog.

Waiting

One thing I’ve decided to do differently than most painter/bloggers is to delay posting the paintings for several weeks.

Common practice is to post a painting as soon as it’s done, hot off the easel, so to speak. This, however, means that the purchaser, whether direct or through an auction process, must usually wait several weeks for an oil painting to dry enough to be shipped.

At the risk of appearing out of sync with the seasons, particularly as they change, I’ve decided to wait three to four weeks for the paintings to dry, and then apply a light coat of retouch varnish — with another week for that to dry, before posting the paintings and putting them up for auction.

This will allow me to ship the paintings as as soon as the auction closes. I’ve tried to weigh the the plusses and minuses of both approaches, but if I buy something, I’m much happier when I receive it sooner rather than later.

Varnishing

My decision to varnish the paintings is as much a desire to even out the painting’s surface appearance as to provide protection. I seldom use medium when painting, so even though I’m using a very high quality paint (more on that later), passages in which I’ve used thinly applied chromatic blacks in particular (e.g. Alizarin plus Viridian or Ultramarine Blue plus Burnt Umber) can look flat or “sunken in” compared to more thickly applied areas of brighter color.

After a bit of research, I’ve decided to use Gamblin’s Gamvar synthetic resin varnish, thinned with odorless mineral spirits (OMS to varnish 5:1), to act as a retouch varnish. This can be applied much sooner than a final varnish as it allows the paint to continue to dry. A light coating of this also has much less gloss than a full coat of final varnish.

Photographing the paintings

Unfortunately, I can’t say I’ve arrived at a completely satisfactory method of photographing the paintings. I’ll go into more detail on what I’m doing in that respect in a future post.

The start

I’ve been pretty consistent in recent weeks with painting every day and finishing two small painting each week. I’ve just posted my first painting (above, top), which was painted at a nearby state park several weeks ago (with a few finishing touches in the studio).

Progress reports

I’ll try to occasionally report on my progress here, as I learn what works for me and what doesn’t.

Of course, I’m always open to comments or suggestions from others who have engaged in the process.

It’s all about learning.

 
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Preparing images for the web

How to Display Your Art on the Web: Part 6

[This is part of a series of articles for which the introduction and list of articles is here. If you haven’t read the introduction yet, it would be helpful to read it first.]




Atoms to bits
Unless you work digitally, in order to get your artwork from the easel/drawing table to the web, it needs to be translated from physical atoms to bits of digital information (as Scott McCloud points out), i.e. photographed or scanned to a digital image file. That file will then be used to create the final resized and compressed image file that is displayed on your site or blog.

If you work digitally, you probably know a good bit of what’s in this article already, and can go surf YouTube while the rest of the class catches up.

Photographing your work
This is an area were I don’t have a lot of personal experience, as I largely work digitally, but there are many resources on the web (and in print) from “those who know” (see my list of resources below).

You’ll find some conflicting information here and there, particularly in terms of digital vs. film. If you’re preparing a portfolio for galleries, many of whom still want submissions as transparencies (slides), then slide film is the obvious choice. You’ll still have to scan the slides for the web, which requires a slide capable scanner; and it may be just as easy, if not easier, to take an alternate set of digital photos at the same time, specifically for the web.

Hiring a professional
You may want to take a stab at doing it yourself, but be critical. If you can’t get the results your work deserves, consider hiring a professional photographer. Find one who lists the photography of artwork specifically as one of their specialties. There’s a big difference between photographing a cute, drooling baby and a painting of a cute, drooling baby.

Scanning your work
If you your artwork is flat, on paper, illustration board or the back of a napkin, and is small enough, you might consider scanning; but for good results that don’t require a lot of color correction, you’ll want a graphic arts quality scanner (or access to one). Even though images for the web are prepared at low resolutions, scan at 200 ppi or better to give yourself some leeway. It’s always easy to scale down in image editing software, you can’t scale up. If you’re scanning for print too, scan at 300 or higher.

Again, try it with what you have, but be critical of the results and consider the option of a professional service bureau if the scans don’t look right. I turn off all the scanning “helpers” and image correction options, scan as raw as possible and do any corrections in Photoshop.

Image editing software

Once your artwork has been converted from atoms to bits, you may need to make adjustments to the color or straighten off-square photos or scans; and you will certainly need to use image editing software to create the final resized and compressed image files for display on the web. (Plus you always need something on your computer that will let you put the President’s head on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body to amuse your friends.)

Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard professional image editor, if you have that and know how to use it, you’re ahead of the game. If you don’t have it, Photoshop is expensive (around $600) and can be more than you need to simply prepare a few images for the web; kind of like buying a Porsche Carrerra to drive to the train station. (I know, you told your wife/husband that a 2-seater would save on gas.)

If you are a full or part time student anywhere, you are eligible, as I advise the students in my Flash classes, for academic discounts that make things like Photoshop remarkably cheap (about the price of an upgrade package). Academic software is the same as the commercial versions, but it has some restrictions, (can’t be upgraded in the future, requires that you wear horn rimmed glasses and a pocket protector). See this description of academic software from About.com. Beware of cheap software scams in this area. (i.e. all those emails you get promising Adobe Photoshop for $29.95!) As a teacher, I can also get the real discounts; when I use them I usually buy from Academic Superstore. You have to produce proof that you are a student or teacher for the real academic discounts, but part time and continuing education classes usually qualify (and it doesn’t have to be art classes). Talk to the coordinator at the school.

Photoshop Elements (Mac & Win) is a lower priced (around $100) consumer version of Photoshop without the gee-whiz, super-duper, hyper special pro features (that let you put the President’s head on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body and make it believable enough to fool Associated Press). You can read a comparison of the two on Graphic-Design.com and a review on CreativePro.com.

GIMP (The GNU Image Manipulation Program) is a free, open source image editor for Mac, Windows and other platforms, that some genius programmers with too much time on their hands created on all those Friday nights when they didn’t have dates and Stargate SG-1 was in reruns; and is in some ways comparable to Photoshop (and in many other ways, not). Installing and using it requires a degree in particle physics and a black belt in computer graphics, but it’s very capable (and pretty amazing for free software). Again, despite having the “right price” it may be the equivalent of using a bulldozer to turn over your backyard garden (which, granted, can be fun) because of the learning curve. It will also let you put the President’s head on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body and make believable enough to fool USA Today (not that that takes much). See the description on Wikipedia. Some other geeks have spent their Friday nights putting together GIMPshop, a modification designed to make it more like Photoshop and easier to use.

Graphic Converter is a Mac only shareware application ($40) that is the universal can opener of graphics applications. It has an amazing ability to open and save in almost any image format known to man and computerkind (and some that no one’s ever heard of). Graphic Converter has good basic image editing tools and you can try it as long as you want for free, (but you should pay the modest asking price if you keep and continue to use it).

iPhoto® is the image cataloging application that ships free with iLife® as part of the Mac® OS X® computer® operating® system® from Apple®. It has basic image editing tools that may be sufficient for prepping your images for the web.

Windows Photo Gallery (Wikipedia description) is basically Microsoft’s version of iPhoto, and also has some basic editing tools. Previous versions were called Mocrosoft Picture It! (Wikipedia description). Like all Microsoft applications, to use this application you must click on a button to agree that Microsoft owns your immortal soul, and all reproduction rights thereto, in perpetuity and in all media, physical, electronic and ethereal, in current use, yet to be created, or ever to be imagined by the mind of any sentient being in any plane of existence. Other than that, it’s free.

Paint Shop Pro is a Windows only image editor that has its adherents and detractors. I mention it because it’s popular and relatively inexpensive ($60), and in some ways more powerful than Photoshop Elements; but take the “Pro” part with a grain of salt. If you’re a “pro”, you use Photoshop. See the description on Wikipedia.

About.com has a couple of handy lists: Free Photo Editors for Windows, and Free and Budget Photo Editors for Mac. Turn your sound down and be ready to duck the annoying talking ads for SitePal.

The big list. Here’s a long list of available raster graphics image editors from Wikipedia, most of the items are linked to more detailed descriptions. More than you ever cared to know about.

There are also some online image editors. The idea seems kind of foreign to me and I don’t know much about them, but who knows?. Here is a list of free Online Photo Editors from ExtremeTech. If anybody has tried these, let me know how you like them.

What’s the format, Kenneth?

Web browsers can generally display three kinds of images, news, comics and por… er, I mean GIF, JPEG and PNG. They all use some method of compression to reduce the file size of images so they can be transmitted over the web without taking a week to download.

GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) can be pronounced with either a hard or soft “G”, but the originators of the format say choosy artists choose “jif”. GIF was the original format back in the early days, when the web was 5 steam-powered computers hooked together with Radio Shack speaker wire across the MIT campus. GIF is really only suitable for images with a limited color range (256 colors) and flat areas of color. The GIF format can produce images with a small file size and can be good for some things, like simple, flat-color comics, typography and cartoons of the President’s head on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s body.

JPEG (Joint Photographic Experts Group) is pronounced “jay-peg”. JPEG images are by far the most common image format on the web, and are usually the format you will use to reproduce your art for the web. They support the full range of millions of colors. Used correctly, JPEG compression can compress images to to a remarkable degree without losing apparent image quality. Used incorrectly, it can turn your images into a grunky mess that looks like the cat threw up in your digital camera.

JPEG is a “lossy” compression method, meaning it throws away image data that the algorithm has determined you won’t miss; kind of like your wife cleaning out your studio when you’re not home. If you compress a JPEG too far, however, or re-compress an existing JPEG, you can wind up with dirty looking “artifacts” in the image. This is where is pays to have an image editor that gives you a preview, like Photoshop’s “Save for Web” feature, that shows you an approximation of how your image will look as you choose the compression level. You want the smallest file size possible without seeing any artifacts – dirty, squarish roughness in areas of the image (see the JPEG image above with the compression level of “10”). The stronger the level of compression, the lower the file size; but also the more image data that is thrown away. Always keep copies of your original files; and let your wife know that you really did buy 2 copies of Uncanny X-Men 96 on purpose.

As a general rule don’t re-save a JPEG as a JPEG; create a fresh one from the original file. Re-compression throws away more image data. JPEG’s that are originally saved with minimal compression, however, like those from a digital camera, can be used to make new JPEGs. Not much image data has been discarded. JPEGs saved for the web, though, are generally “pushed to the edge” and compressed as hard as possible without looking bad; re-saving those will make your images look like spoiled peaches.

PNG (Portable Network Graphics) is, the originators insist, pronounced “ping”, though you will hear “pee en gee” in certain circles. PNG images combine some of the characteristics of GIF and JPEG. Like GIF they are a lossless image format and support transparency. Like JPEG they support the full color range millions of colors. The main disadvantage is that their lossless compression method is not as efficient as JPEG’s lossy compression, and they make images with larger file sizes for the same level of apparent image quality.

The emails were right: size matters

Image size
In addition to file size you need to be concerned with image dimensions. You will need to determine how your images will display within your interface design, and how much room you have in your design area, before you resize them and save them out as final files for the web. I’ll be covering the design of online galleries and portfolios in a future post.

Once you know how the images will be displayed, you will probably be making more than one version of each image. Depending on your gallery design, you might be making:
a thumbnail and a full size image,
a thumbnail, medium size preview image, and full size image,
a thumbnail, full size image and jumbo, extra large, Grade-A, hi-res detail image,
a cropped detail close-up,
and/or all of the above.

If you’re clever and persistent, and not doing anything on Friday nights, you may be able to figure out how to have your image editing software save out several size versions simultaneously, for an entire folder full of files, using batch processing.

Resolution, or dpi and ppi, FYI, QED
Resolution in print is measured in “dots per inch” (dpi), or “lines per inch” (lpi), and on the computer is measured in “pixels per inch” (ppi) (or pixels per centimeter for those of you in the rest of the civilised world). While this matters in print, or when scanning or working in Photoshop, image resolution does not matter on the web. What matters is the dimension in pixels.

If a 2″ by 2″ (5cm x 5cm) image has a resolution of of 100ppi (i.e 100 pixels per inch), it will be 200 pixels by 200 pixels. If the 2″ image has a resolution of 300ppi, it will be 600 pixels by 600 pixels. Both of those images will print at the same size, 2″; the higher resolution one will have more detail.

Web browsers, however, are rather narrow-minded and don’t understand or care about image resolution. All they understand is dimensions in pixels. So the first image will display much smaller on screen than the second. (Unless you learned “new math” in the 60’s, in which case 5 images + 5 images = 12 images.)

This concept is made additionally complicated by the fact that computer monitors can be adjusted to display at different resolutions, so “pixels per inch” is actually a relative term. When someone says “on the web it’s all 72 ppi”, they are referring to a default resolution.

Monitors come in different sizes. 1024 x 768 is the default resolution for a 17 inch monitor, and it’s 1280 x 1024 for 19 or 20 inch monitors (with other varistions for “widescreen” monitors). If you have your own monitor set to a higher resolution than the default, it will display more pixels per physical inch, and images will appear smaller onscreen to you than they might to other computer users (and vice-versa if you set your resolution lower than the default).

If you get lost, try a bit of the cake that says “Eat me” (hmmm… or is it the bottle that says “Drink me”?)

Putting it in the browser

OK, you digital artists in the back row who were surfing YouTube can pay attention now.

Embedding images in HTML
Images aren’t actually “in” the HTML page the way words are, they are “referred to” by the IMG tag, which basically tells the browser “Go get this image from this location and stick it here in the page.” The IMG tag can also tell the browser what the size of the image is (in pixels by pixels), which helps the browser leave a place for the image while it’s downloading so it can render the page faster. You can artificially force an image to display at a different size this way, and some HTML editing software will give you the impression this is a fine thing to do. It’s not. It will make your image display poorly. Prepare your images at the size they will display, and don’t trust advice from strange HTML editors to whom you have not been properly introduced in the course a chaperoned social occasion.

Displaying images in Flash
If you are preparing your images for display in a Flash-based gallery or slideshow, save them out as JPEG images, compressed just as if you were going to place them directly in a web page. Dedicated image editors do a much better job of image compression than Flash does. Flash won’t re-compress an imported JPEG unless you tell it to. Flash is considerate that way.

“Protecting” your images

You can’t.

Clever tricks that don’t work very well
Many people try various tricks to keep their images from being easily downloaded, like disabling right-click with JavaScript, placing a transparent GIF over the image in a CSS layer, putting the image in a Flash file, adding a sound file that screams “Don’t touch that!” whenever someone chooses “download image”, etc. They can all be gotten around in one way or another. All of them, in fact, can be defeated by simply using a third party screen capture utility (which is why, of course, all software from companies with less than a $4 billion market cap should be illegal, or at least that’s what Steve Ballmer tells me).

Watermarks and other ways to ruin your image
I should be clear here that by “watermark” I mean a word or symbol, sometimes partially transparent, that is laid over an image in an attempt to render it useless to someone who wants to download and “repurpose” it. The problem, of course, is that this also renders the image useless for showing your artwork as anything but a hideous, insulting joke. You can also choose to display your images so painfully small that they have the same results. See my rant on “How Not to Display Your Artwork on the Web“.

Bylines and credit markings
On the other hand, marking your image with a small, innocuous signature or byline, crediting you as the creator of the image, perhaps with a copyright mark and/or listing your web site’s URL, is a fine idea, as long at it’s done without making your image look bad. If you’re going to be displaying your images against a known background color and you are comfortable that the color won’t change in the future, you can add an additional band of that color to the bottom of each image (by adding to the “canvas size”), and add your byline there without intruding on the image area at all.

Keep it in focus
Unless you’re putting your images up for the benefit of your mom and Aunt Joan (it’s so lifelike!), your purpose here is to have the images on the site present the best representation possible of your work. That’s the end goal for all this fuss. As Fernando sez, you want them to look mahvellous!

Next: Gallery and portfolio design

Resources

Photographing your work
A Short Tutorial from Art Link Swap
How to Photograph Artwork from The Artists Web (images missing, still useful)
List of Resources on Photographing Artwork from Catherine Jo Morgan
How to Photograph Art from Dallas Arts Review
Photographing Your Artwork by Russell Hart and Nan Starr (Amazon link)
Other books (Amazon)
Photographing Small Paintings for “painting a day” blogs from Jeff Hayes

Scanning your work
Scanning Artwork from The Artists Web
How to Scan Artwork from Treelight Studios

Image editing software
Photoshop (Adobe: Mac & Win) (Amazon Mac & Win)
Academic software dicsounts – info from About.com
Photoshop Elements (Adobe Mac & Win) (Amazon: Mac & Win) Comparison on GraphicDesign.com
GIMP, description on Wikipedia, GIMPshop
Graphic Converter
Paint Shop Pro (Win), description on Wikipedia
Free and Cheap Photo Editors for Windows and Mac, (About.com)
Big list of raster image editors from Wikipedia
Free Online Photo Editors from ExtremeTech

Formats
JPEG, GIF and PNG on Wikipedia
JPEG artifacts and Pitfalls of JPEG Compression on About.com

Resolution
DPI and PPI Explained on tildefrugal.net
Display, Printing, dpi and ppi on Photo.net

 
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