Your own website

Dear Artist, Just recently Leah Markham joined our staff of consultants at the Painter’s Keys. A professional website designer who has built dozens of websites for artists, she will be improving the worldwide visibility of artists on our Premium Listing pages. This is where, for $100 per year, we build a special page for artists. Currently accessed by thousands of Painter’s Keys visitors, we are looking to build further search engine traffic.

Leah Markham is a website designer and developer. The painting is by her husband Jerry Markham.

From the day in 1999 I first looked at the Internet, I’ve realized what a game changer the medium is. Artists need either a Premium Listing or a stand-alone website — or both. A web presence is a must for marketing yourself, securing and empowering dealers and, for some, the growing convention of direct sales. For a once-only fee of $100, Leah has come up with a useful tool to make your stand-alone website happen. “More and more artists are tackling website design without proper instruction,” says Leah. “Often they become frustrated and give up using their website altogether because they don’t know how to use it to attract visitors. They find it difficult to update, or it lacks the features they really need. I’ve undertaken to clearly show everything artists need from start to finish in one comprehensive package.” Leah has made a 7-hour video (divided into short segments) that walks artists through an easy to follow step-by-step instruction showing how to: Set up your own website in a system that is easy to use and has all the tools needed. Engage with your collectors through email marketing. Sell online using PayPal or Google Checkout. Set up Facebook/Twitter and show how these tools can be used to grow your collector base. Incorporate a blog into your website and how it can be used. Photograph your work and edit images using Photoshop Elements. Incorporate social sharing buttons to encourage people to tell others about you and your work. Optimize pages for search engines to attract more visitors. Utilize website statistics to see who is visiting your website and how that is helpful. Tie it all together to promote your work. While the quality of your art is the greatest determiner of success, Leah’s online video tutorial will show you how to effectively guide people to your work. You can check out Leah’s offer here. Best regards, Robert PS: “Full many a flower is born to blush unseen, And waste its sweetness on the desert air.” (Thomas Gray) Esoterica: Our webmaster Yuri Akuney and other trusted advisors have looked at Leah’s material and found it to be clear, thorough and effective. I found it to be a no-frills, straight-up demonstration of hands-on information. There’s a learning curve, but it’s not daunting. For those who want to inexpensively become a player on the world art stage, Leah’s selected and free tools are the best we have yet seen. The reason for an online tutorial video is the changing nature of technology, applications and software. Unlike receiving a disc in the mail, Leah regularly updates the info so you stay ahead of the pack.   Hop on the train by Adriana Rinaldi, Oakville, ON, Canada  

“Venice Canal”
oil painting, 30 x 40 inches
by Adriana Rinaldi

My art group has a website. We created the website two years ago and now the number of visitors to our site has more than doubled. We have visitors from all over the world and have recently started to connect with Facebook. The power of this technology has never been riper than now. This power propels artists forward in their careers. They just have to hop on the technology train.       There is 1 comment for Hop on the train by Adriana Rinaldi
From: LD Tennessee — Mar 24, 2012

Beautiful painting, wonderful water!

  You’re out there by Susan Avishai, Toronto, ON, Canada  

“Luminous morning”
oil painting, 48 x 46 inches
by Susan Avishai

I’ve had my own website for about 6 years and one of the most fun parts has been periodically checking Google Analytics which is linked to my site and seeing where in the world people are looking at my work. In any one month time frame there are visitors from maybe 30 countries, most of which I’ve never stepped foot in. How have they found me? I have no idea. I know that being a Premium Artist on Painter’s Keys site brings in a bunch of lookers (what a bump I got when my painting was featured on the clickback pages!). But it proves how once you have a presence on the Internet it takes on a life of its own. Robert once quoted something I said in a clickback about drawing being a “frame of mind, a loving embrace.” To my great amusement and delight that quote is now on blogs, leather notebooks, and I even found an exam where the instructor repeated the quote and asked students to write an essay describing what Susan Avishai means by that. Too funny. Having a website and/or a Premium Art Listing means you’re out there. And there’s no controlling it. That’s something to think about. There are 4 comments for You’re out there by Susan Avishai
From: Carol Ann McNeil — Mar 23, 2012

love your painting Susan

From: Lynn Kenneth Pecknold — Mar 23, 2012

I loved looking at your website and your work. Very Inspiring.

From: Susan Avishai — Mar 24, 2012

So here’s an interesting bit of info: yesterday, after the publication of the above comment on Clickback, the hits on my website were more than 10x what they normally are!!

From: Nancy Cantelon — Apr 24, 2012

Susan, I checked out your Web-site. GREAT use of colour and texture:-)

  You need to be committed by Denis Hopkins, Orton, ON, Canada  

“French flacon”
original painting
by Denis Hopkins

I read these letters and responses with great interest. I was quite late before seriously undertaking the study of drawing and painting. Having been persuaded by friends and family members that a website is the way to go, I commenced the process 14 months ago, via the Internet and with my son in PEI as designer and taskmaster. Not easy going. I have had to learn to photograph paintings as well as the computer skills to transmit them via the Internet. I have also learned things about family relationships which I did not understand too well before. So the site is still in the making. My advice is to be committed before starting. My unfinished site is There is 1 comment for You need to be committed by Denis Hopkins
From: LD — Mar 24, 2012

I found the site quite easy to navigate and very well organized… AND the art is wonderful! Nicely done…all of you, lol.

  Leah’s videos informative and well organized by Sheila Tansey, Lake Country, BC, Canada  

“Hike to Robertson Glacier”
acrylic painting, 8 x 10 inches
by Sheila Tansey

A couple months ago I purchased Leah’s set of videos. I’m pretty computer/internet literate as my degree is in computing, but I left that career 13 years ago. A few years ago I decided I was ready to pursue my lifelong dream of becoming an artist. I created a free website and blog – Leah’s helpful art marketing blog directed me to a free website service that is very easy to use and I haven’t looked back! Even new users can create a website and with Leah’s video; she makes it even easier. Leah’s videos are great, informative, well organized. As a visual learner (I remember more by seeing and doing, not reading), I find this extremely helpful and it has given me a “quick kick start” to begin marketing my art online, to the public and to galleries. It’s helped me to do the initial work to get my artwork seen. It is worth it! Now I better get my site on your Premium Listings!   All the bells and whistles by Jolene Monheim, Great Falls, MT, USA  

“Vast sky”
photo manipulation
by Jolene Monheim

I had a website for years that I wasn’t proud of. It was difficult to update with new material, and I kept forgetting all the steps I needed to make to do so. It was not flexible in terms of tracking visitors, or inclusive of social networking features. Then a fellow photographer told me about Using a Lightroom plugin built by Jeffrey Friedl, I’m able to easily keep track of my portfolio online. I built my website in a couple of hours. I don’t currently use the print features that are part of zenfolios partnership in with Mpix, as I make the prints myself, but I really appreciate the interface and would highly recommend it to any visual artist. Had I known about Leah Markham a month ago, I would have used her.   Using both sides of the brain by Suzanne Gaudette Way, Nashville, TN, USA  

oil painting, 14 x 11 inches
by Suzanne Gaudette Way

Great idea! In two weeks I will be done moving around and will get to it. I need Leah’s system and if it works for a non tech like me, I will rave to the world. I’m very pleased with the Premium Art Listing on your Painter’s Keys site and also have a large website administered by a friend. She is wonderful but so busy with her real job that I hate to bug her with changes so having another website that I could create myself and link to sounds like a great solution. Thanks, Robert, for being so right- and left-brained.       Can all flags fly? by Cathy Tokheim, Swea City, IA, USA   Your letter today intrigued me, regarding the setting up of my own website. I have wanted to do just that, for some time, but have no knowledge of it. I am, however, a fiber artist, working with primitive design. Is this information available to all? I know there are other paths to websites but I’ve always been interested in designing my own instead of going by someone else’s template formula. (RG note) Thanks, Cathy. Several artists asked about this. We think a variety of media — quilts, glass-art, ceramics, etc., makes the Premium Listings a most rewarding place to spend a couple of hours. Yes, some people do. There is 1 comment for Can all flags fly? by Cathy Tokheim
From: Daphne Smith — Mar 23, 2012

I for one would be very interested in seeing your fiber art pieces Cathy.

  Where do I go from here? by Adrienne Godbout, Grande-Digue, NB, Canada  

“Peggy’s Cove Road”
original painting, 18 x 24 inches
by Adrienne Godbout

I make and sell about 50 or 60 paintings a year although last year I sold 62 but only made 35 so my inventory is at an all time low — not one painting in stock, everything in galleries and making them and then shipping as soon as they are done. Still, after all that effort, I can’t rely solely on my art to make a living for me and my two girls — I am a single mom since April 2010. So to supplement my income, I’ve had to take a part time job working for Emergency Roadside Assistance at home. I work between 20 and 30 hours a week and dispatch tow trucks all over Canada and the US from the comfort of my home office. It’s convenient, it pays well and the bonus is the fantastic benefits — health, dental, insurance, long term, short term, pension, the whole package which was expensive to pay for as a self-employed artist. So my question to you is how do I increase sales so that I can rely a bit more on my art to live and less as a Roadside Assistance agent? I think I’m going in the right direction and my sales have increased dramatically in the last 5 years so I’m getting there but according to you — do I need more galleries? More work in each gallery? Representation elsewhere than where I am? Am I in the wrong places? I keep my web site up to date and get between 5 and 20 visits per day — which always blows me away. I have taken up space on Facebook and I never thought I would see a difference, but I do… a lot of people have found me on Facebook. So where do I go from here? I’m trying to shoot for 52 paintings this year — at least one per week and so far I’m ahead of the game by a few paintings… I think that alone, should make a difference. Can’t sell inventory I don’t have. And I’ve added one more seasonal gallery — on the Magdalen Islands. They are only opened 8 weeks but sales are good there… we’ll see what happens. (RG note) Thanks, Adrienne. About thirty years ago I asked the same question of a seasoned artist friend. He said, “Do what you’re doing now, only do it more efficiently.” It seemed a funny answer at the time, but now I know it was spot on. Being an incompetent person, I didn’t have a job, but I loved painting and by sheer volume I doubled the number of galleries that handled my work. Blessed are those who happen to make a lot of art. There is 1 comment for Where do I go from here? by Adrienne Godbout
From: Adrienne Godbout — Mar 23, 2012

Thanks Robert, appreciate your comment and I know that you are absolutely right. Blessed are those who happen to make a lot of art. Efficiency is my new moto!!! I’ll let you know how it goes…

  Novel brush holder by Lesley White, Prince George, BC, Canada  

old porcelain brush rest


new brush holder

The porcelain brush rest pictured here is now in the dumpster out back. It’s always taken up more than its share of space on my work table and the brushes roll and slide, sometimes hitting the floor or exchanging paint with one another. Here’s my solution: simple, inexpensive, works beautifully. Fill a plastic container (4″x 4″ pictured) with tiny glass beads. When brush is not in use, stick the handle in the beads. Glass beads (purchased at any craft store) give the holder weight and roll easily against each other accepting the brush handles with ease. It takes up one third the space, brushes don’t move until I tell them to, there’s no problem with colours mixing with one another and haven’t had a brush hit the floor in a while. There are 5 comments for Novel brush holder by Lesley White
From: Laurel Alanna McBrine — Mar 22, 2012

Rice works too!

From: Nancy Wylie — Mar 23, 2012

I use an old coffee cup with pinto beans in it. Works great, and like you said takes little room.

From: Dottie Dracos — Mar 23, 2012

What a great idea! Thanks so much for sharing.

From: Patricia Warren — Mar 23, 2012

I’m a calligrapher, and I’ll use your idea to hold my pens. THANKS!

From: Jim Oberst — Mar 23, 2012

I had the idea that brushes were better left horizontal or with the hair down, not up, to avoid “stuff” sinking into the hair in the ferrule. Is this not true? I just store all of mine horizontally. I glued a “stick” to the edge of my taboret so the brushes don’t roll off.


Archived Comments

Enjoy the past comments below for Your own website

From: Damar Minyak — Mar 20, 2012

Hmmm. Looks like I was the first to read the mail, this morning… Well, this may prove to be a fortuitous opportunity for me. I have been intending to put together a web site later this year, and I will have a look at Leah’s offer. Although I still have no intention of marketing my original panels, I am in the process of selecting for a couple of sets of print offerings. And, I prefer the possibility of internet marketing over the time and tedium (and frustration) of searching for “brick and mortar” locations, and all of the requirements they demand. “Take it directly to the consumer” has always been my intent. I do have these questions: Will there be any “yearly fees”, such as web site rental, or maintenance fees ? If I already own my URL’s, can those be used, or will the web pages be subpages of “The Painter’s Post” as example, or another site ? If set up as subpages, will there be some “qualifications of the artworks offered” ? (Ie: “Juried”) (Or “family friendly”, which usually means “no nudes”) These are just a few of the items that present for my concerns. Seems like a viable option, at first glance. Will definitely be having a look at it. Thanks. ~DM

From: DM — Mar 20, 2012

Now that I’m “coffeed-up”, and have taken a closer look at the proposal, my first questions have been resolved. (When all else fails, read the instructions…) Still looks like a viable option. ~DM

From: Susan Avishai — Mar 20, 2012
From: Doug Mays — Mar 20, 2012

A website is your storefront to the world. So how cool is that?

From: Marta Merriman — Mar 20, 2012

I’m not an artist, but I am an art lover. I frequently browse through artists’ works online and enjoy doing so immensely. I recently purchased a wonderful painting I saw online only. It was so beautifully photographed and presented on the artist’s website that I felt confident enough to ask that it be delivered to my home on approval. It was exactly as shown and I purchased it on the spot. I would never have see it, were it not for the internet. This is a wonderful service you’re offering to talented artists who may be neophytes in the world of internet marketing. Nowadays whatever you are selling, you don’t exist if you don’t have an internet presence.

From: Rena Bierman — Mar 20, 2012
From: Randy Davis — Mar 21, 2012

Robert, I saw you mentioned a bit about “direct selling” of ones work on the web. Could you speak about that in some future letter? I think your website possibilities are great. Thanks for a good place to get started for people like myself.

From: Catherine Stock — Mar 21, 2012

Wow, thanks Robert. I created my website yonks ago but it really needs a makeover. Several people have contacted me offering to get it up to scratch but I like being able to edit it whenever I want. And of course they usually want big bucks so this is perfect for me.

From: Jackie Knott — Mar 21, 2012

Seriously guys, we need yet another distraction to keep us out of our studio? A seven-hour tutorial?! Okay, after that we have our own website and then we maintain it ourselves? I look for ways to delegate my time, not find more responsibilities. There are many talented web designers that can do websites in far less time than we can because they do this every day. Their work is instinctive, methodical, and web design excites them as much as our art excites us. Some things to consider: a 24-hr customer service corporation doesn’t necessarily give you the level of individual response a smaller company will. I made the mistake of reacting to advertising years ago only because I didn’t know who else to contact. The expense was extremely high and just this week I found someone else to do my website for a fraction of the cost. Look around, find a website you like, and contact the webmaster. Sure, I could do this … but our time needs to be devoted to our art. If there is any real value out there today it is time to think, create, promote, and paint: not another thief of our time.

From: Frank — Mar 22, 2012

Just like the millions of videos that get uploaded daily on YouTube, only very few attract more than a few hundred visitors–the friends and relatives of the videoist. This is because most of them are mediocre, miss the point, are too esoteric for anyone’s interest. The same goes for art sites. There are lots of them, but some of the ones with something of exquisite taste or truly unique, high quality art, get noticed and passed around. While promotion, marketing, and media interviews help sites get noticed, more than anything they build a steady following because of some intrinsic quality content. For this reason alone it is worthwhile to put your work out there. As Robert says, “Put it on the anthill and see if the ants run all over it.”

From: Ronald — Mar 22, 2012

The killer app for artist’s websites is to name the gallery or galleries that handle the artist’s work. Most of the art related google searches are where someone types in the artist’s name. If this name is not prominent on a dealer’s site than the connection (and the potential sale) is lost. A website dedicated to one artist, however humble, is going to attract organic hits. If that website can immediately link to dealer inventories, then the artist’s website has done its job.

From: Marilyn Hartley — Mar 23, 2012

Maybe this opportunity is what the marketing fairy is telling me I’ve needed for so long. I’ve been working on designing my own site, actually two sites, but as soon as I open up the mac software, (iWeb came with my macbook), Father Time pokes me in the ribs reminding me I have more urgent things to attend to. I really like what I’ve got so far but I’m stuck in how to continue to the finish. the online manual is 125 pages long otherwise I would have printed it. As soon as I get a breathing space, I’m all for getting some help with this. P.s. Some of my work can be seen on Registry

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Before the storm

acrylic painting, 12 x 24 inches by Keith Wilkie, VA, USA

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