A long-delayed return

Meditation on Painting

Many things have happened since I began, and then almost abandoned, this site. I have been working on writing throughout 2018-19, getting several books of memoirs and short stories ready for publication. Next year I plan to start painting in earnest again.

I had almost forgotten I had this site. My first WordPress theme for the site, Qua, was a bad choice in the first place. The difficulties in making it work meant I no longer enjoyed even trying to develop it.  The problems were a function of the design of the theme as much as of my inability to understand it technically. I am still not sure this one is a good theme for me either. WordPress has several new Portfolio themes which might work better. Part of the problem is to decide whether or not I plan to sell from the site. I think, probably not. I am looking into online gallery alternatives such as Blue Thumb.

This theme looks elegant and minimalist but offers familiar forms of editing and layout.  I also keep a hand-written journal – more than one in fact – with sketches and small photos and ideas, and that will probably play a major part in the further development of my work. If it ever happened that I was satisfied enough to want to sell paintings/drawings, I would go back to Artwork Archive which for a modest but still significant annual fee allows you to keep track of everything happening with the work you produce.  I subscribed for a while but after being forced to leave my Leichhardt studio and deciding to throw out many of my early paintings there wasn’t much point in continuing with it. If it ever happens that my work becomes worth cataloguing or even selling, I will go back to it. Check it out here. This is an example of how their pages look. You can keep location and sales information, exhibitions and shows entered and even generate reports using a fairly simple and intuitive software platform. I like it so much I’m sorry I don’t have enough work to put on it!

Artwork Archive piece detail for easy art inventorying and management.

In upcoming posts I will update where I am up to and put up some examples of recent work, some work in progress, and musings and thoughts about other artists who have recently intrigued and fascinated me.


More on developing the site

It has taken months to get to this point. Spending two or three hours at a time, and working across several different sites each with different characteristics has allowed some forward movement. More than anything I am struggling to get the set-up of the pages as they are written to appear in the same way on the actual site and I have come to the conclusion that you cannot. No matter how many times you resize images and move text around, when you come into the site from the search engine it never has the layout you have spent hours trying to set up.Why can’t WordPress offer a WYSIWYG design?

However I have gone this far and rather than abandon the site altogether as I originally intended  I am now going to focus more on getting the portfolio aspects to work. But I fear again the options are just too limited. I thought it would be possible to put grids together for each set of images, with space for commentary against each one.  This is clearly not how it works.

My writing sites, both based on a free WordPress template (2014) work like a charm, so if you are in the early phases of setting up your own site, maybe that is a better option even though technically that format doesn’t seem to have a portfolio element. But I could be wrong about this.

Another idea is to sign up for an Art Archiving service. Again, it involves expense, in this case an annual fee. But you can put all your paintings on it, and track where they are, whether any have been sold, prices and such.  Plus I think there is a facility for commenting on the paintings. More on this soon.wordpress-art-portfolio-themes1

Managing a Portfolio site

Creating a useful and intuitive Portfolio using WordPress is much more difficult than I imagined.  My art-writing site, a “standard” WordPress theme, is so much easier to manage than this, a paid theme (“Qua”) which I chose for its supposed display abilities and ease of management.


Apart from the fact that the images do not reproduce in clear high quality colour good (as compared, say, to Blogger sites) it has been so difficult to manage the construction of the site. In part managing WordPress sites anyway is difficult but it is also due to the limitations of this theme, which are not made clear in the demo. It will take a lot more work to get this site anything like up the standard I hoped for.  Apologies.

Here’s what it claims:

Change background and header images, add a logo, favicon, tweak color, create custom menus, pick custom fonts and add widgets.

How do you change font size in the Header area? It’s far too small. Maybe you can do it by going into the html code, but if you’ve never done this before, how do you do it?  Things like that.

Anyway, will keep on trying.  Would rather be painting though.

Painting Place and Memory

The link between vision and memory offers a powerful way of thinking about why painting matters.  For many years I have been fascinated by the way painting brings forward the eternal return: the spaces that remain around  and enfold our human experiences, so transient and ephemeral.  Technological modernity has  fundamentally changed the experience of space and time. Photography and film  have transformed the visual world which now surrounds us with random excess.  But painting has the power to take some of that world back.  In my recent art practice I have moved between the vividness of the brightly coloured world and the sober nostalgia of a monochrome past.

Prawning at the mid-tide
Sketch: Prawning at the mid-tide c. 1932.

On the About page I have described in more detail some of the projects I have been working on, linking painting and photography. I have also been developing a site specifically related to photography for my art practice. Some of these photographs are available on my Image Field site here:  http://annettehamiltonimages.wordpress.com