Meditation on painting # 1

artists' websites and website management, journals, painting

I began, and then abandoned, this site, several years ago. I decided to revive it after I  got further with my writing projects of 2018-19, getting several books of memoirs and short stories ready for publication. I thought soon enough I would be painting in earnest again and when I did, I would do something about this painting site. My other sites are pretty well-developed and self-subsistent, even if old-fashioned. This one is the most hesitant and uncertain, in conception and execution.

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 and work in progress, and musings and thoughts about other artists who have recently intrigued and fascinated me.

More on developing the site


It took 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? Or have I just not found it yet? [Note: 2021 – I was still struggling with Qua theme when I wrote this. Then I updated the theme but it’s still limited. I’m looking around for other options now].

I really wanted a good portfolio site. But I fear 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. I am using, not, and don’t have an external server. so if you are in the early phases of setting up your own site, maybe you need to switch to an externally hosted site because there seem to be more portfolio-based themes which you of course have to pay for.  But I could be wrong about this. I might do it myself, but not right now.

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.wordpress-art-portfolio-themes1

Do I really need a portfolio site?


As someone observed a while ago, everybody’s shoelace has a website these days.  Does an artist really need a website? One which contains their paintings and allows viewers to see how they were created or maybe even buy one? Websites are becoming just a kind of background reference thing. But almost everyone does seem to have one.  Creating a useful and intuitive Portfolio site 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  it has been so difficult to manage the construction of the site. 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

Memory, monochrome, painting, Uncategorized

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

Prawning at the mid-tide. Painting in black and white, based on a family photograph from  1932.

I want to explore the between link 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:

More thoughts on this relationship will no doubt emerge as this site develops.