Painting How To: Putting Together a Website

watercolor of neptune's statue, statue watercolor art

Click Picture to Purchase: “Neptune’s Statue, Malaga Cove Plaza, PVE”

These days you need a website to exhibit your work, to communicate with others, not only potential clients, but jurors, students, galleries, other exhibit venues, and the general public.

The matter of a putting together a website is important for every artist to know a little something about. There are specific things you should know before you set up your website, things I wish I’d known, things I’ll share with you so you won’t make mistakes!

Do your homework! Find out how other artists selected a domain name and set up their website. They most likely had someone help them. Find out who helped them and what they paid for this service. In addition to initial set-up costs, you need to budget on-going costs for updating and maintaining your website.

I rushed into this without doing my homework and made some stupid mistakes.  Not knowing otherwise, I engaged someone to acquire the domain name for my website, rather than doing it myself. This is not to say you shouldn’t get someone to show you how to do this or actually pay them for doing it. But you actually need to make sure YOUR name, not theirs, is listed as the owner of the domain name. This means you need to pay for the domain name yourself! By paying my helper, unknowingly, they became the owner of my domain name and consequently the owner of my website. This dumb thing later came back to haunt me when they decided to shut it down!

Once you’ve identified someone who’s also competent with handling the ongoing management of your website, make sure they’ll continue doing so. Though the people I used did an excellent job both designing and managing my website, within a year’s time they closed their business and gave me the name of someone else who would managed it. Unfortunately, this person turned out to be incompetent: he couldn’t spell, write, or proof, and he was a lousy businessman. I spent hours correcting his mistakes.  Eventually, I was forced to find someone else, but in the process, I lost my website!

I was soon able to find another, much more competent, website manager. Her clients were artists, galleries, and various art associations, so she understood what I needed. She was also smart enough to copy my website before the other guy shut it down.

In short, when selecting a website designer and/or manager, get some references (An on-line resource like Angie’s List™ can be helpful here), then follow them up. Also, identify someone who’s accessible, not too far away, someone you can meet with beforehand when you sign an agreement for their services. The following are some other issues you need to consider when setting up your website and updating it:

(1) Price all your artwork and update these prices at specific intervals to reflect the progress in your career.
(2) Update images shown on your website to indicate they have been sold, but that prints of these images are available.
(3) Update exhibits and awards, your bio, and the names of galleries you’ve arranged to permanently represent you.

All this information needs to be current for timely and proper exchange of information with viewers. If you’re not able to do this, the value of your website is greatly diminished.

Douglas Stenhouse also wrote a book about watercolor painting.

“I decided to write about how I paint, not only to share my observations with others, but also, frankly, to do some self- examination. I wish I had done this earlier in my life! But then, how was I to know I’d benefit from doing so, certainly at a time when I had no aspirations of becoming a professional artist.” 

To learn more about Doug’s Watercolor Painting Book, click here. To purchase a signed copy, use the link below.


Douglas Simms Stenhouse, watercolor artist, transparent water color art, watercolor painter, painting with water colors