Taking pictures of art and displaying: it is a challenge

What happened to all good themes on WordPress.org?

Oh well.

I’ve been sitting at computer way too long. As I told before, I don’t have a better theme on my website right now for a very silly reason: I just couldn’t find a good one. It seems almost impossible.

All of them look great as demos.

Once I started to adapt them to what I want, I ended up seeing that:

one page themes don’t work;

with all kinds of fancy stuff overloaded themes don’t work;

completely plain and totally flat themes don’t work, so on and so on. I tried 8 themes, lost money on one, and here I am: with the same 2017.

I decided to leave it as is because while I was doing my theme adjustments, I worked as a slave for two weeks, 14 hours a day and that was affecting my life and everything else I had to do.

I am going to Latvia, but prospects traveling without cash are not very attractive.

Joining the Daily paintworks

I finally signed up for Daily paintworks where one tries to sell original art, not prints.

It took me five years to decide, and it is rather a desperate measure. All online art sites are crowded and there is a confusing amount of artworks to choose from.

Participation is quite costly, too, so one is pretty much under pressure to sell something.

Well, extremely cheap and tiny art sells well there, but I don’t have anything smaller than 11 x 14 inches. Very few old pieces might be 8 x 10 inches. So, I signed up and one can place only one artwork per day, so I have two paintings there at the moment.

Summer fence painting

Purple variety painting

Once again, I will try to do something also locally which is very unlikely to be a successful thing because this neighborhood is quite dead.

And I will try to sell something also over the internet from this same site.

Taking pictures of art: it isn’t easy

My biggest problem has been inability to capture on image the art as it really is; and this problem is persistent for many years. I don’t think it’s only mine problem. Camera looks at painting differently, and the color balance really depends on colors in painting.

Blue shades, greys and blue green colors look better.

Red, orange and yellow is a huge problem. I have paintings which have a lot of red and I cannot show them online because the color comes out weird, and it is not at all as in my painting. It is usually impossible to bring back the color balance with editing either.

Taking pictures of art in context and with background

I have noticed that watercolor artists use to take pictures of their paintings using contextual background. I started to take such picture of my art intuitively: some 8 years ago or so.

I paid attention very soon to the fact that everything that did not display only the cropped painting image looked fine. I mean, painting regained all natural colors and its good look.

That also gives some idea about the size because it is quite annoying to see how on some sites my very large art is displayed smaller than my small art.

Just placing something next to painting or photographing paintings in a bunch, having some surroundings show behind or taking art picture when it is on the wall, or using for decoration whatever, results in a photo that has all colors well balanced.

Taking pictures of art and displaying online

This particular theme does not allow also displaying everything as I would love to. The featured image becomes too huge, pages are strange: one column is only heading, the actual content becomes narrow and it looks simply silly. I tried to add my own css when doing theme adjustments, so I made the blog posts page larger size, but decreasing the widget area resulted in losing the number of followers. I will have to live with this display for a while because too much editing the theme caused all content text disappearing completely.

I can display on my website my art as I prefer, but when I have to post it somewhere else, it needs to be cropped and possibly edited, but I have noticed if the colors aren’t right, no editing will make that painting look as it is.

Most art looks better in reality. It can be so annoying at times that after taking about 30 pictures of some painting not one is good enough to post somewhere.

My art deals

I will be offering nice deals on my art up to August 19, and I will ship my paintings anywhere, but shipping will be extra. I got in big trouble last year because I was using UPS; and the shipping was costing more (isn’t that insane?) than my paintings I was shipping. I was so upset that I decided not to use UPS again. I’ve been shipping quite large art to Europe just by Canada post and the cost was somewhat ok, it was at least better.

Anyway, have a look at my art and I will also post more exercises for those who love painting with watercolor and are learning and experimenting with sketching and watercolor.

Maybe I should make a specific Facebook page for that? We’ll see how it goes.

I believe pictures of paintings look better in a context and on a background.

It is worth experimenting with that, as well.

14 Replies to “Taking pictures of art and displaying: it is a challenge”

    1. Mine, too. It’s hard to describe how many times I have felt upset when I look at the picture: and it screams colors are totally off, white spots stand out too much and the pencil line which is practically invisible in the real painting, looks dark. I mean, I haven’t published anywhere some good paintings because I have no good picture. Red paintings are the most disastrous. I know, there are filters and similar things, I just don’t have them. I also tried to scan small watercolors, and these were again having way too much contrast. That kind of thing.

        1. It takes a very good equipment. I have extremely good camera, but would still need additional things.

  1. Your artwork is beautiful, but I can imagine how difficult it is to try and capture the realism of it ‘online’. I realize that your options are limited re costs of shipping etc. or shows. Is there for example any possibilities of something like a display of your art at a show… perhaps smaller scale of the CNE. Somewhere similar to the Cobourg Waterfront festival or Country fairs. My sister (who happens to be visiting) lives in Cobourg and she said that there were many displays. Unfortunately it was in July… but are there any fall fairs or festivals that you can participate within the towns/cities around Whitby.
    You’ve perhaps already looked into this type of thing…but for people to see your actual paintings and purchase without shipping etc. would be good….
    Just some thoughts Inese…. Diane

    1. Thanks, Diane! Certainly, it is much better when somebody can see the actual painting, not only a resized image of it. We have some shows here and there. My experience is that anything which is more like a fair with foods and simple entertainments isn’t that great for art. One mostly can sell small and very inexpensive pieces. I don’t have much of very small art. I need reading glasses, but when I am drawing, I don’t use glasses because it feels to me that proportions can be somewhat distorted. That’s why my paintings are usually medium or quite large. That is not visible on the internet, definitely not.
      My ability to participate in shows that are more distant than a walking distance is quite limited. First of all any show is spending quite a lot of money, and due to all my conditions I cannot drive, so, I would always need to hire somebody to drive me, help setting up and taking down the show.
      Besides, the last 4 years, I practically haven’t been anywhere, the previous year was the worst because I could not walk even with support devices for quite long, returning to normal walking is difficult and painful. So, yes, I am very limited with options at the moment still.
      It is dreadful how the trip is approaching so fast, and, no, I did not manage to collect some money to take with me yet. Whatever, I am quite tired of hoping to have some kind of income, it’s just very unlikely when health is not that great.
      I am in a much worse situation than any normal Canadian who is about to retire because I haven’t had any paying job since I relocated from Latvia. That is 13 years with tiny tiny something. I am paying taxes (how ridiculous is that!!!), and buying medical supplies, and that’s all I could afford all these years. I am getting older, too, not the same energy anymore, plus, these meds have really drained me. Still on meds. Seeing the doctor tomorrow. Thanks for taking interest in helping me with good advise!

      1. You have had and still do.. such challenges Inese. I didn’t realize how limiting your mobility is for you. I hope your appointment goes well. Just another thought and that is to really explain to the doctor that the financial burden your illness has caused… I don’t know if you have to pay for some medications but if so…. there are sometimes ways to get help if not from the government…from the manufacturer of the drug … Sometimes they will offer help for compassionate reasons. I don’t mean to be too personal with you or offend you by my comments at all… It’s just that I feel your frustration… Take care … Diane

        1. Thanks Diane! I don’t take any advise as offence, never. Some drugs are covered by OHIP, and there is lots of stuff which simply isn’t. The thing is that manufacturers are actually the ones who have set such insane prices. Most of them are local. Coverage isn’t provided for the newest and sometimes most effective drugs, also no wound care supplies are covered. I simply mean it is scary how I have 3 Masters degrees and only freelance work. Health issues definitely contributed to this because where are you going to work if you cannot even get to the workplace, right? That’s why I have been giving classes, but, quite honestly, that didn’t cover much. Art supplies are very expensive. I cannot even think about putting frames on all works. That type of thing. I will have to restructure. This last episode with health worsening definitely cost a lot of cancelled orders and lots of cancelled medical writing. I just couldn’t. This year is so much better already. I don’t want even to remember the previous year. I feel like I could do something bad to that surgeon. God will straighten that out, he always does. I just have to work more, be more regular with posting, have to advertise more. It’s just so that quite frequently I am feeling not at my best. It is scary, but I will have to manage the situation somehow.

  2. It’s so hard to capture a painting’s essence when viewing it online, even IF and when the colors are true. Even with a calibrated monitor and shooting at 5k kelvin, we cannot control other people’s monitors or their perception. There’s just nothing as good as seeing the painting right in front of you! The good thing is, our collectors are almost assured to be happy because the work looks better in person, than online. Your top painting, the one going across the header is incredible Inese!!! Those blooms POP right out at you, I can only imagine what that painting looks like in person!

    1. Thanks Deb! I was thinking about that. The screens people are viewing art on are completely out of our control. I agree that pretty much every single painting looks better in reality. I have to admit: I have not posted very many paintings online: the photos showed that distant version of the real painting that I didn’t want to show something that much worse. That is true: people who see art in reality always say that the real thing is way better than its image.
      Well, my chances to sell directly are very limited and my chances to get out of this place are equally limited. That leaves mostly online, and here I go again: and online shows only somewhat distorted images of paintings. I wish I was able to show this art somewhere where art is appreciated. Here you tell somebody the painting is 300 bucks and one lady almost got a heart attack. I asked her: do you know anybody who works for 2 months for 300 bucks? Anybody at all? Plus, I need materials ans some talent and skill. She agreed that nobody would work for that little. That’s the reality for me at the moment. It’s not looking too good, but I hope to improve this situation (hopefully!) once I am back from Latvia where the rest of my family is.

  3. To be honest Inese, your images are beautiful. i agree with you about finding the right theme – I am not clever enough to make it work for me. I don’t know why!

    But your work is stunning, and I think the plain white helps to show off the images you have…

    1. Thanks Mary! White for my paintings is better than black because that’s too heavy. Well, I had a theme where I could change background and something slightly yellow-green-grey or similar, but very light works well. I wasted abnormal time because all settings have to be adjusted with every new theme. The look was just bad and even worse than it is with the 2017 core theme. I didn’t send them my question yet, but I adjusted the front page which I want to be post page using some css and it became wider. However, I lost the number of followers since I narrowed the widget area, so on. I was adjusting everything so much that at one point I noticed my posts didn’t have any text anymore. Well, adjusted back and text returned. So, I was disappointed because there are so many themes, but most are business, store, photo gallery, etc. I noticed that my works looked real crowded with portfolio layout, they couldn’t breathe.
      Thanks for your wonderful comment!

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