Friday, November 27, 2015

some new ideas for Painting Perceptions

September 15, 2009 by  
Filed under why painting perceptions

I have been thinking of ways to improve and expand this blog. From the beginning I had hoped that eventually it could be a community where lots of people could contribute not just my posts. The comment section is good but not ideal as it lacks the functionality of a good forum site as well as not being conducive to people starting their own posts without going through me first. There are many new social networking tools, like Ning, that could enhance this blog by encouraging more people to post about their artwork, ideas and experience in the perceptual painting world.

My wife is a web developer and knows all the ends and outs of these things (I don’t!) and has agreed to help me to gradually expand into fully featured social networking aspect to this blog. This would eventually allow some sort of forum format and the ability for members to have there own little section to show images of their work, post articles and the like. There would still be the main blog you see now that I would write (but also encourage guest posts) and I would try to keep it as clean and simple as possible in terms of the look and functionality.

I may eventually have some discreet relevant art supply ads to help defray the cost. The Ning program is free if you allow ads (they don’t look too bad – just google ads) which is probably how I would go, at least at first. I am still on the fence about all of this and won’t have the time to start making it for at least another month or two. But I thought I would put it out now to see if anyone might have some thoughts or ideas on this.

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17 Responses to “some new ideas for Painting Perceptions”
  1. I think the blog is great, Larry. You do an incredible job of scouring the web looking for interesting stuff and bringing it to us. Two other places I love are and the smithsonian archives of american art but these aren’t the same kinds of things.

    I do see that as the blog gets bigger, it gets harder to work with. Comments from readers may not always fall in a logical sequence and sometimes you have to do a lot of scrolling to get down to something you want to return to.

    Its a lot of work putting together a blog. I think this is working pretty well. When we see 100 different people commenting, then maybe you need to look at forums. It might be cool to have some kind of social networking thing. I’d give it a try, but I’m not into stuff like Facebook. I can barely maintain the interest in updating my own website much less some page in a social networking site.

    But a virtual world where painters can help each other is something that is upon us. The problem is to keep the focus on a certain approach to painting so that we don’t have to be dealing conceptual artists or performance art. Art News gives that stuff plenty of air time.

  2. Philip Koch says:

    I agree with Dave Marshall’s comments.
    Larry has done a beautiful job with Painting Perceptions.

  3. I think this is a promising development, and one that could make Painting Perceptions a more useful resource. I’ve been a member of one Ning based social network, a plein air group. I’m not sure that Ning offers sufficient control to keep such a group focused. Another model might be the way that the Daily Kos political blog is managed, with multiple authors, etc. That kind of structure might be worth exploring.

    • Larry says:

      Good suggestion William about using the Daily Kos site as a model for how to handle multiple authors, etc. Probably a bit ambitious but as more people start participating here then maybe something along these lines could be feasible. I will talk it over with my wife and see what she says might be done to mimic that functionality — with or without Ning. As I understand it, if you know the programming behind Ning you can customize it quite a bit so that it would be a big departure from the default setup.

  4. Wm. Dubin says:

    I think this is not only a great idea, but a very necessary one, and the sort of thing that if you don’t do it, someone should. Big thanks to your wife for her willingness to help.

    So….. some random, and probably disjointed thoughts I’ve had:

    There are several areas I feel an expansion might go. First, there’s a real need to clarify even such basics as our terminology. I use the term “Realism”, but does it mean the same to you as it does to me? What about all the other’s who believe their work falls under similiar categories? How many forms of “Realism” might there be?

    So I think discussions of something as basic as this might be helpful.

    Next, I feel a real need to get out from the isolation I’ve felt by painting the subjects and in the manner, that I do. What this blog currently offers is a help, but how much further might it go?

    Lastly, under the best of circumstances, I doubt any of us are exhibiting as much as we would like, and in many cases, not with the sorts of art that would compliment what we each do. An out-growth of an expanded blog might even include web exhibitions down the line.

    The lack of any documentation of what is happening right now amongst artists who would easily fit on this blog is rather sad. There should be a Museum or a major gallery doing this job, but none seems interested and I think the reasons are fairly clear. We can accept this, or we can begin the job ourselves, using the expansion to document.

    Any expansion brings with it the problems of attracting a group of rank beginners and want-to-be’s, who simply don’t understand they don’t belong on/in a blog that’s maintaining a high level of professionalism. So far, because Larry has kept a tight control over this, we haven’t seen this happen, so I think what ever expansion might take place, it will be very necessary for it to have the stamp of Larry’s personality, otherwise we will see it quickly over-run and those of us who are already here will leave…… I’ve already seen this happen to other attempts.

    This seems to be fairly open ended… once you start expanding, the expansion will suggest further ways to grow, if the format is constructed so that additions are easy to make, I don’t even think it’s necessary to come up with lists of what to include…. that will take care of itself.

    All this would mean a huge amount of work for Larry (and his wife), so we ought to see if there are things we each can do that would help…. I guess it will be up to Larry to ask for what he needs.

    Frankly, I’m very excited by the potential this suggests, so I certainly want to encourage you to push ahead with it.


    • Larry says:

      Wow, so many good points to consider. First of all, Thanks for the encouragement and positive feedback, it helps feed my drive to make this blog happen. I’ve considered what Wm. Dubin says about the dangers of expansion of this site and they are no small concern. But as David suggests, right now this site doesn’t get enough people posting comments to reasonably expect that adding a forum discussion board would succeed. Seeing a discussion board with only a very few people participating tends to scare people off and those sites often die a quick death. On the other hand there are limitations to the comments format that are frustrating. For instance, currently it isn’t possible to post an image or have more control over formatting/editing. Also, the main drag is people not being able to initiate a conversation/thread or to write their own post without having to go through me first.

      But more of a concern to me is that there are so few communities and resources on line for the more modern perceptual-type painters. There are plenty of academic/traditional/classical/hobbiest centered forums and blogs such as Wet Canvas, Rational Painting, Art Quorum, Art Renewal Center – etc. as well as the more “avante-guarde” NYC art-world blogs like paintersNYC blog But I have yet to find a thriving on line communtity of painters who are more engaged in the type of painting that I have been trying to feature in my posts over the past several months. I suspect that part of the problem is that really good painters tend to be fanatical workaholics and don’t have the spare time to fritter away online.

      But if a site became interesting enough with valuable information, cool people and engaging dialog then maybe we can lure some of these people away from their easels long enough to write a few lines from time to time.
      I have been trying to contact the artists I feature and letting them know I am writing about them. (not always but most) Little by little these people start to add links, tell friends and students, and start to suggest other people to showcase. Hopefully, in time more and more great painters will want to join in the conversations.

      By the way, I can’t claim to have placed tight control over comments other than to delete some obvious spam from time to time. As long as the beginning painters or hobbyists contribute intelligent comments, questions and relevant thoughts I would welcome their participation. However, I did not create this blog to teach, just to expose talent in this style of painting that can otherwise be hard to find. Hopefully these artists can inspire the new and old timers alike. I do want to continue with keeping the focus on perceptual painting and avoid getting into hot-button areas like politics, religion, etc.

      If I do expand this site to include more abilities I will introduce them slowly and sensibly. Liz, my wife, says she can customize it so we only have to use the features we want. Maybe at first I can just figure out a way to add more functionality to the comments to make it better.

  5. Rebecca Harp says:

    Cheers to you, Larry, for having done such a fine job thus far, and i think it is a grand idea to consider expanding into other options despite the risks.

    You might need to consider continuing this blog and developing the other forum site at the same time, however, at least for a little while. Until the other one develops more fully, this blog and its followers is a solid way to lead them there.

    You might want to consider doing a weekly or biweekly post here on this blog simply asking for readers to comment about artists they are thinking about, challenges they are facing, paintings that inspired them, etc as a way to encourage more comments and create a larger launching pad. This could ease the process for you of then suggesting to a reader that they could submit a post on that subject, or eventually directing them to an appropriate discussion on the forum site. A brief post on a regular basis asking painters what they are thinking about. I like Joanne Mattera’s blog for this, those Marketing Mondays, as I tune in each time. She also did a post once simply asking artists to toot their own horn, post their websites. I thought it was great.

    I can already see the amount of work this blog must be for you, but I think the transition might be a little more work in order for you to protect your intentions. I don’t think I speak alone when I say that I would be willing to help in any way I can.

  6. Larry, you are a brave man! It’s no small thing to turn a blog into something more. I applaud your efforts, and as Rebecca has stated, I too would be willing to help. You have done such a fine job thus far. Please let me know how, where, what I can do to help.

  7. Larry says:

    Thanks Rebecca and Alia,

    Rebecca I certainly would want to continue with posting weekly or better to this blog and your suggestion to find new ways to encourage comments and prime the way for an expanded site is a good one.

    When I eventually do get a forum started and lots of people start posting regularly there will be need for some forum moderators, who would help monitor the discussions to prevent spam posting and help chill out any hotheads that might show up. It seems most forums eventually attract a few trolls and other disagreeable types – the nature of dealing with large numbers of people I suppose. I tend to be pretty Laissez-faire as a rule but eventually you will need some authority figures. So, if you are still available to help you might consider trying out that role when the time comes.

    By the way, I am finally seeing some improvement with my left hand injury (all the fingers on my left hand are contracted and have painful swelling after an injury to my fingers back in May) The Occupational Therapy I’ve been getting is finally starting to show some effect. I mention this because it now is less of a pain (literally) to type, so I will probably be much more active than I’ve been.

    However, on a real down side – my best friend, my 11 year old Golden Retriever, just got diagnosed with a large malignant Liver tumor and it doesn’t look too good for her, so I am quite distracted with this and may not be able to devote the time I’d like to this blog over the next few weeks (or how ever long this process goes on…)

  8. Philip Koch says:

    Larry, glad to hear about your hand showing improvement- that’s big. And having loved many four legged family members over the years, sorry to hear about your dog’s prognosis. That sort of thing is a personal tragedy, but emotionally that’s the private world in which we live and it can loom very large. My best wishes to both of you.

  9. olha says:

    I hope you’ll keep posting though. Your taste is what makes painting perceptions stand out from the crowd :)

    • Larry says:

      Thanks Olha! There seems to be a endless supply of great painters out there so I will definitely keep posting.

      TDK, hopefully I can soon come up with something to help fill the void. I may need to pick people’s brains some more going forward.

      Thanks for your thoughts Philip and William, most appreciated.

  10. TDK says:

    Larrys Quote – But more of a concern to me is that there are so few communities and resources on line for the more modern perceptual-type painters.

    Bingo, I am sure there will be a huge need for a PERCEPTUAL PAINTING FORUM… At least I am in hook, line and sinker. Hope it all works out Larry.

  11. Larry – Sorry to hear about your Golden Retriever. It is a hard thing to deal with the serious illness of a pet, and harder still to confront the decisions that this entails. You have my utmost sympathy and condolences.

  12. Larry says:

    After talking it over with my wife I think I will first concentrate on making this blog better, in terms of both form and content.

    I will be thinking of future posts that might be more of a catalyst for people to comment on as well as beefing up the comments capabilities itself.

    When the site grows a bit more I will want to gradually add more features – like a forum. But for now I think that might be premature. The more people link to this site the better and eventually we will get a bigger community that will support a forum more readily.

  13. May I suggest you also look into the possibilities of a membershipsite.

    If you buy an art magazine you have to pay, if you go to a museum you have to pay, so why not pay for this blog? At least some of the content can be put behind a members login only button, for which people pay a monthly fee.

    This is good for the wallet, good for the community feeling, and it discourages ‘tirekickers’.

    I am from Amsterdam, The Netherlands, and I will certainly bring this blog to the attention of my painting friends this side of the world.

    There is a lot of painting going on here as well, but not many people hear about it because of the way the artworld is run.

    So I am happy to see this blog. You’re doing a real good job. But remember that also nice guys still should get paid!

  14. Larry says:

    JanPaul, Thanks for your feedback and suggestions. I have thought long and hard about what you’re saying and I’m working on a way towards having this site eventually be able to pay for itself and maybe even to help pay for travel expenses when I go for video interviews and such. I am currently working on a redesign that will have more of a magazine format and incorporate a forum. I don’t plan for it to be subscription based.

    However, I hope to include,over time, discreet and relevant ads from art supply companies, artists selling DVD’s – workshops, etc. that I think might be a good fit.(high end stuff only!)

    I also want to have a recommended reading section where there will be reviews of relevant art books and allow for comment discussion. All the books will have links to Amazon where if someone goes through the link to buy the book – it will give us a small percentage.

    I will encourage people to buy their books through this means whenever possible. I know that won’t bring in much at first but as this site grows (and it does grow readership each month) I am hoping eventually it will all work out.

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