I've been asked by George Miller, who is the blog-meister for The Art League in Alexandria, to answer a few questions about my experiences concerning developing and keeping an artist's blog. The Art League is a very large and active organization, with a big gallery, arts out-reach program, art supply store, and a fine art school. The school has thousands of students, and hundreds of teachers.
Interview for The Art League Blog
Q: How did you decide on the domain name?
Of all the many, many decisions involved in constructing the website, the domain name was the most difficult and frustrating. I wanted something pithy, memorable, distinctive and informative, but not too long. Dozens and dozens of clever ideas were considered and rejected before I resigned myself to the simple but descriptive Nancy Freeman Studio. I actually own three domain names now, because we decided on one, then switched to another, then another.
Q: How do you like Weebly, and what made you pick it?
I've been a computer artist for over a quarter century, and it became a source of professional embarrassment that I didn’t have a website. But now the software is so user-friendly there’s just no excuse. My computer-whiz daughter found the Weebly system, which has a graphic drag-and-drop interface. It’s free for most (simpler)
I constructed a free trial site to work out my concepts and to learn the system.
You don't have to take your site public, of course, until it’s really ready, and
even after that there‘s nothing to prevent you from revising it. Prior to
publishing, other editors can work on it (I had two very helpful people who had
access) and you can invite anyone you choose to view it and offer their ideas.
I found the Weebly program fairly easy to learn and quite
powerful and flexible. It's well thought out and organized, and you can move
fairly quickly once you get the hang of it. Getting the basics up, just like
with a painting, is the most important part. We built some template pages that
could be copied and filled in, and by now most of the design decisions have been
Weebly has been sufficient for all my needs so far,
and if it proves deficient in some area I can add my own HTML code. (I'm not
capable of doing this on my own, but there are some crack “computists” in the
My site is quite large and growing fast, so I
quickly became a paying Weebly member. With my three domain names through
Weebly, maybe I'm even a big deal there, who knows. I do have a little wish list
for future system updates. They seem to be responsive to the issues of their
What's been your experience with
The blog is only one
page on a big website, but it's by far the most active part of the site. I try
to get something up at least twice a week, so it keeps building. I find the rest
of the site tends to get a lot less attention and regular upkeep. My blog
functions as a kind of news update, featuring the latest creations, recent
events, website additions, reviews, and thoughts. Most blog post items
eventually find a permanent home on a relevant page in the website.
main reason it took such a long time to get my site up was not the state of the
technology but the huge amount of content I wanted to put up, very little of
which was really ready for online presentation. Getting the pictorial content
decided on, photographed, re-sized, color corrected, organized and written
about is the time consuming part. I envision a time (possibly a fantasy) when
all the functions and systems are in place, all the major written pieces are
done and polished, the bugs are worked out, and I can use the time to fully
populate the sections and update the art. And maybe even do the
You need to start with some idea of what
you want to accomplish with your site or blog, but your vision can evolve
considerably as you go through the construction process. That process itself was
immensely helpful in shaping my thoughts about what content I should include and
in what way, and to a certain extent in crystallizing the purpose of the site.
My plans for the site are quite ambitious, but some aspects are more pressing
than others. Getting the Apps for Artists section under way and giving myself a
framework to deal with the tremendous volume of image production I've been
indulging in are the two most critical directions at the moment.
My site is a lot like a garden; it’s more of a process
than a product and is always a work in progress. And as with a garden, the
rewards are in direct proportion to the time and effort you put into it.
To read the Art League Blog post, click here