New Website for Jacksonville Chiropractic!

Jacksonville Chiropractic Clinic, Dr. Jason Williams,  Jacksonville, OregonI would like to thank Jacqueline Williams for entrusting me with the ground-up redesign of the website for Jacksonville Chiropractic Clinic, featuring Jacque’s husband, chiropractor Dr. Jason Williams, and the licensed massage therapists who practice alongside him!

Jacque was lovely to work with, and when she had to step aside for a couple of weeks for unrelated reasons, I felt I had enough information from our very productive first meeting to forge ahead on my own. When she returned, she was delighted to find the site ready for her review. We made a few adjustments, I did some housekeeping on the technical end, notified the search engines that the site had been revamped, and it was ready to go! Afterward, she said to me “Thank you so much, Hannah. I’m not very good about delegating, it’s just so much more efficient to do things myself most of the time. But I was really impressed with what you were able to accomplish without any input or participation from me while I was away. I thought it was going to be much more work on my part, but you made it so easy and painless! The site is beautiful, functional and easy to navigate, and I can’t wait to share it with our patients and the community!”

I am particularly proud of how this website came out in the end, and feel the layout and design is flexible enough to use for a number of different types of business. It even looks great on mobile devices!

We were careful to observe the new search engine optimization (SEO) techniques and hope it will be favored by the search engines as a result. You can help by leaving a comment on the blog post announcing the new site, by searching for Jville Chiropractic on Google or Bing and clicking through to the website, then lingering there or browsing the site for a little while, or by sharing the site with your favorite social network. 8.24.14 UPDATE: One of the things we did to boost Jacksonville Chiropractic’s SEO rating was to invest in a paid plugin by Yoast called Local SEO. Previously when we searched for “Jacksonville Chiropractic,” we saw mostly sites in Jacksonville, Florida in the search results. Now, and in record time, Jacksonville Chiropractic’s Oregon site dominates page one of the search results! Alternative searches have it either as #1 in the page one list, or lower on the page, but still on page 1. Even a search for “jason williams dc“, which predictably pulls up results with Jason Williamses from many walks of life, has OUR Jason Williams’ bio page at position #6, and the link to jacksonvillechiropracticclinic.com in position #7! Your help in lickcing the links you found in the search results made a huge difference in the amount of time this usually takes, too…Thank you!!

Please visit the site and take a look around. There is a lot of additional information, new patients can download patient registration forms to fill out and bring to their first visit, and the visual comparison between the previous site and this one…well, there’s no comparison! We would be very grateful if you would share their new site with anyone in the Jacksonville area who needs help from a chiropractor and/or therapeutic massage specialist, or travelers who have found themselves in need while visiting friends and family here. If you are a patient of Dr. Williams or one of his associates, please send them an email with a testimonial via their Contact page. We need current testimonials to make the site complete.

I can vouch for Mira, the resident therapeutic massage and Rolfing specialist. After one hour under Mira’s skilled and sensitive hands, I found a huge amount of pain relief that has remained with me since last November! Yes, sitting in front of a computer all day every day does have its drawbacks, but in no time she put me back in the saddle and ready to build more and better websites. I have a feeling Mira may become active on the blog, sharing information and special announcements.

Last but not least, we set up an online shop for the Clinic. It’s still under construction, but we hope to have it fully functional soon, and then you will be able to purchase the health products they use and recommend to their patients – either for shipment to your home or for local pickup!

We also set up the template for Jacksonville Chiropractic’s first newsletter. It’s pretty clean and simple – they do not plan to do a lot of emailing, but they are co-sponsoring Jacksonville’s First Annual Health Fair in October and would like to share the details with the community as the festival takes shape. In the near future we will set it up so that occasional news and announcements from their new blog can be delivered to your inbox.

I welcome your feedback, and if you would be interested in a quote on a website similar to this one, please send me an email via my Contact page.

More announcements to come soon, and hopefully a catch-up post with the many projects I’ve successfully completed this year but haven’t had time to write about, too.

Help Me Help Mother of Hope Cameroon to Empower Girls & Single Mothers

Well, there has been a lot happening at Hannah West Design this year, despite the fact that I haven’t been posting about it…I simply haven’t had time to keep my blog updated! But this volunteer project deserves to be first in line in my game of catch-up ball.

Cameroonian girls learn to use a laptop computer

Cameroonian girls learn to use a laptop computer

I met “Mother of Hope” Adah Mbah of Cameroon through WorldPulse.com, an incredibly warm and supportive global community of women founded by Jensine Larsen of Portland, Oregon. What a brainchild Jensine gave birth to! Many of these women are beautiful writers, activists working on behalf of women’s rights, ending gender-based violence, environmental causes and more. The site itself concentrates on digital empowerment for women and girls around the world, helping them to find their voice and broadcast it over the internet by providing digital empowerment resources, a venue for support and overwhelming encouragement, and opportunities of many types to women. Though I had been a member since 2010, I recently became active there to help my daughter Jennifer Faith to promote the book she wrote about her journey out of an abusive marriage and encourage women to visit her blog, jenniferfaith.org, for hope, encouragement, and the strength to begin their own journeys to freedom from violence and abuse.

Adah Mbah, Mother of Hope

Adah Mbah, Mother of Hope (seated at left)

Adah, the founder of Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM), found me through Jennifer, and seeing that I had computer literacy skills she immediately appealed to me for help in obtaining and delivering internet-enabled devices like cell phones, tablets and laptops for the 30 single mothers and girls entering their first year of University in Cameroon who will be attending her digital empowerment workshop next month. Our original thought was that there ought to be many used devices like these sitting dormant in desk drawers throughout the US. The idea of implementing a reduce-reuse-recycle approach to providing for these young African women really appealed to me and we went to work identifying others who could help us obtain donated devices. Unfortunately the rub came when trying to figure out how to actually get these devices to her, as Adah said the delivery system in Cameroon is very unreliable. Well, we couldn’t ask people to hand over their devices if we weren’t sure if they would get to Adah safely and in time, so a few days ago we decided to raise funds instead so she can purchase them in Cameroon in time for the workshop. You can help! A donation of only $10 will make a difference in Adah’s modest budget, which will cover the purchase of internet-enabled devices for the girls, transportation from their village to the internet cafe in a nearby city where the workshop will be held, and space rental fees. She is also offering modest but intriguing gifts for larger donations. If you’d like to help, you can jump straight to Adah’s Indiegogo campaign here: Virtual Learning tools for Young Women in Cameroon. Please share with anyone you think might also want to help these Cameroonian girls and young women!

This is what Adah & I wrote for her first appeal for device donations, published at WorldPulse.com:

Access to affordable and relevant health services and accurate, comprehensive health information are fundamental human rights. Yet gender-based discrimination, lack of access to education, poverty, and violence against women and girls can all prevent these rights from being realized. Single mums and girls face a lot of challenges when it comes to sexual reproductive health rights and safe motherhood.They lack accurate information about HIV transmission, the ability to choose whether and when to get pregnant, response to violence against women, and services for sexually transmitted infections and reproductive tract illnesses—all because they lack computer skills.

Mother of Hope Cameroon (MOHCAM), in her fight to educate single mums and girls, is organizing a three day digital empowerment workshop from the 28th-30th July 2014 to raise awareness on single mums and girl’s sexual reproductive health rights and basic computer skills. They will be given the chance to learn leadership skills, build self-confidence and better understand new marketable skills when using visual training tools.The programme is aimed at challenging prevalent gender stereotypes in communities, particularly those that reduce the aspirations of girls in rural communities, where traditions are firmest and patriarchal systems still remain very strong. For single mums and girls to fully participate in their communities and enjoy their rights, they need a life free from gender-based discrimination—a life with the opportunity to be educated, to work, to be healthy and to participate in all aspects of public life; however, millions women and girls are frequently beaten, raped, mutilated, killed, and subjected to gender-based violence which limits their opportunities.

Our ongoing campaign is working to connect rural and underprivileged single mums and girls to the world via the internet. Also some educated women are computer illiterate and can’t properly handle leadership positions. Computer literacy will open doors to share information and build networks with like-minded ventures. Most rural single mums and girls who are engaged in farming and petite trading will acquire computer skills which will enable them to market their products. They will be able meet with other women and mentors online, who will direct them in their activities and businesses. They will find online forums where they can showcase and gain global exposure for their work.

To enable these positive improvements in our communities, MOHCAMs training workshop will empower 30 single mums and girls from Mubang Ntsen Nkwen village and equip them with basic skills in information communication technology (computing), and also to educate them about women’s reproductive health to help them rise to meet the challenges they face daily. This workshop will take place in Foncha-street Nkwen-Bamenda from the 28th–30th of July 2014 at the Ets.ALMA Cybercafé opposite Providence Clinic.

We intend to extend this training to women and girls entering their freshman year in university. Due to the limited internet access, high school students entering universities in Cameroon are not familiar with the internet’s power to help them research and enhance their studies. Those who go online simply use it to send or read emails and chat. These women and girls lack the basic skills to access the vast learning materials available on-line that can help them break the cycle of poverty and abuse so they can find their voice, improve their own situations, and effect positive change in their communities.

When Cameroon’s women and girls succeed, Cameroon succeeds!

Women and girls in Cameroon make up more than half of the population. They are the breadwinners and the backbone of our economy, yet they face harsh treatment due to outdated customs and traditions which hinder them. They are still regarded as their husband’s property, with limited rights in most communities. This workshop will enable them to become local community reporters who can share information and advocate for women’s rights and positive change for everyone.

Equipped with basic computer skills, like-minded people can come together to improve their skills and share their experiences. This will increase productivity and encourage innovation in their businesses and workplace. Togetherness and love will be fostered in young minds, who will then be positioned for the mentoring and training which will enable them to create and contribute to a better economic system in Cameroon.

Computers are tools needed by all women and girls for a rapid change! You Can Help!

There are plenty of steps we can take to strengthen our future, but first we need to take action. We shall be grateful if you would donate your used Internet-capable phones, computers or electronic gadgets to help women learn and participate effectively in our computer literacy workshop. We also need assistance in getting these devices safely to us in time for the workshop and would appreciate any suggestions or offers of help to bring donated devices to Cameroon so that we can make them available to the workshop participants.
Please email us at motherofhopecameroon@gmail.com or call +23733051311

Thank you for your support!
Computing is our Business!!!
Mother of Hope Cameroon website

Adah and her handwashing campaign team, 2011

Adah and her handwashing campaign team, 2011

I sincerely hope this strategy for empowering the women and girls of Mubang Ntsen Nkwen village in Cameroon is reaching into your heart as it has mine. You simply would not believe how much hope some basic computer skills can bring to these aspiring but oppressed women! I appeal to you to take a moment to visit the Mother of Hope Cameroon Indiegogo campaign page and make a donation. Just $10 makes a difference (and your name will be added to the list of donors in all their promotional materials), $25 helps even more and gets you a bumper sticker about ending gender-based violence, $50 buys a digital device for one of the girls or pays for her transportation to the workshop, and those who donate $100-250 will receive a gift of handcrafted items made by the women of Bamenda, 250g of organic Cameroonian coffee produced without forced labor by the North West Cooperative Association (NWCA), or a 500g jar of native Cameroonian honey produced by the Bamendakwe Rural Women’s Development Organization (BARUWDO). Your donation must be received by July 17, 2014 in order to give Adah time to make the purchases and other financial arrangement she needs in time for the July 28-30 workshop.

For those to whom this kind of information is important, Adah Mbah is also a committed believer in Jesus and is counting on him to bring the help these young women need to change their lives for the better and bring hope to the future of Cameroon. “God will not fail me!” she says over and over, and your response to the tug in your heart that her words cause will make you God’s accomplice in doing something substantive to help 30 single mothers, young women and girls to overcome the very real challenges they face in Cameroon. Thank you so much for your donation in any amount before July 17, and for sharing with others who have the heart and a little cash to help! You can also show your support for the work Adah and her team are doing by liking the Mother of Hope page on Facebook.

Mother of Hope Cameroon’s Mission Statement:

Mother of Hope Cameroon MOHCAM logoMOHCAM is a non-profit organization of victims of gender based violence that provides security to the scared and unsure girls and women in communities in Cameroon. It’s aimed at fighting against the abuses faced daily by women and girls who become victims of gender based violence in communities. We ensure victims’ rights protection through advocacy and also aim at building future women’s rights leaders from victims. This in turns help to build a culture of empathy, justice, and peace from supported victim of violence. We also propagate a culture of peace building in homes and communities.

MOHCAM is based on implementing skills through local trainings on income generating activities for the empowerment and change towards acts of violence to secure girls and women victims of gender based violence. We work in partnership with schools and communities.

Vision

To establish a shelter home for victims of violence and to advocate for the implementation of family protection bill that can addresses domestic violence with prompt police response. And to establish a National Domestic Hotline for victims of gender based violence in communities.
MOHCAM is committed to ensure that all victims are able to regain and maintain a life of dignity and self-worthiness which will:
• Inspire
• Transform lives
• Motivate people to take action
• Promote social justice & human rights for girls and women

Values

We value and believe:
• In an environment which enhances self-esteem and respect for all.
• That each individual is unique and of value.
• That we all have a responsibility to build a healthy community.
• In a holistic approach in working with individuals and community.
• In constant attention, sensitivity and flexibility throughout the ongoing process of relationship building.
• In ethical practices.
• In volunteerism.
• In innovation and creativity.

Lastly, if anyone reading this knows someone who will be traveling to Cameroon or a neighboring country between now and July 15 and would be willing to be a courier of digital devices, please contact me at webmistress@hannahwestdesign.com or Adah at motherofhopecameroon@gmail.com and we will work out a plan to obtain and transfer devices for them to deliver.

Web Design Client Updates for January 2014

I wanted to let people know about my Web Design Client Updates and additional news for January 2014.  I’ve been busy and it looks like I’ll be getting busier as word continues to spread about my web design skills and work ethic.

Fly Fishing, painting by new web design client, artist Joan Pechanec

Fly Fishing, painting by Joan Pechanec ~ Click to see more on Joan’s new website!

New Web Design Client, Artist Joan Pechanec

First, it’s lovely to announce the completion of a new artist website for Joan Pechanec of Mt Shasta, California. The website is built on the WordPress platform, using the Emphaino theme with lots of custom modifications so the resulting site design would suit her aesthetics. She had a budget and a target completion date in mind, and we finished under budget and on time. She has art works in two categories on her site – assemblage/collage pieces and more recent oil paintings. As she and her husband, author Charlie Price, were on their way out of town for a 3 month writer’s residency at Fairhope on the Gulf Coast of Alabama, it was perfect that they were both able to come up and meet me in person before they left. Working with Joan by remote (a good bit of it while they were on the road to their destination) went smoothly and I’m delighted that both she and her husband are pleased with the results!

Joan wanted visitors to her website to be able to see all the works on her home page, so we chose a theme that’s designed with the masonry technique (like Pinterest), yet with a dark background that really makes the saturated colors in her paintings pop. The masonry style image blocks on the home page are each linked to a post with more details about the painting. Since she will be away for a while, we decided to post the paintings with just the most essential details for now. It was a joy working with Joan’s art! We’ll add text and artist’s comments when she returns home, along with the new paintings she is creating while on the Gulf Coast. I hope you will visit joanpechanec.com and have a look!

Website Update for Artist Christina Madden

Web Design Client Update: Adding 'Nature's Views,' mixed media painting by Christina Madden, to www.christinamadden.com

Nature’s Views, mixed media painting by Christina Madden

Web Design Client Update: 'Adding Autumn at the Green Springs,' oil painting by Christina Madden, to www.christinamadden.com

Autumn at the Green Springs, oil painting by Christina Madden

 

Artist Christina Madden has been painting away since I last wrote, and these two pieces are among my favorites of the new works we have recently updated her website with. The two seem to bookend the range of her style; both are landscapes, but one is a bright and colorful mixed media painting in a more abstract style, the other an oil painting in an impressionist style, with colors a bit more subdued than we usually see from her hand. Christina is working hard to create a style that’s all her own, and it appears to me that she’s succeeding. She’s very excited because she will be going to ArtExpo in New York City this year! It’s been wonderful to watch her style grow and change since we began working together, and I know she will be successful at this prestigious New York show.

Bill Stanton’s Art Exhibit at the GoodBean Cafe

Landscape, by Bill Stanton, on display at the Goodbean Cafe in Jacksonville, Oregon until January 31, 2014

Landscape, 4′ x 4′ oil on canvas by Bill Stanton

I’m sure I must have mentioned that among the things I do to have some regular in-person facetime with artists and their work is curating and managing the art exhibits at the GoodBean Cafe in my hometown of Jacksonville, Oregon. December was a group show with the theme of “Angels,” which drew great enthusiasm from the shop’s clientele, so much so that the owner decided she wants to do the same theme every December from now on! This month we’re featuring artist Bill Stanton, whose landscapes painted in deep impasto oils are in high demand in the area. Bill isn’t entirely reclusive, but he doesn’t do a lot of shows or promotion…it’s mostly locals who are in the know who support his work…so we’re fortunate to have him. We would love it if you could come in and see them for yourself – we just renovated the back wall to make more room for the art, and his large (some huge) paintings look terrific in the space! If you’re not in the area, take a look at this post about the show to learn more.

Web Design Projects in Development and Coming Soon

That’s all I have completed and ready for you to view right now…though I’m working on a bunch of other projects that will be ready soon:

  • Helping Stefan Baumann complete his artist website

    • Stefan started on his own, but became too busy to finish the project himself. In addition to a grueling art instruction schedul which involves a lot of travel, he’s painting like crazy to prepare for a big southern California show in September. Want to watch as Baumann’s website develops? Visit www.stefanbaumann.com
  • New concert posters, video editing and website updates for Christina Duane’s Romancing the West 2014 tour.

  • Redesigning the website for Community Works

    • Community Works is the parent organization for the highly respected Dunn House in Medford, Oregon, which helps women, youth and families impacted by domestic abuse and sexual violence. I am delighted to be working with Development Director Misha Levee Hernandez on this project. (Need help yourself? Visit their current website here. )
  • Updating artist Pegi Smith‘s existing website with new paintings.

    • As with Christina Madden, I did not design Pegi’s site, but her previous webmistress is stepping aside from website work and Pegi brought her maintenance work to me just yesterday! I can’t wait to work with her beautiful paintings! pegismith.com

In addition, I’m beside myself with glee that I’ve gotten two new web design projects to begin soon. One is an artist website. Just yesterday I went to visit this artist’s studio and nearly wept at the beautiful work I saw there! We should be getting underway soon. The other is a WordPress based wine club website. I will hear for sure on that one Friday, and we should be getting started around the 27th if it’s confirmed tomorrow that it’s a go.

I hope you’ll check back again to see my very erratic updates on how things are going with these web design and site maintenance projects, and more!

Latest updates…

It’s so hard to keep this site updated when there are so many interesting (and challenging!) projects to tend to, so here’s a quick recap of a few of the things I’ve been working on.

"Master Wave," oil on canvas painting of a large wave breaking on the shore by Boni de Laire

“Master Wave,” oil on canvas by Boni de Laire

"Still Life with Red Oriental Poppies," oil on canvas by Billye Woodford

“Still Life with Red Oriental Poppies,” oil on canvas by Billye Woodford

 

Just after I finished the restoration of a site for Medford artist Boni de Laire, she referred another wonderful painter to me, Billye Woodford from Rogue River, Oregon. I have just finished her site, too. They’re both beautiful, and filled with lovely artwork – representational landscapes are Boni’s focus, and while Billye creates beautiful landscapes as well, she also ventures into florals, portraits and more. Please visit www.bonidelaire.net and www.billyewoodford.com today!

While I was finishing up Billye’s site, another interesting job came my way – a website for a contestant in the upcoming Miss Oregon pageant, Priyanka Samra. Born in Canada and raised in Medford Oregon, Priyanka is a college student in California majoring in pre-med. She’ll gradute at the end of the current school year. She’s also incredibly beautiful and has been modeling since she was 14 – with a special love for the runway. She’s going to be teaching runway lessons to other models to raise funds for her favorite charities – Unique Home for Girls in India, where girls who have been abandoned are given a home, education and a future under the loving guardianship of

their adopted mother Prakash Kaur, and the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI), specifically for their important work on depression. Please visit www.priyankasamra.com to learn more and see the modeling shots in her portfolio gallery…and root for her to win Miss Oregon 2014! She wanted a site based on her friend Mabelynn’s. Mabelynn won the Miss California pageant in 2012 and her site is pretty sleek, so I went for it. As pretty as Mabelynn is, I think Priyanka’s exotic East Indian look, movie-star glamorous yet not excessively sexy, makes her site the winner. Follow her for news on the Miss Oregon pageant, which happens in November.

"Sunrise on the Rhine," mixed media on canvas by artist Christina Madden depicting a castle on the Rhine River in Europe

“Sunrise on the Rhine,” mixed media on canvas by artist Christina Madden

A couple of my artist clients have added new paintings to their websites recently.

Christina Madden paints in oil, acrylic and mixed media; her range of style and subject is quite broad, but recently she’s been refining her style to make it all her own. And is it ever! Her colorful abstract impressionist landscapes are so vibrant and full of life, like nothing else I’ve seen. We’ve also been working to improve the SEO value of her site and making progress. Help her gain better online visibility! Visit her website and feast your eyes on artist Christina Madden‘s colorful world! If you find yourself in Ashland, Oregon during October 2013, stop in at Art & Soul gallery to see a major show of her paintings. She sold ten paintings in recent months, so she had to work very hard to paint new pieces so she would have enough for her show, and they’re magnificent! Meet the artist at a reception on Friday, October 4 during the Ashland First Friday Art Walk.

"Boss," oil on wood by Eugenia Talbott of Talbott Studios

“Boss,” oil on wood by Eugenia Talbott of Talbott Studios

Artist Eugenia Talbot is an amazing woman, and she just had two shows here in southern Oregon – one at the Berryman Gallery (above the Craterian Theater in Medford) in conjunction with the production of Tarzan there in early September. At the same time I had her work hanging at the GoodBean Cafe in Jacksonville for a one month exhibition that got huge numbers of compliments! I didn’t design her site, but she brought me on for maintenance and updates, as well as to upgrade its SEO value. Once again I appeal to what readers I may have to help increase her online visibility by visiting her Talbott Studios website and take some time to look around. You won’t be disappointed – African wildlife, horses and pet portraits, portraits of people and more await you there!

Susan DeRosa art show card for South Stage Cellars show, September 2013

Susan DeRosa art show card for South Stage Cellars show, September 2013

Oh, and you must see the art show card that Jacksonville artist Susan DeRosa had me make for her debut southern Oregon show (she moved here recently from Arkansas, where she lived for a time after retiring from her career as an art educator in California universities). She is such an amazing talent, I’m glad she now has time to continue refining her own work rather now that she’s done her time teaching others! Her show at South Stage Cellars was such a success, she sold a painting at the opening reception and so many people came that she started crying with gratitude when telling me how she felt about it.

This reminds me of the art show catalog I did recently, but I haven’t had a chance to scan it so I’ll have to post that later.

Apologies to the awesome folks at GMO Free Jackson County for not having time to have them with a project they contacted me about. Please visit their website and lend your support – they working hard to protect Oregon’s organic agriculture legacy. It’s like swimming upstream, there’s so much to do and so much resistance from the likes of Monsanto and Syngenta.

Well, there’s still more, but I’ve run out of time and have to get back to work, so please return another time to see if I’ve had a chance to write more about the fabulous projects I’m involved in now, and what my wonderful clients have for me next! Spoiler alert…looks like a new site and SEO help for Daljit Samra (Name sounds familiar? Yes, that’s Priyanka’s mom!) of the Rogue Valley Inn and possibly some modifications to a fantastic high end fashion site in New York, as well as adding video content to singer/songwriter Christina Duane’s nonprofit websites, Romancing the West and Oh Oregon Frontier Park when she returns from her current tour! Oh, right, I haven’t written about the pleasure of starting to work with Christina yet, have I? Well, we’ll have to tackle that next time…Thanks for stopping by and come back again soon!

 

Photoshop Workshop Coming up August 12!

Hannah West Design logoHaving trouble preparing images of your art for submission to art shows & print media?  Artist Norm Rossignol told me about some challenges he’d been having, and after we got that all worked out, he suggested that I offer another workshop as there are still many artists in the Rogue Valley having problems editing their images effectively. I agreed, and we decided on a maximum of 10 participants. I will do my best to accommodate any overflow; if very many more than 10 people desire to register, I’ll add a second date.

Let me show you how to adjust your photos in Photoshop/Elements so you can submit images that show your art at its best! Understanding web vs. print resolution and how to change them, resizing and changing canvas size as opposed to image size, metadata and more… There will be plenty of helpful information for everyone. If you want to do some practicing as I demonstrate, bring your laptop, but you can still take notes that will help you when you get home to your PC.

Please plan to join me on Monday, August 12 from 1-3pm

Fee: $35 per participant

Location: Hannah West Design, LLC, Jacksonville

No prior experience required, but it will be most helpful if you do know how to find, open and find your way around Photoshop or Photoshop Elements without too much assistance.

For more info & to register, contact Hannah at 541.899.2012 or soar@soartists.com or Norm Rossignol at normrossignol@yahoo.com. My availability will be limited now through July 31, and I will be out of my office from August 1 through 4. If you can’t reach me, please contact Norm.

 

How Natasha Wescoat Rocked Her Online Art Sales

Great advice from a successful artist. If you haven’t checked out the Artsy Shark blog yet, it’s a terrific resource for artists that’s well worth your time. That’s where I found this very informative and encouraging article…and a whole lot more!

What makes this prolific artist such a sales superstar? Guest blogger Natasha Wescoat shares her secrets.

Natasha Wescoat

A well-rounded web presence is an essential part of your art business and brand if you want to sell online. Like any brick and mortar gallery, it’s the collector’s main source to the artist and stands as an authority and representation of you across the web.

In 2004, I began selling my art online through auction websites and established a presence through the social networking blog Livejournal. I then started my own website, which has evolved over the years through trial and error. I’ve found the keys to a successful website.

Simple Design

As an artist, your work should be representing itself. There is no need for fancy design or flashy colors. It should remain clean and simple, either in black, white or neutral colors. You want your art as the shining attraction here! Stay away from moving images or flash, noisy fonts or images that have nothing to do with your artwork.

 

artist painting

 

Content  is King

As always, with any site, the information and content you use is vital not only to driving traffic, but to inform your collectors and potential clients. You want to have all they need to learn about you, the artist, about your work and also most importantly, what you are offering THEM.

IMPORTANT PAGES TO HAVE ON YOUR WEBSITE:

About: This page is dedicated to describing you and your work. Your biography, artist statement and resume can go here as well as pictures of yourself (especially creating the work!) or if you remain a private person, some clever childhood photo of yourself for example. Make sure you have written a well thought out biography and statement. This can take time but is the foundation of your career.

Gallery/Portfolio: Whether you place them directly on your site (which I recommend) or you link to another site (Flickr, Imagekind or Photobucket, etc.) there should be easy access to look at your work! Be sure to include any past collections of art, present work, available work or projects you have done. Always add descriptions or captions on the art, along with a copyright statement and even links to where they could purchase it, if elsewhere on the web.

News/Updates: This page posts the latest news on your upcoming projects, events or sales. You could even connect your blog to this as blogs are a great way of updating people. Always announce stuff you plan to do, have organized to do and even the sales you want to put on. Create anticipation for your buyers and fans.

Contact: Make yourself as available and accessible as you can. Not only would it be good to provide your contact information here, but also include the information across the other pages of your site.

Links/Shop: Make sure you have posted links to every social network, online shop, print company, licensee, etc. that you use or who sells your work. This provides verification that those sites are really you and they help people find those other sites. You’d be amazed at how little your fans know about other websites or even what you’re doing.

 

artwork birds whimsical

 

Keywords and Linking

When writing the content for your site, from your bio to the descriptions of artwork, it’s vital to understand how keywords and SEO works. You want to make sure your content is full of the keywords that describe you and your art, so that when people search for art like yours on the web, your site is the one that comes up! Also, linking to other pages in your site from another page is important. Some people need a bit more help in navigating websites and can’t always understand or find something, no matter how easy you make it.

An example of what I mean: My About page, I may write a sentence that says, “For more info, contact Natasha…” The word “contact” could be linked to the contact page or even directly to my email address.

 

whimsical tree

 

Featuring Specials

If you are offering a sale, running a new club, or joined a new social network, you should highlight that somewhere on the front page. If you can, create a banner or box that advertises this and link so they can go to it.

Social Networking

A website is not complete without its supporting character – the social network. Whether you use Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest or MySpace, those sites will help create even more traffic to your main site. If you want to be a successful artist selling your work online, you really shouldn’t attempt a business without it.

Social Networking provides:

  • Connection with your collectors and clients
  • Adds humanity to your work
  • Adds value to your art career
  • Helps you build a fan base
  • Creates more opportunities for sales

Over the years, through discussions and making friends, I’ve found business opportunities. You can’t force it, but you should develop a reputation as a person as well as an artist. Make friends and new connections. Add value to their life. See how you can help or promote them. Don’t always blast or broadcast what you do or sell. No one responds to that. Learn what your collectors want. What they like. Who they are. Connect.

I’ve found this to be one of the most complex but important parts of a successful art business. Without it, you don’t really have much. It’s important to research and develop your social media strategy, your execution plan and how to use it. It’s the most affordable way to promote and advertise yourself. It took me many years, but because I already loved to learn about the web and adopted technology all the time, it just became part of what I do.

 

whimsical tree art

 

Be Present

And last but not least, make an effort to attend conferences, art shows, expos or fairs that are local and national. Find ways to connect with your fans, your artist friends and potential business opportunities in person. It’s always valuable to add a face to the profile. Online is not always enough, though it will be biggest part of your business. Offline events are still vital and beneficial to your art career.

Don’t miss Judy Elliott’s Dragonfly Designs West show at the GoodBean!

Note: I just started working with Judy Elliott of Dragonfly Designs West to take over the maintenance on her existing website, an exciting development that follows a year of getting to know her. I’m posting an edited version of the article we submitted to the Jacksonville Review to promote her current show at the GoodBean Cafe in Jacksonville to tell you more about her. This show comes down Friday afternoon (May 31), so be sure to stop in before the end of the month…and again after the first, when we will not only have a new featured artist on display, but one of Judy’s new large wall hangings will be installed on the rafter where the koi are now!  I’ll post a link to Judy’s website once it’s been updated (www.yourkimono.com), and more on the projects I worked on last month once we’ve finished wrapping them up.      ~ Hannah West

Calla Lilly with Frog and Gadflies Wall Hanging

“Calla Lilly with Frog and Gadflies” Wall Hanging

GoodBean owner Mary Kell and art curator Hannah West of Art Presence fell in love with the hand-painted silk creations from Judy Elliott’s Dragonfly Designs West last summer, featuring a handsewn kimono in the guest artist spot above the coffee counter and a spectacular hand-painted black and red hibiscus wall hanging that fluttered delicately above our heads when we opened the front doors. Judy didn’t have much work to share at that time since she was also exhibiting at Jacksonville Celebrates the Arts. She sold nearly all her inventory at the festival, became a member of Art Presence and the Southern Oregon Artists Resource, and we were so impressed we invited her to return the following spring for a featured exhibition.

Judy has since gotten married, moved into a new home, started a new career and painted a lot of silk ~ you’ll be treated to an array of stunning pieces that will make memorable gifts for someone special – or for yourself! – if you come in the cafe for a cup of something warm (for chilly spring days) or cold (for hot spring days – we’ve had plenty of both this year!). Along with handsewn cotton kimonos and Happi (pronounced “hoppy”) coats with authentic Japanese prints, hand-painted silk scarves, handheld fans and wall hangings, we can also expect to see hand-painted paper Japanese-style umbrellas!

Handsewn Happi (pronounced "hoppy") coats with handpainted silk fan

Handsewn Happi (pronounced “hoppy”) coats with handpainted silk fan, on display now at the GoodBean in Jacksonville.

Hand sewn kimono by Judy Elliott

Hand sewn kimono by Judy Elliott

Judy shares a glimpse into her past and highlights of the process behind her creations:
“Growing up in Hawaii, I absorbed the tastes and cultures of the Islands. My father, a photographer, blessed me with an artistic eye for exotic colors and shapes. Early on I developed an interest in Japanese fashion and design, particularly the Kimono and Happi (pronounced “Hoppi”) Coat, which I often wore as a child while dancing.

“In 1991 I brought these passions with me to Oregon. To expand on the skills I developed while attending interior design school in Hawaii, I began offering hand-painted silk scarves, wall hangings, and mid-length kimoros, often worn as a robe. Now I frequently receive commissions to create custom pieces to wear or to decorate a home or office.
“My line of kimonos are made from Japanese and Hawaiian printed polished cotton. I’ve found that cotton is a far more comfortable choice of fabric for everyday wear, and the variety of prints are more accessible.

Judy paints a silk wall hanging.

Judy paints a silk wall hanging.

“Silk comes from the silk worm and is spun into threads to weave into various items. While visiting a silk carpet manufacturing facility in Turkey, I learned more about how the threads are formed and used. While silk appears to be a very delicate fabric, it is actually very strong and durable. Silk is a unique item to paint on and requires trial and error before beginning the process. I enjoy working with silk, experimenting with new ways to use it. Some of my hand-painted scarves and wall hangings are outlined with gutta, a rubberized substance that prevents the dye from traveling from one section of the scarf to another. Some of my newer scarves are painted with dye and wax, accented with the use of salt to create beautiful effects. Each scarf must be heat-set after a four day process to prevent colors from bleeding. They can then be handwashed with a mild fabric soap.”

Hand painted silk scarves by Judy Elliott on display at the GoodBean

Hand painted silk scarves by Judy Elliott on display at the GoodBean

Though she didn’t get the Mother’s Day sales I expected with all those colorful and beautifully hand painted silk scarves on display, Judy has had a very successful show, selling two gorgeous kimonos (including the one pictured above) with magnificent Japanese crane prints to one enthusiastic buyer last week! Better check out those scarves before they’re gone…

When I asked Mary how she liked what Judy had done with her exhibition, she said “I feel so fortunate! Not everyone has beautiful art like this in their business!” A known mermaid who loves spending time by the ocean, it’s no surprise that Mary finds this show close to her heart. I’ll have to bring her to the reception for the Art Presence show in June, as Judy will be exhibiting two works not seen at the GoodBean now as part of the “Coastal, By the Sea” show of member works.

"Koi" handpainted silk wall hanging by Judy Elliott

“Koi” handpainted silk wall hanging by Judy Elliott

"Koi" handpainted silk wall hanging by Judy Elliott

“Koi” (reverse) swimming…overhead?!

 

 

 

This is a wonderfully colorful show with graceful designs that create a lovely ambience in the GoodBean’s cafe ~ please enjoy it enjoy while there’s still time as it comes down at the end of this month. If you miss it though, all is not lost, to calm her wedding day nerves, Judy created another spectacular wall hanging called “Tropical Splendor” which will replace the one pictured on the left.

Site Update for Artist Christina Madden!

I’m so grateful to have had artist Christina Madden come to me for help bringing more visitors to her website!

La Casa, oil painting by Christina Madden

La Casa, oil painting by Christina Madden

The first thing we did was to add metadata to all the images of her art, both for security’s sake and to help promote her art. While the metadata contained within an image is not readable by search engines, it’s essential to have it in place in the event that it, through resharing, it becomes separated from any link to the artist’s website or other contact information. It’s always an option to lock down an image so it cannot be separated from the website where it appears, but then people can’t help you promote your work by sharing, so this way anyone can open the image in Photoshop, access the File Info, and see the artist’s website address so they can see more of their work, find their email and other contact information, and learn more about the artist. Christina’s choice was to allow her images to be shared, so the metadata was a must. This also saves time when adding images to social networks, as the most critical of the meta information – the artist’s copyright – will now be “exposed”, along with the title and description so it does not have to be retyped in. This also makes the metadata available to the search engines, an added bonus and a good reason to take the time to place this information in each image. And What a joy to work with the images of her beautiful oil paintings!

Next we added metadata keywords and descriptions to her pages for the search engines to gobble up, and AddThis sharing tools to her website to encourage visitors to share her pages. We also added a sitemap and Google analytics tracking code to her site and, though the site has been online for some time, submitted it to the search engines as this had not been done previously. In the process I saw that the code on her site was very outdated, and began the process of bringing it a bit more up to speed so it will be more search engine friendly. Completing this task for the entire site will take longer and we plan to take it a little at a time; we also will add proper text with keywords to the “Alt” field in her images.

Morning at Touvelle Park, oil painting by Christina Madden

Morning at Touvelle Park, oil painting by Christina Madden

Christina had started a professional artist page on Facebook but hadn’t completed the setup, so we added a selection of paintings to her page and began promoting it. While working on this, she completed two new paintings, which we added to her website and Facebook page. Boy did they get a lot of attention! Over 200 views for one painting and almost 350 for the other, plus lots of wonderful comments! She’s up to 38 likes now, but it still needs some love, so why not visit and add your own like to her page?! https://www.facebook.com/artistchristinamadden

We began working on March 5 and completed this round on April 21. Currently Christina’s site is appearing in search results on Bing/Yahoo 94% more frequently than it did before, with a 200% increase in clicks from those search result pages, and all but 5 of her pages have been properly indexed by Google. Christina can now view traffic analytics for her site through her Google account and sharing analytics through her new AddThis account. In the past month (April 8 – May 8), she has welcomed 55 visitors to her site, who viewed 266 pages, and average of nearly 5 pages per visit! This represents an 89.66% increase in visitors over the previous month, a 48.6% increase in page views, and, though the total number of pages per visit is down a little, and increase in time spent on her website of 79.5%!

In addition we can see that , although most of her visitors are coming from her home territory of southern Oregon, people from 8 different countries have come to visit since we began working. Sharing has not been intense, nor has anything gone viral just yet, but 5 shares, up from zero ability to share, is promising,  and we can see that all the shares so far have been to Facebook. As these results show, search engine optimization, even if not complete, can immediately and dramatically change the visitor frequency and patterns to your website, and the ability to view and analyze these stats is very helpful to gauge how much the work you have put into optimizing your site is helping to increase traffic and sharing.

A New Website for Artist Norm Rossignol!

Water Lily, watercolor painting by Norm Rossignol

Water Lily, watercolor painting by Norm Rossignol

I am delighted to have finished a website for Norm Rossignol at www.normrossignolart.com! I was already acquainted with Norm as he had a listing on www.soartists.com, the site I created to promote the art community of southern Oregon, and am happy to know him much better after meeting with him and working on his website. It’s amazing how much this endeavor can show you about a person – some clients have even said they learned much they didn’t know about themselves through the process!

Norm is a plein air painter, which means he paints outdoors, on location. He is very supportive of his fellow plein air artists, to the point that he co-founded the Plein Air Society of Southern Oregon (or PASSO) to enourage and coordinate regular paintings sessions “en plein air” with both new and experienced artists. His watercolors are beautiful, and he has taught watercolor painting at ScrappyCraft in Phoenix, Oregon for the past three years. He’s now taking a break from teaching and watercolors to renew his focus on another love – pastels – and they are just stunning! He is also a member of the Watercolor Society of Oregon and The Pastel Society of Oregon, and the Southern Oregon Society of Artists, as well as additional plein air-focused groups.

Bluebell Woods, pastel painting by Norm Rossignol

Bluebell Woods, pastel painting by Norm Rossignol

Norm is a kind, energetic and engaging man. I can see why his classes were popular! His wife is an avid horsewoman and he enjoys videotaping her weekly riding lessons on Gabriel, her handsome Haflinger. He’s not timid when it comes to trying new things, something I learned when he dived in almost immediately to create his first post his his brand new blog! I hope everyone in the SO art community and all who love plein air painting and landscapes will follow his blog as it promises to be entertaining and informative, not to mention lovely, as I’m sure he will illustrate his posts with images of his work.

Norm was kind enough to write this recommendation for me, which I just received this morning:

Wanting my very own web site seemed so daunting to me that I put it off for years. I envied those who had a site and maintained it on their own. Then there’s the need to ensure your images are protected properly from being copied.

Hannah West has been managing SOAR for some time now and I have seen that site do wonderful things for artists. One of the things that stood out from Hannah’s work is “She has your back.” Not only builds a beautiful site but all your work is safe. Another feature I needed was a Point and Shoot style operation and Hannah has a designed system that is just that easy. Most webmasters can build a web site that is just fine, but a web site made especially for artists is another matter. Hannah being an artist herself has that insight needed to develop a tasteful and easy site to display and use. I am most grateful to Hannah for her hard work and dedication to developing my site.

Easy operation
Attractive presentation
Custom built for your needs
Easy maintenance
Safe from piracy
Something to be proud of
What more could you want?

Sincerely Norm Rossignol
Normrossignolart.com