I have been a full-time profession artist for more than thirty-five years, as a custom jeweler and as an award-winning sculptor. Because I hate paperwork, I had been keeping my records on an elderly computer - 1988, 640kb ram, no modem, no hard drive, ms-dos only!! But it reached the point where I could no longer get software for it and it couldn't be upgraded.So in 1999 I bought a new computer and discovered a whole world of websites out there!
I immediately realized that I wanted one for my sculpture, and after browsing the web for a bit, I could envision my finished site, and I had definite ideas about what I DID and DID NOT want it to look like:
I DID want
With these ideas in mind, I set out to design my sculpture website.
— a site with the classic elegance of a museum or a fine art gallery,
— a site where navigation is simple and every page can be found quickly and easily,
— a site that loaded as quickly as possible, considering that my site would be heavy on the graphics and photos because it IS a visual arts site.
I did NOT want
loud backgrounds that would drown out my art,
garish buttons to detract from it,
a navigation scheme dependant on blind guess,
for my customers to have to impatiently wait for several minutes (or more likely, leave!) while each page downloads.
and I also did NOT want anything that jiggles, wiggles, or jumps - they may be cute the first time, but by the fifth time they are very annoying instead, and they slow the page download time considerably
And I learned that . . .
the web page templates that I saw were NOT the layouts I wanted,
the graphics programs that came with my computer weren't designed for professional quality graphics,
I didn't like any of the thousands of backgrounds I looked at on various graphics sites,
I spent days looking at thousands of buttons and other web graphics without finding what I wanted,
most of the people calling themselves web designers might be good technically, but in early 1999 they knew very little about artistic design,
and that if I really wanted to have the website I envisioned, I needed to buy good graphics software and learn a whole new art.
The whole idea was exciting, and I could see the site clearly in my mind's eye, but I still had no idea as to how to build it or post it.
At this point my daughter (married to a technical software designer) gave me a crash course on the basics, and turned me loose to play. And my first site, www.CWhitehorn.com was the result. I have made minor changes to the site since then (like making my own buttons instead of using something from a clip-art site) but the overall look is the same.
Soon I was studying the technical aspects of website design, learning about Photoshop and Dreamweaver, and have been upgrading my computer, my programs, and my knowledge ever since.