Door County’s Cana Island

I published the first of my series of Door County paintings today on ArtByUs. I opted for a winter setting because frankly at some points during our vacation it felt nothing like spring/summer at all.  That’s the thing about Door County.  Unlike home, when there’s a chance of rain it means it’s going to rain.  The percent chance is just talk.  Actually, I had something different in mind for this painting and when I began the present work, I hadn’t realized that I was using the other side of an abandoned work.  Not that it detracts from the scene, but those things happen sometimes.

Open Gate, watercolor on paper, 9″ x 6″, Available at Weborg Lodge

The setting for this painting is Cana Island where the appropriately named Cana Island lighthouse is located.  Interestingly, visitors can now climb up to the tower and walk the catwalk as it were.  You can get an idea from this painting.

Cana Island Lighthouse

See that black railing?  It feels like it’s about a thousand feet up.  It’s actually about 65 feet.  I must confess not to climbing the tower, but consenting to be in a photograph my husband took from the top looking down at me, waiting patiently for his return.

The waters were wild that day we visited.  I have enormous respect for the seas, which Lake Michigan is–an inland sea.  How can you not when this is coming right at you?

stormy waters

We were reminded of the impact of weather our second night when the electricity went out in the campground during a wild storm.  Park staff inexplicably locked the shower house, the one safe shelter in the place.  I can’t recall ever feeling so vulnerable and at the mercy of whatever was going to come our way.  Needless to say, inspiration for my “Nature of Door County” series.

Vacation Days

There’s a marvelous joy about vacations for an artist.  This trip was no exception.  New scenery, new colors, new sensations all add to the fodder of inspiration.  Of course, our destination certainly played a role–Door County, Wisconsin.

I began my painting with Door County.  Here’s one of my first paintings in which I strove to capture the beauty of this one-of-a-kind place.

cana_island_lighthouse

Cana Lighthouse

I adore this place.  I love being close to the Earth, close to Nature.  Since we were tent camping, this factor played a big role in our days.  Imagine the chill of hearing of impending storms looming closer and closer only to lose power.  No communication.  No warnings, and certainly no basement in which to hide.  I liked Nature having the upper hand.

I’m newly inspired with all the scenes whirling in my head.  Because weather played such a factor in all our activities, weather will be a key component in my new series of paintings called, "The Nature of Door County".

Website Changes

Along with my osCommerce store, I’m working on a new updated look for my website. As much as I hate to admit it, my site is dated with its code and use of tables. I’m planning a CSS tableless site. A lot of questions have come up during the process. First, there was resolution. The latest stats I’ve checked and also my own Google Analytics report suggest that 1024 x 768 is by far the most common resolution. Having said that however, the site still has to be viewable for other devices like phones in order reach the most amount of people, i.e. 800 x 600 resolution is not dead yet.

A very attractive feature of my new hosting provider, Hostgator, is the 4,500+ free templates available. I found several that I like. For the most part though, they are written in HTML and not XHTML. Most I looked at were table-based. Most were at 800 x 600 resolution. All of these factors, while not impossible to deal with, are not factors with which I want to fix necessarily.

I’ve browsed several templates for purchase. Again, while I’ve found several attractive templates.  Browsing through the help section on one site, I did find once again that most were 800 x 600 resolution.  If I’m going to buy a template, I pretty much want it out of the box.  I don’t want to have to do a lot of rework.

The problem I’ve found with so many of the sites offering the same templates by the same designers a la’ TemplateMonster, TemplateOutpost, is that the details includes no information regarding resolution, code, etc.  If this is important to you, I suggest you check out PixelMill.  At least you can sort for the specific requirements you have like CSS tableless layouts.  They tend to be more expensive, but the help files are more extensive, blank pages with different layouts.  If you need the extra help, it’s worth the dollars.

After all the searching, templates started to all look the same.  While I have some good candidates, nothing is saying, “buy me!”  My approach now is to start listing the requirements I want, the elements I like on other sites, and perhaps using one of the free templates as a starting point, to create my own site from scratch.  The next question is do I want a flash site?

I’m not talking about one of those sites with the flash intro.  Those I skip.  With that option necessary, I wonder why anyone invests the money.  I do like galleries built with flash.  Sometimes the transitions between images is obnoxious, but that can be changed.  The one problem with the flash sites I’ve seen is the little room for text.  I use a site to check the SEO of my site.  An index page with 200+ words is one of the criteria.  As far as music on the site, if it’s unobtrusive, I like it.  It adds to the package.  I’d like to incorporate it into my site–with the option, of course, to turn it off.

What do you think?   Flash site?