Monday, February 22, 2010

First batch of sketchbook drawings now live

I just uploaded the first batch of sketchbook drawings to the Ralph Art Website. You'll find them under Art > Sketchbooks on the dropdown menu.

So far I've scanned over 70 pages (though not all will be sent to the website). This first lot has 27 images, listed under the categories People, Places, Stuff. The next batch will include Children, Cats and Interiors. Given what I do, that almost covers it.

Since I do these primarily for my own amusement, most of these have never been seen before.


Friday, February 19, 2010

The Sketchbooks

As if I don't have enough to distract me, I've decided to scan a bunch of my old sketchbooks/drawing pads. Part of this is for a larger project, part of it is so I can post a section on the Ralph Art Website with images from the sketchbooks. Regardless, I currently have about 25 images scanned, corrected and sized. That's probably a third of what I've got.

Of course not all are fit for public display, but there you are. The majority of them are from about 15 - 20 years ago. Below is a sample drawing, done in Glasgow in 1985 at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Taking risks

After numerous delays (one can always find an excuse not to paint if one wants to) I started a new painting yesterday -- this one in oils.

I got off to an encouraging start.

This is sometimes a dangerous thing, since I've found I'll often start playing it safe after a good start, for fear of screwing the thing up. Often my best pieces emerge from the ashes of a really awful one: once I've reached the point where I feel like I can't make it any worse, I'm ready to do anything. Out of that willingness to take risks comes the exceptional work.

Playing it safe almost always guarantees a mediocre result. Better to take a chance on spectacular failure.

Monday, February 15, 2010

New Mobile version of the Ralph Art Blog

I just finished and uploaded a mobile version of the Ralph Art Blog. It started out being an iPhone specific version but I've added additional simplified generic support to other devices as well. Be warned I'm continuing to tinker with it so things may change somewhat. The URL will not change.

If you are viewing with an iPhone, you can save it as a web app -- I've got an icon prepared.

To get to it, go to:


Monday, February 08, 2010

Ralph Art Website redesign now live

I finished coding the Ralph Art Website redesign over the weekend and posted it to the server this morning. If you see any errors or brokenness, please post a comment to the blog and let me know.

Some of the things I was shooting for:
  • A more simple, cleaner design -- I'd gotten tired of the big brown graphic on the left side. It made the site feel claustrophobic.
  • Cleaner code base -- the previous design's CSS had gotten a little out of hand and was rather spaghetti-like. There's more work to do on this but maintenance will be easier.
  • More mobile friendly -- the new design should play nicer with mobile devices, especially the iPhone. Previously there were numerous display issues.
  • Better integration with the Ralph Art Blog -- I'm using the Google Feeds APIs to pull content out of the blog and re-use it on the site. This makes adding new content really easy.
Still to come: the iPhone / mobile versions of the Ralph Art Blog. These will also use the Google Feeds API to build out the pages.

Saturday, February 06, 2010

Coming soon: yet another facelift

It was only last fall that I gave the Ralph Art Website a facelift and I'm thinking about doing it again.

I've gotten a bit tired of the 1930's vibe that originally inspired the look -- primarily the big posterized view on the left side of the content. Initially I thought it looked sort of cool but now...not so much. It's also a big waste of space.

Some pages (primarily the home page) don't play nice with all browsers. The final factor is I want to be able to make it more mobile device friendly (currently looks like hell in my iPhone) which will entail a big cascading stylesheet revision. So it's back to the drawing board.

This time the redesign won't be quite as radical. I've decided I like the header I knocked out for the re-design of the Ralph Art Blog, so that will replace the current header. I'll also make the content area a little wider. Once I've done that I'm planning to make it so it looks better in mobile devices ("cell phones" for those of you who are not forced to use techno-buzz).

The iPhone version of the blog is close to completion (working on that this weekend) and I hope to have the main site done by next weekend.  Unless I'm inspired to paint, and then who knows.

Keeping my fingers crossed.