As the regular readers of these pages (both of you) have probably noticed, this blog has undergone a major revision. In doing this, there were two goals -- to give a better platform to display the art, and to simplify the page and make it easier to use.Background color
The first step was to switch the background color from white to black. I've always believed that a white background gives a page a cleaner look, but a black background really shows off your art. It's one of the basic rules of color theory. Every color affects the colors near it, and the black background makes the colors in a picture light up. In addition, pictures with black areas at the sides seem to melt into the page, as in the image above demonstrates.
As part of the transition to the dark side, I had to go back to every page in this blog, looking for images that had to be tuned to work against a black background. There were pictures with large white areas that blended in fine when seen against a white background. I filled these areas with black and now they look just fine.
I still believe that informational sites, such as the New York Times, should have a white background. In this case it makes them easier to read. But I think that art looks good against a darker background. In the end, it's you, the viewer, who will have to decide.Text
There are a lot of things you can do with the text on a web page. You can fiddle with typefaces, colors, spacing, font weight, and lots of other things. Some look at this as an opportunity to show off their creativity, but on an art site, you want everything else to just fade into the background while looking at the art.
So just one typeface is used here. It's Helvetica/Arial, a simple, all-purpose face.
As for colors, there is regular text and then there are links. Normally, links are blue for ones you haven't visited, and red for ones you have. People are used to these colors and using them helps to make the web site easy to navigate. Unfortunately, the normal link colors are so dark that they are hard to read against black. I made these colors lighter to make them more visible. The regular text is an off-white, as full white is just a little too bright.
The other fix for text is to allow each page to have its own text width. Setting the text width too wide makes the text difficult to read. Look at the width newspapers and magazines use. I'm still looking for the ideal text width, and I'm a lot closer now.Performance
There was still one puzzle to be solved. Sometimes, one of the pages would begin to load in the browser, then just stop and sit for as long as a minute. The problem was finally traced to a third-party site that I was using to add comments to the page. Every time a page loaded, it tried to contact this site. If they were busy, or the Internet was slow, everything would stop there. So I have removed the comments, for the sake of performance, until I can find another way to add them back. You can still reach me by email through the link in the sidebar at the right, or at the bottom of the page.
I'm very happy with the result. The page has been greatly simplified and a lot of noisy elements removed. Looking at the page now, it's easy to see which items are informational text and which items are links. By sticking to the accepted blue/red convention for links, it's easy to see which pages you've already seen and which are still awaiting your eyes.