Friday, December 30, 2011

A Few New Features...

I have recently added three new small, but useful, features to DPW:

1. Gallery links on commenter's name
Now, any new comments on paintings added by members after Dec 29th will link to the commenter's DPW Gallery. Simply click on the commenter's name (in blue) in the comments window that pops-up when you click on the little comment counter to the right of an artist's name under a painting thumbnail and the commenter's DPW Gallery will open in another tab or window.

This new feature makes it easier for you to view and comment on the paintings of members who comment on yours!

2. Yearly Totals on the Art Tracking grid
With a hat tip to the tax season, you can now see your Year to Date and Previous Year sales totals at the top left of your Art Tracking grid. These are in addition to the existing Current Month, Last Month, and the Last 30 Days totals.

Here is what is included in those totals: All your paintings in DPW without auctions you have marked as sold that also have a non-zero price in the price column. And, all your paintings in DPW with eBay or DPW Auctions that have at least one bid even if the auction hasn't ended yet. The price of these paintings with auctions is automatically set by DPW to the current high bid of the auction. Keep in mind that this will increase over time if new bids are placed. The reason for this is with an auction, the current high bid can be considered the effective sale price at that point in time.

3. Re-Notify button on the My Auction page
Now you can resend the email, as needed, that notifies the winning bidder on your DPW Auctions by simply clicking the new re-notify button on your my Auctions page.

As an aside, keep in mind the PayPal page and link to it (in the notify email and on the auction page for the winner) is an optional convenience provided by DPW to your buyers, however you are not required to have your buyers use it. Since all purchases in DPW are completely between you and the buyer, you can accept payment in any way you wish.

Often for example, it is necessary to consolidate the purchase of several paintings by one buyer into one payment with one custom charge for shipping & handling. This can be done simply by manually invoicing your buyer directly through your PayPal account for the appropriate amount.

Happy New Year!

- David

Monday, December 5, 2011

Issue with Broken Images on DPW

Fortunately, Amazon has come through and resolved the issue!


DPW pays for an image storage service from Amazon, which is supposed to be absolutely reliable.

Unfortunately, that is not currently the case and some images may appear broken. To complicate things, it is different images, depending on where you live.

Amazon is aware of the issue and is working on a solution.

I appreciate your patience.

- David

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Now, Comments Everywhere!

We have long allowed comments on the paintings submitted to the challenges. I love the comments because I see they have helped create connections between our artists and buyers.

So, to have more of a good thing, I have just rolled out the ability to comment on all paintings everywhere on the site.

Here's how it works:

The little gray box to the right of the artist's name under the thumbnail of their painting shows how many comments there are for that particular painting. To view or add comments, simply click the little box.

Alternatively, you can click on the painting to open it larger in the pop-up and then click on the "X Comments" link in orange to the right of the painting near the bottom.

When you do comment, the artist will receive an email with your comment.

The artist will not be able to reply by email, though. Instead, the artists will be able to reply by leaving follow up comments.

- David

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Daily Paintworks Improvements...

I am always looking for ways to improve the site. Over and over again I have been reminded that one of the best ways to attract new and returning traffic is to have a site that is very dynamic.

Unfortunately, our front page, which had shown the most recent work of all our featured artists, was not, since on average only 1 out of 5 of our featured artists posted a new painting on a given day.

To increase how dynamic the front page is, Daily Paintworks will now show what was posted on the previous day, with the featured artists on top followed by the general members. The front page will now always show what's new.

You will still be able to click on the "Featured Artists" link to view the latest work of all of the featured artists, and click the "Search All Art" link to easily search through all our art.

One thing this means is our general members will now be able to be on the front page simply by posting. And, they can increase their exposure by posting often.

- David

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Listen to Carol and I on Artists Helping Artists Radio

Carol and I will be interviewed by Dreama Tolle Perry and Leslie Saeta on the show, Artists Helping Artists, today at 11 am central time.

You can listen to us talk about the fire, our new home in Eugene Oregon, painting, and DPW live here, or hear the recorded conversation, after the interview, here.

- David

Sunday, October 16, 2011

A New Well Publicized Fundraiser

Thank you to those who participated in the Help the Children of Africa fundraiser.

We are beginning a new fundraiser to help the aid organization Every Mother Counts and we are very excited about the opportunities we have to promote and bring traffic to it.

Here is a copy of the email I sent out earlier that explains many of the details:
We have an important opportunity for the Daily Paintworks community and we need your help.

Our latest fundraiser is for a very worthy cause, Every Mother Counts, and is a collaboration between DPW artist Kristina Laurendi Havens, and one of the most popular blogs in the world - (Heather Armstrong) - with over 3.5 million page views/month.

Every Mother Counts is a non-profit dedicated to combating maternal mortality worldwide and creating tangible, concrete projects that truly work. It was co-founded by Christy Turlington, who directed the award-winning film, No Woman, No Cry.

Read the back story and links on the challenge page itself.

The theme for the challenge is Mom and is open-ended to encourage participation. Your painting can be anything within the general theme of Mom. And as always with the fundraising challenges, please feel free to submit paintings you already have.

When publicizes the fundraiser in the next of couple weeks, it will result in a big jump in traffic to DPW. As an example of this, when Heather ( wrote a week ago about Kristina's five paintings she is donating to the cause, our traffic increased from about 4,700 to 6,900 unique visitors a day for several days.

That being said - we can't raise money if we don't have paintings to sell - which is where you come in. Your participation is important and very much appreciated. It would be great to get as many paintings submitted to the challenge as quickly as possible.

We will be getting traffic from three new sources for this fundraiser:
Please consider submitting a painting for this fundraiser to help it become a big success!

Whether or not you are able to participate, please help promote the fundraiser through your blog, website, Facebook page, friends, and family.
We would love to have your participation!

- Carol and David

Friday, September 16, 2011


I have been in Eugene Oregon looking for a house since Monday and just signed a contract earlier today. We are very excited - our new home is in the hills of South Eugene, in the Crest Drive neighborhood, on 3/4 of an acre city lot. The house itself is a 3 bedroom single story home built like a tank in 1957. The clap board siding is 1" thick solid wood! It needs a little paint and all new appliances, but under the berber carpet is old oak flooring in perfect condition.

Best of all, in addition to the three bedrooms, it has a 21' x 14' room, with two opposing walls of windows and a fireplace, that will be a new perfect studio for Carol. The studio is right off the living room so I can drop in and bug her even more easily than before! There is also a new hot tub right outside the studio on the deck in which Carol can drink her wine after a long day of painting.

We will start driving to Eugene with our VW, Ford truck, and camper next Saturday and will be closing on the house on Oct 5th.

Thank you again for all your support and for the extraordinarily generous fundraiser that helped make this possible.

- David

Friday, September 9, 2011

Our Plans

Eleven years ago, when Carol and I met, we made plans to move to Oregon in ten years, when my youngest daughter Maddie would be 16. Maddie, her mom, Jennifer, Carol, and I all lived in Austin and we figured when she was 16 she could either live with us or enjoy the adventure of going back and forth.

Along the way, our plans changed. At the peak of the real estate bubble we feared not only  would we never be able to afford land in Oregon, but that if we didn't buy something soon, we wouldn't be able to afford land anywhere. So, we looked for and found affordable and beautiful land and bought 25 acres in Missouri - 15 minutes from Joplin. Hmm.

Then, about three years ago, while Carol was teaching at a workshop, I thought up the idea of selling our too large suburban home just outside of Austin and buying a smaller home in a rural neighborhood near Austin. That way we could have both our country dream and I could continue to be close to my daughter. I found the perfect place in Bastrop and we fell deeply in love with our little country home in the piney woods of central Texas. I was also able to survive a summer of 105 degree days and build Carol's perfect studio.

Well, now our plans have come completely and unexpectedly full circle and we have decided to leave Texas and move to Oregon. And, Maddie and her mom, Jennifer, who is one of Carol's and my closest friends, are coming with us!

On one hand we have lost a home and place, and in many ways a life style, we adored. On the other hand we have been given the opportunity to jump back and fulfill our original dream and move to one of the most gorgeous places on earth - where it rains! This wouldn't have happened without the fire and so I have experienced first hand our amazing human capacity to feel two completely opposing emotions at once.

I want to thank everyone who has sent us such kind and loving support through phone calls, emails, and comments. We are also profoundly grateful, beyond words, for the money raised in the fundraiser that my ex-wife and Maddie's mother, Jennifer, began. I want everyone to know that the money raised will be set aside to build a new perfect studio for Carol!

I can never say it enough - thank you.

- David

Thank You

I have been slow getting back in front of my computer and finding the words to express the profound gratitude I feel.

Carol and I are still in shock and often fall into, what I call, the 1,000 mile stare. We have, however been sustained and lifted up by the outpouring of love, concern, and support from everyone. I sit here with my heart full, but my mind empty of appropriate words. All I can think is Thank You, over and over again.

- David

Sunday, September 4, 2011

A New Beginning

We experienced some tragedy today. There was a massive forest fire in our home town of Bastrop, which is still raging and threatening the entire town. Unfortunately, we have lost our house, everything in it, and Carol's beloved studio that I spent a year building.

We are all fine, though, and I had enough time to grab the truck and hook up the camper after Carol drove off with Jacob in the VW. So, we are in Austin in our new 24' long home safe and sound.

I am grateful that I have DPW to continue to grow and improve and am comforted to know that so many of you are out there using it.

No worries - this is the beginning of a new adventure.

- David

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Help Us Help the Children of Africa

We are extremely proud of what over 1,500 artists and buyers accomplished through our Help Japan Challenge in March of this year. In only one month, we raised almost $30,000.

We are beginning a new challenge of the heart to help the hundreds of thousands of starving children in Africa due to a devastating drought. We are honored to be able to set this up and then step out of the way and watch with profound gratitude as so many pull out their paints, brushes, and wallets and give so wonderfully.

Click here to go to and read about the challenge and view and bid on the entries.

Please help us spread the word about this fundraiser far and wide. Post it on your Facebook page, your website, your blog, and email and tweet all your family, friends, and patrons.

Thank you,

- Carol and David

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Auction Ending Soon Emails sent in Error

Many of you have received emails claiming your auction is ending soon, when in fact it isn't.

Please forgive me for this issue.

While deploying a new feature to let folks know that an auction is ending in 30 minutes, I made an error that disregarded the date in the calculation.

Please know there is no issue at all with your auction - their ending dates have not changed. Only the email you received is in error.

I have corrected the issue and you should not see these erroneous emails again.

I appreciate your understanding.

- David

Thursday, August 18, 2011

New Improvements - Faster and where are the Challenges?

So, after more twiddling, I have sped up the loading of the search mode of the Featured, All, and The Day's Art pages.

I have also added a new Notification bar at the very top of the site. In addition to it being the new home for the Facebook like button and, now, the new Twitter and Google +1 buttons, the notification bar will be used to deliver member and buyer targeted messages.

Also, I have moved, once again, the link to the challenges. I have done this, not just to keep you all on your toes, but because I have received feedback that artists have sold work through the challenges. For this reason, I have moved the link back down to the buyer-focused main menu.

- David

Sunday, August 7, 2011

More Improvements - Faster Loading and Even More Art Per Page

I spent the day ripping, gutting, tearing, and generally delicately tweaking the code that generates the pages with the painting thumbnails, and was able to squeeze so much more performance out of them that I have bumped the per-page painting count from 60 up to 100. The Day's Art page, however still shows 150 per page. This will show more artists at a time before requiring buyers to go to the next page of paintings.

Please let me know if you don't see a net increase in the speed of loading of the Featured, Art, and The Day's Art pages.

- David

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Improvement - Showing More on Each Page of The Day's Art

I have increased the number of paintings I show on the first page of The Day's Art page from 60 to 150.

This will help everyone have a better chance to be viewed.

I will leave the other pages at 60 paintings per page for performance reasons.

- David

New Feature - Quick Search by Artist

I have had feedback that buyers have gone to the Featured Art page looking for a general member, opened the search bar, clicked the Artist button, and could not find the artist. The reason for this is the Artist search button in the search bar near the top of each page only searches through the artists on that page.

Well, I don't want to stand in the way of buyers finding you, so now, there is now an artist drop-down in the Quick Search sidebar that will find you no matter where you are. If the buyer is on the Featured Art page and they search for a general member, then they will be taken to the All Art page with the artwork for that artist.

Please, keep the suggestions coming - many of my best ideas come from our members and buyers!

- David

Friday, August 5, 2011

An Update on PR

Thank you to all who posted comments and sent me emails with suggestions and advice about PR and my idea of enlisting our members to help.

I have newly realized two things: 1. Our members are too busy painting to worry about helping DPW with PR; and 2. I have a lot of experience developing websites, but not so much with PR.

So, I have retained the PR services of Jennifer Marine, the owner, is the same Jennifer that offers very effective online interactive classes on setting up your blog, a Facebook page, and whatever else you need to get started or improve your online marketing. Many of our members have taken her classes and have given her rave testimonials. I wholeheartedly recommend her classes. She even offers free newbie online videos and an cheap newbie class for those still learning the basics of computers and the internet.

For those of you who have noted that Jennifer, Carol, and I all have the same last name, it is because Jennifer is my ex-wife and one of my and Carol's dearest friends. Lucky me that she can help me with PR!

I'll continue to post here and keep you all up-to-date with our progress.

- David

New Site Stats Link

I have added a Site Stats link to the top menu of DPW, off on the right. If you click on it, you will see the unique visitor and the total visits counts for the previous day, which is the latest day with complete stats.

I have found Google Analytics and sites like and to be wildly inaccurate, some way too high and others too low. So instead, I wrote code to log the access myself, which is absolutely precise.

So now, along with being able to track your own stats in your my paintworks statistics page, you can also see how the site is doing overall.

Here's a screenshot of the Site Stats pop-up:

- David

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Crowdsourcing Publicity, cont.

One of our members kindly pointed out that it would likely be a journalistic, if not ethical, breach for stories to be solicited on our behalf by our members and visitors, if we pay them.

I can see this and so am clarifying and evolving the idea. This is why I am blogging about this, so I can receive ideas and feedback, and then improve the approach, as needed.

So, here is version 2.0: DPW would pay for anyone who gives us a media contact that results in a story with appropriate national exposure. In this way, we write the proposal, solicit the story, and then pay the person who provided the contact - there is no conflict.

It has been suggested that we hire a PR firm. Well, it may come to that. However, we have always envisioned DPW being very affordable. The trade-off of course, is there isn't a lot of money to spend on paid-for advertising and PR.

As I said in my previous post, I am a big believer in what a large group can get done, and DPW, now at about 450 artists, is a fairly large group.

As always, your feedback is welcomed.

- David

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Crowdsourcing Publicity

"Crowdsourcing is the act of outsourcing tasks, traditionally performed by an employee or contractor, to an undefined, large group of people or community (a "crowd"), through an open call."

I've been thinking a lot about  publicity for DPW lately. My understanding is having contacts in the media this profoundly important and that is why companies hire publicists. Unfortunately, what I don't have is contacts.

At the same time, I am a big believer in what large groups of people, such as all of you, can do, such as with the Help Japan Challenge, which raised over $30,000 in a relatively short time.

So, I am working on a plan to put out a call to our members and all our visitors to help DPW by getting articles and news stories about us in major publications, such as USA Today, Time, News Week, NPR, Network TV, etc., in exchange for payment for each story.

The idea is, to be considered, participants would email us with the target publication and the story proposal. Then, with approval, anyone whose efforts resulted in a story of a certain significance (yet to be determined) would receive a cash reward. At some point, we would stop, for the time being, accepting any more proposals, depending on the success of the over all undertaking.

What do you think? I welcome your feedback!

- David

Monday, July 25, 2011

The Traffic Report

After one week in the wild, our first ad on has delivered just over 1,100 clicks. This seems pretty good to me, given that the demographic of Design*Sponge is very much tailored to DPW, and many of these folks are likely to subscribe to the daily email and return day after day.

In continuing the good news, our traffic has also made a big jump in the last couple weeks, from a hovering average of around 2,700 to now over 5,100! We are talking about unique visitors a day.  Not only is that a very big jump, but it is quite a lot of folks. The biggest gain in traffic has been from all the blogs linked to us, followed by Facebook (got to love them), and then finally our well-qualified visitors through our new ad.

While I continue to let the ad simmer, I am going to move on and start working on some press releases. I was successful this last June in getting a full page article in Professional Artist Magazine (formerly Art Calendar) and so will continue my PR work. A good article in a large publication is worth so much more than an ad, and it is free to boot!

- David

Friday, July 22, 2011

New Currency Converter

More and more, artists from all over the world are joining us and buyers from all over are buying.

To support them I have added a currency conversion widget to both the painting pop-up window and the DPW Auction page.

- David

New Featured Artists

I am proud to announce our new featured artists:

Roger Akesson, Theresa Bayer, Debra Becks Cooper, Carolee Clark, Rita Curtis, Jinghua Gao Dalia, Tatsiana Mikhailava, Cathleen Rehfeld, Monique Straub, Faith Te, Tilen Ti

Originally, back in the early days of DPW II, say around this last Jan, we had intended to take submissions from anyone and everyone for joining the featured artist group. I am very happy to say that because of the overwhelming amount of talent among our general members, we have been able to select all our new featured artists from our general membership.

At this point, our target is to have about 50 permanent featured artists, with the goal being serving up the optimal plate of terrific art on the Featured Art page - not too many and not too few. I feel like a kid in a candy store, though - it is hard to stop inviting!

- David

Germany and Sophie

As those that follow my wife, Carol's, blog already know, we have been in Germany since July 5th. The quick back-story is I was adopted from Germany in 1965 and found my non-English speaking German birth-parents about three years ago. We visit once or twice a year -so far six times - and are gradually improving our German all the while.

It is startlingly beautiful here in the Black Forest, in the south-western-most corner of Germany. You simply have to just stop and be dumb-founded several times a day. And what's strange, is we are surrounded by people that actually live here and just go about their daily business. Is a daily commute simply a commute if it's through paradise?

So, this talk about our time here in Germany gives me a chance to introduce my oldest daughter, Sophie, who as our first employee, has been helping me tremendously as our full-time front-line support person. She is still learning on the job, and has to pass some issues on to me here and there, however she is smart, sweet, kind, and is really dedicated to helping. Thank you Sophie.

- David

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Advertising Status Report

I think the ad is performing well. The first two full days have generated just over 300 clicks. While this may not sound like a lot, keep in mind, this is from a demographic that is a very good fit for DPW and these folks may return day after day!

Further, after much tweaking of the search interface, including adding the Quick Search sidebar,  I am seeing a significant uptick (10 fold) in the number of visitors that are searching vs. simply viewing the default pages. In fact there are more searches, now, than simple default views.


- David

A Further Change in the Daily Email

After feedback from buyers and collectors, I have modified the layout of the Daily Email, once again, with the goal to maximize traffic to DPW. The featured artists are now at the top of the Daily Email, followed by the general members. Additionally, and again, to maximize traffic, the featured artists are also now at the top of The Day's Art page. Please keep in mind that the featured artists generate much traffic for DPW, and pay more than general members.

Based upon the feedback from buyers and collectors in the short time this has been the case, it seems to have been a good thing to do.

- David

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The New Ad is Up and Please Enter Your Prices

The first ad of the new, expanded DPW is now live! You can see it here.

One important bit of feedback I have been hearing lately, is that buyers want to see your prices. They are frustrated to have to contact you just to see how much a painting costs.

So, even if DPW is auto-pulling from your blog, please go to your Art Tracking grid each day and enter in your price. However, if you are using DPW Auction, there is no need to, as the starting bid serves as the price until bids are placed.


- David

Monday, July 11, 2011

The First Ad is Done!

Well, the ad is finally done and will appear in beginning next Monday.
There are three different versions, each with four different rotating images. The challenge was to fit the four images within an animated gif with a size under the blog's 60k limit.
Here's one:

Saturday, July 9, 2011

A Change in the Daily Email

Starting tomorrow morning, the daily email will contain the work from all our artists for the previous posting day, instead of just the featured artists.
I think this will make the email more compelling as it will include many paintings and not just a few.

- David

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Getting Ready to Advertise

You may have noticed the recent changes to DPW, some subtle, some big, such as the new buyer friendly DPW Auctions landing page. All are intended to focus and present DPW as more of a place to come, explore, and buy great fine art, than just a community of wonderful artists, which DPW will always be.

My wife, Carol, being an artist, and myself being a software artist, or at least I like to think, well, it has been easy to craft a website with the artist in mind these past four years.

Now, the challenge is to get into the perspective of the buyer and make it clear what DPW is all about - a place to buy great art.

You can all help by doing what you can to promote DPW - post about you being part of the group in your blogs and add the DPW widgets, if you haven't, post to Facebook, like other folk's paintings, and tweet, if you must!

The changes are pretty much being wrapped up today. Then, after a 12 hour flight for a month's stay in Germany (after 10 months of non-stop programming, I need a vacation) we will begin advertising as promised. Ready your best work!

Auf wiedersehen!

- David

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Build-a-Blog and Sell your Art Online Course

My and Carol's good friend, and yes it is true, my ex-wife, Jennifer Marine is offering a hands-on, online course on how to set up your blog and use it to show and sell your art.

If things like "RSS Feed URL" or how to create a PayPal link leave your head spinning, then I highly recommend it.

The first one kicks off this weekend and you can read about it and sign up here:

- David

Monday, June 27, 2011

Welcome Back Karin Jurick!

Karin was one of the very first members of DPW. Unfortunately, back then we had a firm policy on frequency of posting. And, because she was, at the time, beginning to focus more on supplying her galleries and so was posting less frequently, she volunteered to fall on her sword, be true to the group's policy, and resigned.

It's a stupid policy that requires such a talented artist and wonderful person to leave. We have learned a lot since then!

Well, she has returned to DPW, and I am thrilled!

- David

Friday, June 24, 2011

Our first Facebook Ad

We are currently giving a Facebook ad a try. We are targeting people in the US, men and women over 30, that like art and art galleries. Facebook tells us this gives us a potential target audience of over 340,000.

We shall see how powerful this thing called Facebook is!

- David

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Advertising Starting Soon

Among the important things we learned during the first 4 years of DPW, was that expensive advertising in print magazines, such as American Art Collector, isn't productive.

First, we don't believe American Art Collector accurately represents the demographic of online buyers of small and affordable fine art. Second, we have found that print advertising just can't compete with the exponentially growing exposure that comes from offering a great site with a growing web of link-backs and social media word of mouth.

We believe the best place to advertise is online on heavily trafficked social websites. So, we will begin advertising on a couple very high traffic interior design blogs (one of which,, gets 90,000 hits a day) in about a week or two.  These blogs have the same demographics as readers of Martha Stewart's and Oprah's magazines - older afluent buyers looking to decorate their homes. This is the perfect demographic for buying small affordable art online.

- David

Our Approach

In the world of online art communities and galleries, we are trying something new.

Many artists have told us if we don't limit and jury the DPW membership then we will become like all the rest: just another big website of low quality art.

Well first, I must say that Carol and I are both excited by the talent of our new members. Second, what we have seen, especially in the world of daily painting, is a proliferation of exclusive, high quality, small boutique websites and not big sites full of bad art.

With only 12 artists, this is what DPW was for over 4 years. The most important thing we learned during that time was, while artists love to belong to a small exclusive group, buyers want selection.

So, that is what we are going to give them. Our approach is to offer buyers a large and varied, ever changing selection of original fine art and - this is important - provide easy to use and powerful search tools so they can quickly find what they want, mark artists as favorites, and follow their work. This, is what will keep buyers coming back day after day.

Think of it this way: would you rather have many small NetFlix websites, each with a small limited selection? We wouldn't either.

Follow this link to read more about our approach:

- David

First Post - Welcome!

I want take a moment to welcome all of our new members - we are currently at 234 artists and growing!

So, welcome - we are very happy to have you all!

As our group has grown, I have realized that I need  a way to easily communicate with our members. Well, nothing is much better for that than a blog!

What you won't read here is me pontificating about art or art marketing. Instead, this is where I can tell you about what's new and what's coming on DPW.

If you are a member, please be sure to subscribe to this blog so you will be up to date with what is and what will be happening on Daily Paintworks!

- David