The Ray McSharry.com website
Updates On Progress
An overview of where we are and, for those interested, what we were thinking as we developed the website. It’s now relatively stable (with a few minor cosmetic changes planned) and gives Ray a good blogging platform with a generous amount of supporting material (all of which is copyright, so please ask Ray before you use any of it).
Ray now has a new blogging site in addition to this one. And he’s off on a course to see if he can become even better at blogging.
When he is 100% happy with the results we will put a link on here.
Meanwhile we will continue to develop this website. Eventually, hopefully early in 2019, they will be merged into a single website.
Hopefully this will result in more frequent and less formal blog posts from Ray although the idea of “Easy Watercolour Projects” and sundry information on “Watercolour Techniques” is set to continue.
I (Admin) met with Ray again to discuss plans for the website for next month and for and the New Year. Some far-reaching decisions were taken. Basically the whole website will get a make-over early on in the New Year. Exciting stuff! We have had a good year in 2018 and we want to build on it but at the same time take on board what we have learned and take a slightly different direction. Hopefully this will be unobtrusive to any regular viewers who are using the website and finding it useful. More details with the full December update in a few days.
September / October 2018
From a technical point of view, it was satisfying for us to be able to convert the website from an http:// version to a secure https:// version.
From the user point of view, you may notice a longer (but hopefully still entertaining and engaging) Home page. In particular we added some video clips of the amazing contemporary watercolour artists Chien Chung Wei and Joseph Zbukvic which aim to give the viewer some idea of the amazing depths and versatility of watercolour painting. Our “Watercolour Artists” section still needs to be updated in many ways. It has however been split into three sections: Contemporary Artists, Past Masters, and Popular Artists. Updating and adding pages (e.g. for Chien Chung Wei) individual artists is a task on our bucket list.
Another major development, one adding to user satisfaction if you are an aspiring watercolour painter, is the development of our “Easy Watercolour Projects” section. In these pages Ray tackles popular watercolour projects and shows how he develops a painting step-by-step. Novices can follow along stage by stage from the initial pencil sketch to a finished watercolour painting. feedback would be much appreciated!
We have also installed a plugin (Smush) to compress the images on the website and therefore make it more responsive for users viewing it on a mobile device.
Users can now self-register to the site by using the Meta tag on the Blog pages. This is a recent (but long-planned) development. We will be saying more about this shortly by which time we will have thought through the contents of a monthly, or quarterly, newsletter which people may wish to have, one that says something useful and interesting rather than being spam heading rapidly for the trash can.
We have edited quite a few pages (and deleted a few where we thought there was unnecessary “bloat”) particularly in the “Watercolour Techniques” section.
Editing of the Techniques section continues. We have hit on a reasonable scheme whereby we introduce various techniques and describe in a fair amount of detail what happens in a session during discussion of such a technique. A blog post then alerts viewers t its existence with a shorter description and there is a link to the relevant techniques page.
Technique 5 – Shimmering Water – was added since the last update and techniques 1 to 4 have been back-filled. Expect more of these posts in future with more detail. A potential problem is that many techniques artists use have no standard or commonly agreed names but we expect our readership to be savvy enough to latch on to the described ideas.
Future plans extend to including “Exercises” in the Techniques section – small items that don’t make a painting in themselves but are worth practising: painting small boats, people, foliage etc.
“Techniques 6” exists but has not been written up yet.
Following a chance remark by Ray during our session at Fairlop Water, in Essex, UK, about the artist Edgar Whitney, we realised that we did not have him included in the Artists section, and this has now been remedied.
Ray’s remark was about the fact that he was an inspirational teacher. Click on the link to see our new Edgar Whitney page. We have also added a link to his popular book: “Complete Guide to Watercolor Painting” in the Links to Books section. (Note that the link is set up for the UK version of Amazon but US users will have little difficulty using their own version).
In discussing our omission, Ray also remarked that Whitney’s main gift was to try to try to break down the process of painting into a handful of elements and that it might be useful if he were to elaborate further on this set of elements. Maybe this is a cue for a future overhaul of the techniques section?
For genuine visitors of the website, this page is simply to give an overview of the development of the Ray McSharry.com website and some idea of how it might change in the short-term future. An open-invitation to call back later if you don’t immediately find what you are looking for.
Suggestions for website improvements will be welcomed by both Ray and by myself in my capacity as webmaster.
The Home and About sections are reasonably complete with no major changes planned until 2019.
The Watercolour Techniques sections are (loosely) based on a previously existing website that Ray had constructed for the purpose of helping up-and-coming watercolour painters. This is crucial to our vision of a website that we see as genuinely useful for our local community and, eventually, to the internet community at large. Currently this is undergoing a major re-write and to be completed this year.
The Watercolour Projects section will also undergo a re-write although this will take us into 2019. This is an exciting development with the aim of taking several of the existing watercolour projects and breaking them down into bite-sized pieces so that users of the website can follow them and paint along in stages which will hopefully make the website useful to hobbyists who wish to develop their watercolour skills independently.
The Inspirational Watercolour Artists section will in due course be edited and revised and several more useful Links added. Very importantly, Ray’s collection of watercolour art that he offers For Sale will be edited and expanded so that soon (this year hopefully but next year for certain) Ray will be able to offer on here all of the art that he currently sells on his Etsy site plus more (and we are considering offering a small discount to Subscribers and Contributors to this website).
All in all it’s a tall order. But the project is exciting and it’s very rewarding to be involved in a community-based project. Keep looking in to the website for developments. Or, better still, join us!
Original Aims of the RayMcSharry.com Website
This is one of several websites that Ray uses to promote his watercolour art, and all of the social media sites relating to Ray’s watercolour art are grouped together in the Links to Social Media page. This website concentrates on his activities in teaching various watercolour techniques to his Watercolour Tuition Group in the London Borough of Redbridge.
Most importantly, this is an interactive website and strives to be interactive and aims to include you, the user, both as an admirer of good art and maybe also as a fellow artist.
We hope that you find the website useful and informative and if you do then we would also urge you to become a subscriber whereby we can send you a monthly email update which is important if you wish to know the exact timing and location of the end-of-month beginner painting sessions.
If you are fortunate to live within a reasonable travelling distance of the London Borough of Redbridge then we would be delighted to see you at one of the above-mentioned beginner painting sessions which are both informal and free. For more information follow the link where it is mentioned above.as mentioned above.
This website is being created by Ray in conjunction with members of Ray’s painting group and hence is written with differing narratives. Where Ray’s views are being quoted directly or his experiences recorded in a blog post then a first-person narrative is used. For instructions on how to do things: a second-person narrative is used and finally where a group member comments on Ray’s work or techniques a third-person narrative is used.