Maria Williams-Russell Art Blog
by art_review , June 12, 2007—12:00 AM
An artwork__™s title is different than a its description. In your online studio, we give you a place to title your work and a place to describe your work. You may want the name of your artwork to be ___The Leap___, for example, which is perfectly fine for a title, but for a description, you__™ve got to get more specific.
Describe the subject matter of your art in detail. Let__™s say ___The Leap___ is a landscape painting, with a red covered bridge that you painted outside in Minnesota in fall, and there__™s a bullfrog crossing the road. In your description, you want to say all of that concisely. Like, ___Painting of a red covered bridge in Minnesota with fall foliage and a frog jumping on the road.___
The reason is that hardly anyone is going to type in ___The Leap___ into a search engine when looking for a painting. Instead, they might type in ___Painting with frog___, or ___Minnesota foliage painting___, or ___Painting of Covered bridge___, ___Fall Foliage Painting___, ___Bullfrog Painting___. You get the idea. The descriptions should contain the words that best describe the artwork in detail. That way the person searching for any of those things has a greater chance of finding your painting and deciding if it__™s what they are looking for. ___The Leap___ as a description will, quite frankly, get you nothing.
Landscape paintings are relatively easy to describe in succinct language. But, what about an abstract painting? What if the entire painting is a swirl of blue and yellow paint and you call it ___Study #2___? The same idea applies, but you have to be specific in a different way. You may want to consider how you would describe your piece to a lay person. I will take stab at it: ___Contemporary abstract expressionistic oil painting in blue and yellow. Modern, vibrant art.___ In this case, style and genre are important as are the colors and the few descriptive words.
!IMAGE146!The idea is that there are strong words that best describe your art and there are weak words. The word ___nude___ is very strong on the Internet, but unless you__™ve got a nude in your art, I__™d stay away from it! False advertising will do you no good. You might get people coming to see your piece by describing it as a ___surrealist Dali nude with lemons___ but when all you__™ve got is a still life with lemons, they__™re not going to buy and you__™ve wasted everybody__™s time.
Titling your listing on eBay runs on the exact same principles. While you can still have the title of your piece be ___The Leap___, don__™t put it in your listing title. It doesn__™t belong there. The eBay title is about getting as many of your strong, descriptive words into the allotted character space as possible. This is slightly different than your website description. On eBay, you have to be really concise and consider how someone might look for artwork like yours.
So, back to ___The Leap___, the painting with the frog and the covered bridge. You would have to use the word ___painting___ to begin with because eBay sells everything in the world. So by using the word ___painting___ you__™ve narrowed the field quite a bit. Still, there are a lot of paintings on eBay, some from artists like you, others from random people selling paintings off their walls or something. I__™ve seen some eBay listings with the word ___original___ in the title to describe a piece of art being sold by the artist, but I__™m not sure how strong that word is. It seems to me if someone is looking for a painting with a covered bridge, they would take it with or without the title of ___original___ " all paintings were original at some point. But I digress. How about, ___Painting of Minnesota covered bridge w/ frog and fall foliage.___ Remember, that small words like ___with___, ___of___, and ___and___ don™t matter in the search engine world, so sometimes just leaving them out makes for more room for more powerful words.If there were room, I might stick in the word ___landscape___ since sometimes people just like a good landscape painting and would be willing to browse some. Also avoid words like ___one of a kind___, ___unique___ because then you are entering the antiques arena. ___Fine art___ works though. Again, you get the idea. I would also suggest a trip to eBay to see how other artists are titling their work for more ideas.
Once someone clicks into your listing on eBay, you can say anything about your piece you want. Tell them the title, the dimensions, the inspiration for painting it, your life story, whatever you think would sell it. Just be sure that everything you say about it is true and that the picture you provide is a real representation of the original piece. You don__™t want any returns or unhappy customers.
I encourage the artists on this site to go back through your studios and make any adjustments to your descriptions that will help it gain more targeting viewers. And sell on eBay too. It costs nothing to send your piece out into the eBay world from here. Who knows, you might sell something quicker than you thought.
The artwork used in this article is from member artists, David Hasler. and Peter Kitchell. Maria Williams-Russell is the Minds Island Editor-In- Chief and has worked as a web marketing consultant for art related websites for the last five years. She is also currently working on her MFA in Poetry at Goddard College. If you are interested in writing for Minds Island, please contact Maria for submission guidelines at firstname.lastname@example.org