Formatting Your Visual Artist CV

Formatting your visual artist CV in WordPress.

Formatting your Curriculum Vitae (CV for short) can be a royal pain using the limited editor features in WordPress. Even with the advanced editor features from TinyMCE there is still no tabbing. You can indent but not between the year and text without creating a return.

This is what I want to do: (screen shot from Word) Notice how the list is indented over from the year. I can not do that in WordPress without using a table.

format visual artist CV

Further more this is what happens if I copy and paste directly from Word: I lose the indentation.

2011 Pulse: Alberta Society of Artists at 80 Years*, Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts, Calgary, AB, Mary-Beth Laviolette Exhibition Curator
Bring the Noise*, Jarvis Hall Fine Art, Calgary, Ab
Juried Members Show, Leighton Center Calgary, Ab
ASA Gallery – Lougheed House, Calgary,  Ab
B&W – DaDe Art & Design Lab, Calgary, Ab

2010 New Members Sculptors Society of Canada, Toronto, On

And if I try to indent in the editor this is what happens: Everything indents and wraps the entire block of text into an indented paragraph. (note that the whole paragraph moves to the right as compared to the one above)

2011Pulse: Alberta Society of Artists at 80 Years*, Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts, Calgary, AB, Mary-Beth Laviolette Exhibition Curator
Bring the Noise*, Jarvis Hall Fine Art, Calgary, Ab
Juried Members Show, Leighton Center Calgary, Ab
ASA Gallery – Lougheed House, Calgary,  Ab
B&W – DaDe Art & Design Lab, Calgary, Ab

2010    New Members- Sculptors Society of Canada, Toronto, On

Solution 1: Stack the entries under the year and get over having indents.

Pulse: Alberta Society of Artists at 80 Years*, Triangle Gallery of Visual Arts, Calgary, AB, Mary-Beth Laviolette Exhibition Curator
Bring the Noise*, Jarvis Hall Fine Art, Calgary, Ab
Juried Members Show, Leighton Center Calgary, Ab
ASA Gallery – Lougheed House, Calgary,  Ab
B&W – DaDe Art & Design Lab, Calgary, Ab

New Members Sculptors Society of Canada, Toronto, On

Solution 2: Use a table as Alyson Glenn has done

2000MFA, University of Calgary, Calgary, Alberta. Support Paper & Exhibition.
1999The Royal College of Art, London, England. Exchange: Printmaking, six weeks.
1998BFA, University of Alberta, Edmonton, Alberta.
1997The Kent Institute of Art and Design, Canterbury, England. Exchange: Painting, four months.

In order to format your CV using a table you need to access the HTML view of this editing task pane. The HTML tab is at the top right next to Visual above this editor.

HTML Tables

Tables are defined with the <table> tag. A table is divided into rows
(with the <tr> tag), and each row is divided into data cells (with the <td> tag). td stands for “table data,” and holds the content of a data cell. A <td> tag can contain text, links, images, lists, forms, other tables, etc.

Table Code Example

<table border=”1″><tr><td>row 1, cell 1</td><td>row 1, cell 2</td></tr><tr><td>row 2, cell 1</td><td>row 2, cell 2</td></tr></table>

How the HTML code above looks in a browser:

row 1, cell 1row 1, cell 2
row 2, cell 1row 2, cell 2

To learn more about table and try it out please visit W3 Schools OR go for Solution #1 as I have done


Make Your Website Content Stronger

A list of ideas to implement and make your website content stronger.

Looking at artists sites I see one thing that strikes me as odd.

Artists are visual people right, image is worth a  thousand words and all that. What I see a lot, are blog posts with out images and portfolio images with out descriptive text.


Make your site stronger by:

  • If you are writing about a process to create a work of art show us images of the process.
  • If you have an image or group of images on the landing page or anywhere in your portfolio tell us in a few sentences what we are looking at. This can be an excerpt from your artist statement and will go a long way in satisfying lay people. 
  • If you are writing a blog post about a specific body of work provide a direct link to your portfolio page that contains all the images on the blog post where you discuss this work and vs
  • If you are posting announcements to events and ask us to go to the event site for further information please provide a link to that website. Also if you list up coming exhibitions please provide us with a link to the gallery.
  • Redundancy: If you had a “News” page but are now posting your news to your blog you can safely remove the News page and transfer the content over to your blog.
  • Try to be more creative than using “Uncategorized” as a blog category. It is the default WordPress category use to catch those posts that do not have a category assigned. If you don’t want to use categories then consider changing the name of “Uncategorized”.  Some clients have used “In General”, “Studio News”, “The Artists Life”. Just go to Categories and rename it.
  • Have you added descriptions to your gallery images; name, medium, size? What if an interior designer visited your site and saw the ideal painting for a client but there was no size and nor could they contact you and ask the size of the piece because there was no name. Um, third image from the left, two rows down is not good.
  • Forgot how to add images to your gallery and stacking single images on top throwing off the entire layout of the page? Please review “gallery management”
  • Most artist sites will have a page called “Events” or “Exhibits” used to list current or upcoming shows. In WordPress your pages can be removed from the menu if there aren’t any current events. Better not to have it in the menu than have people land on a blank page.  If you don’t want to remove it from the menu stick an image on the page and tell visitors that there aren’t any events at the moment and invite them to check back.
  • Has the same image been on your home page for 3 years? Returning visitors may think you haven’t created any new work and your site has become stale.  Switch out your images from time to time – keep it fresh.
  • Consider using an image of yourself on your Biography page. Yes as an artist you identify with your work but your collectors and potential collectors want to know the real you. It doesn’t have to be a professional portrait, a shot of you in the studio is pretty cool. Have a look at Eleanor Lowden Pidgeon’s Bio page.
  • Thought that you would really get into blogging or use the blog to post news but haven’t posted anything since December 2008.  Get rid of the blog and just use a page and call it News.
  • Do you have a new and exciting announcement like an instructional video. Use your home page to create a link and say a few words. Rex Beanland does this well.
  • Calendars on your blog are meant to highlight the days that you have created new posts. Consider removing the calendar from your sidebar if your post frequency is rare and there aren’t any highlighted dates on the calendar.
  • Use your home page to promote an upcoming show complete with an image and show details. This is good use of your home page, keep it fresh with new content BUT remember to remove the event when it is over. People coming to your site will see that the exhibit was 6 months ago, that is stale content.
  • Typically I set up your portfolio with generic names if you don’t have proper series names. It will mean more to your visitors if you categorize your work and name your galleries accordingly.
  • If you have exhibition images with people in them post them. It’s great to see people interact with your art. Have a look at Liz Sullivan’s site as an example. Liz uses a page called Recent Exhibitions but you could also do this in a blog post.
  • Do people have at least two ways to contact you? Email and a phone number.
  • Is all your contact information on your contact page? Where are you in the world? It is called the World Wide Web after all and you will get visitors from everywhere would it not be nice to tell them where you live. It doesn’t have to be a full street address but why not something like: “Jane Doe Artist works out of her studio in “city name”.
  • If you use archives which lists the months and years that you have posted to your blog and you only have 2 and they are two years apart consider not using archives in your sidebar.
  • Have you remembered to resize your images for the web? You have 8 seconds before your visitor gives up and leave because your image is taking too long to load.

Your readers will appreciate it and so will search engines. Really!

If you have any questions I’d be happy to help. Email me 


Pages Vs Posts

writing blog posts

Understanding the difference between pages and posts

Before we start working on your site, it’s important to have a clear understanding of the difference between pages and posts:

Pages are usually those which have a static purpose in life. For example an artist statement, bio, CV, Gallery pages or a contact forms. They do not usually contain information about news items, for example, which are added to the site on a regular basis. Pages are generally defined so that they are always accessible from the front page. Some people build entire sites with just Pages – this is especially the case for sites with little need for dynamic content and is very popular with small businesses and us; the artist.

Posts usually contain semantically and chronographically arranged information – for example, news reports, event results, and of course blog entries! The semantic structure is defined by categories and tags, and whilst making it easy for people to navigate your site will also help search engines to understand the content of your site and so improve the relevance of search results.


Clear Your Browser Cache

How to clear your browser cache and refresh the browser.

When I am working with a client and make changes to their site I ask them to clear your browser’s cache and refresh the browser so they can see the changes.

Refreshing the browser just reloads the page.

Look for a circle with an arrow on the end of it. Usually it is up by the address bar, right or left and looks something like these examples.
refresh the browserrefresh the browser

When changing a background or header image you may need to refresh twice and/or clear your browser’s cache.

Clearing your browser’s cache removes temporary internet files from your computer.

Every time you visit a website your browser stores the pages on your local computer in a temporary file. This enables quick loading of the pages when you revisit a website.

But when you are working on your site and go to view your changes and see that nothing has changed – it can be a bit freaky. You say to yourself I know I did that right or I thought I did.

First thing to do before you go back and change anything is to clear your browser’s cache. It is good practice anyway and if you have never done it you may find it helps your computer to speed up.

clear your browser's cache
Example from FireFox. Go to Tools and select “clear recent history”.

Clearing your browser’s cache will remove the stored pages from the temporary file on your hard drive. Every browser has a slightly different process to do this.

This article from WikiHow covers the procedure for several browsers on how to Clear Your Browser’s Cache

Now clear your browser’s cache and refresh your browser and you can see all your hard work (and mine).


Retain Line Breaks

How to retain line breaks and single spaces in WordPress text content

Here’s a trick to maintain the single spacing when pasting from a Word doc. In Word we call it single spacing in HTML we call it line breaks. Either way all we want to do is keep the tight spacing.

WARNING: Word is meant for print media and depending on how you have your content formatted using this method can break your post and add a bunch of Word formatting that can not be read by browsers. Use with caution!

I have tried the “Paste as Plain Text” and “Paste from Word” both add an extra line between lines. I have tried checking the box to retain line breaks with the “Paste as Plain” text command – still an extra line. Pasting directly into the Visual Editor doesn’t work either. This is what I get with all 3 methods:

Retain line breaks in WordPress editor
Pasted directly into the Visual Editor

What I could do to get rid of the extra line is to place my cursor at the end of each line and hit delete on my keyboard. This will bring the line below up in line with the one above, then use shift + enter to take it down for single spacing. If you have a large document this is a laborious task.

This is the only way that I have found to keep my spacing. It is quick and easy.

  1. Click on the HTML tab of the editor
  2. Paste your text that you copied from your Word doc.
  3. Switch back to Visual and apply your formating.
Retain line breaks in WordPress editor
Retain line breaks in WordPress editor

Related tip:
When you are typing in the editor and want that same single space (a.k.a. line break) use “shift + enter” on your keyboard
That’s what I did to type this tip.