Story-Writing Practice

In last week's post I talked about writing and posting stories to go with your artwork on your website to help drive more traffic to your website through search engines. I invited everyone to submit an example so we could practice together, and my friend Deborah has submitted a perfect one below.

"The Coiffure," oil on linen, copyright 2016 Deborah Ridgley

Here's the original story that Deborah wrote to go with this painting:

I painted this oil figurative painting of a model styling her hair. My intent was to use warm earth tones and expressive brushwork to evoke a quiet private moment. 

Deborah's off to a great start, but I see a couple of ways she could improve this story, both for the purpose of search engine optimization and for encouraging a viewer to buy the work. 

To be totally effective in search engine optimization (SEO), we have to incorporate keywords. Deborah was very smart to include the words "oil" and "painting" in her story, but I'm not sure about the word "figurative." This is where determining your keywords can get tricky because we have to think in terms of the words and phrases most people—who aren't artists—would use. So while an artist would use the keyword "figurative painting," most non-artists would do an online search using keywords like "figure painting" or even more likely "people painting" or "women in art." Deborah was also wise to include "earth tones" since people often search for artwork according to the colors they're looking for.

But to effectively connect with someone who's considering buying a painting, we also want to get to the emotion that inspired the work. Deborah has hinted at it here, but I think it could be stronger. So here's one possible way Deborah's story could be tweaked:

I love paintings of women in intimate moments, like this scene of a woman styling her hair. It's a quiet, private moment, and we can only wonder what she's thinking of and dreaming about as she dresses for the evening. For my original oil painting, I used earth tones, such as beige and warm brown, to evoke the gentle beauty of my subject. 

So you can see how I incorporated a few more keywords (in red), and how I added a note of intriguing emotion (in blue) to help engage the reader. I'm also hoping it reveals a little more about who Deborah is as an artist. What do you all think? How would you have tweaked it? Let's connect!

P.S. Many thanks to Deborah for sharing her work and story. If you'd like to learn more about Deborah, please visit her website:


  • You’re so welcome, Deborah! You know I love this stuff so I’m happy to help. Anyone else want to give it a go?

    Jennifer King

  • Jen, LOVE your re write of the “story” of my painting. You were much more descriptive in the verbage, and you used many more common words to engage the reader. Now lets see if I can do this same technique for my other paintings! Thanks so much, Deborah Ridgley

    Deborah Ridgley

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