Like most things in life, art is a journey. Whether we take that journey at our leisure as a hobby artist or we make the journey with focus and purpose as a professional artist, it is a journey of continual learning. . . and one of the best means of continuing education for any artist is reading.
Today, the most convenient source for reading material is the internet. There’s a wealth of information covering every artistic subject, every medium, and every style online. And all you have to do is look.
But I’m probably not telling you anything you haven’t already discovered for yourself!
In fact, there are so many good blogs, websites, and newsletters to read, it’s impossible to read all of them. How is an artist supposed to know where to begin?
Well, if you haven’t already, I’m going to suggest that you begin with one or more of the blogs listed below. Most of them are general interest art blogs that provide a range of good, reliable information for all types of artists. They cover a range of subjects and styles with a focus on the basics of art. Some are subject or medium related, and a few are business related.
One or two others are not art blogs, strictly speaking, but the subjects they cover apply to any artist who’s interested in succeeding as an artist – so I’m including them at the end.
Artists don’t like marketing. (It doesn’t take a scientific study to know most of us would rather create art than promote it!) So any blog or website that provides useful and easy to understand marketing information is a big deal.
This is such a blog. It’s written by Barney Davey, who I first encountered when he co-hosted a business webinar with Jason Horejs of Xanadu Gallery. Topics include tips on marketing original works, reproductions, commission work, and how to design an effective website or hire a website designer.
If you’re reading this article, you probably already know the value of EmptyEasel. The variety of articles on all aspects of the art world is a gold mine for any artist. If you aren’t yet a subscriber to the weekly newsletter, why not?
This is a regular magazine, but you can subscribe to a weekly article digest. Articles cover news about recent art sales, shows, and other general interest subjects, as well as featured contemporary artists and historic art news.
Its companion publication, Plein Air Magazine, focuses on plein air events and includes a critique series called “Why This Painting Works.” Both magazines are well worth the time to read for sheer inspirational value.
This blog is hosted by Xanadu Gallery in Scottsdale, Arizona. I’ve been following this blog for a couple of years, now, and have found the information provided very helpful.
Posts are written from the perspective of a gallery owner (a successful gallery owner no less) and cover topics ranging from how to price artwork to customer service to time management. If you have time for only one regular blog, you could scarcely make a better choice.
Rory Vaden is not an artist. Rory doesn’t cater to artists. So why is his blog on this list?
Simple. The focus of this blog is support and information for business people of all types and, let’s face it—if you’re a professional artist, you are a business person.
Most posts are interview-style podcasts with successful businesspeople from a variety of fields. Topics include customer service, time management (a major concern if you’re anything like me), and promotion.
Other online resources for the serious artist
Of course there are many others that cater to arts and artists in a general sense. Just do a Google search for “Art Blogs” and see for yourself what’s available.
There are also a wide range of medium-, style-, subject-, and profession-specific blogs. Some of my favorite art blogs are Deborah Paris’ drawing blog and David Grey’s oil painting blog. It’s always worthwhile to follow one or two blogs directly related to the type of art you do if for no other reason that seeing what other artists are doing is a great way to get or stay motivated.
So if you haven’t already found a few great blogs to follow in 2015, this list is a good place to start. (But please note, I’ve barely scratched the surface and I haven’t even mentioned art and artist videos, including some stunning tutorials—maybe I’ll have to do a follow-up list on those!)
I realize most of us are busy enough that finding two or three good blogs to follow is about all we have the time for. But I definitely encourage you to explore these blogs in the coming year, find one or two that suit your interests, and make them part of your regular studio routine.