The Art Life: Rainy Day Browsing Ideas…

rainy day
Radar at 11:10 am PST Saturday morning

I’ve been down for two weeks with a really nasty chest cold. Finally over the symptoms, but still need to take it easy, which is why there was no Friday post. Much better today. Now we have a heck of a rain storm rolling into northern California, so working in the garden is out. Internet to the rescue!

Here’s some sites to check out if you’re sick or weather-bound:

Looking at art: The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York has recently created what it calls Open Access, through which images of 375,000 (yes, that’s right) works in their collections are available for use without restriction. More information on that here.

Learning to draw: If you’re interested in drawing and want to learn the basics or pick up new skills, Pencil Kings may be what you’re looking for. They have pro instructors from a variety of backgrounds. Access to everything is $29.95/month or $299.95 a year. If you sign on and take any courses, please let me know what you think. Painting instruction is easy to find, drawing not so much.

Competitions, courses, community and more: The Artist’s Network site has plenty to poke around on. It’s run by the company that publishes The Artist’s Magazine, Watercolor Artist, Pastel Journal, Drawing Magazine, Acrylic Artist and also runs North Light Books. They’re also the home of the well-known art forum Wet Canvas.

Learning about art: Underpaintings is an online art magazine which publishes articles on contemporary and past artists, art materials and overviews of upcoming art auctions, which is my favorite feature since it’s a chance to see a wide range of work from working artists, some famous, some not so much, that is good but not museum or art book quality. One can take comfort in realizing that even the best didn’t hit a grand slam every time or even a triple, but mostly it’s a fun way to see a lot of art which has been gathered together for auction from private collections that would otherwise not be seen by the public. He includes illustration also, which, since my formal training is in illustration, is a bonus. There is free content but full access is worth the $24 a year. The “proprietor” Mathew Innis, is himself an accomplished artist.

Finally, there’s a ton of art groups to check out on Facebook, of course. I created one last week “The Art of Animal Fieldwork” which is for artists who draw and paint from live animals, surprisingly a quite specialized part of the animal art genre. There’s already been some extraordinary work posted by some of the over 50 members from the USA, UK, Germany, Switzerland, Spain, Greece, Israel, France, India and Denmark, including field studies done in Ladakh of a wild snow leopard.

griz cpzoo
Brown bear, Central Park Zoo, New York. 2016


5 Of My Favorite Art Blogs And A New Painting Start

Takhi/Przewalsky's horses at Takhiin Tal, 2013
Takhi/Przewalsky’s horses at Takhiin Tal, 2013; this is the brush drawing

Working away on my paintings for a couple of juried shows and the WildArt Mongolia Expedition 2013 group art exhibition which will be held from June 3-13 at the National Museum of Mongolia in Ulaanbaatar. Hope to start sharing finished pieces in the next week or so, but, in the meantime, here’s the start of one from reference shot at Takhiin Tal, a takhi stallion moving his harem along.

Today, I’d like to share the links to some of my favorite art blogs.

1. Gurney Journey– James Gurney, the celebrated author of the Dinotopia series, also has one of the best and most interesting art blogs around. He posts every day on a wide range of topics, from great artists of the past, to practical how-tos, to the science of perception.

2. Pencil Shavings– Fine drawing doesn’t really get the respect (or prices) it deserves. My friend and colleague Terry Miller is a master of the medium and was chosen last year to receive the Master Wildlife Artist Award by the Lee Yawkey Woodson Art Museum in Wausau, Wisconsin.

3. Underpaintings– Mathew D. Innis’ blog is a great one-stop source of current and upcoming art exhibitions with lots of art to look at and drool over.

4. Jim McVicker PaintingsJim and his wife, also an excellent painter, have been friends of mine for years. Jim’s dedication and the consistent high quality of his work is an inspiration for me. He lives and works here in Humboldt County, which is his main subject matter. He is outdoors painting all year around. And he will be one of the instructors at the big Plein Air Convention coming up in April in Monterey.

5. Making A Mark– Based in the UK, this one is a good source of general and interesting art-related topics of all kinds, including marketing, current exhibitions, the art market and artist materials.