Resources for Artists

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This collection of websites, e-books and artist links are sites I use myself. If you’ve taken one of my drawing and painting classes, the concepts, techniques and artist listed below may sound familiar. To paraphrase a medieval phrase: ‘We stand on the shoulders of giants.’ In other words: build upon what has been learned by others.

An earlier version of my website is still out there somewhere on the web. It has several paintings and print projects not posted to my current site. Visit my old site here:

Grayson Perry: Playing to the Gallery, 2013 Reith Lectures
BBC Radio

My favourite lecture about art and making art. Very funny; 5 lectures/1 hour each. Grayson Perry asks: What is art? What do artists do? ‘How do we know what art is? Why go to art school?

Gadsby: Art Clown. BBC Radio

Another humorous yet historically informed commentary on some famous artworks and artists. 15 minutes each. Van Eyck’s Arnolfini Wedding Portrait, Manet’s Olympia, Michelangelo’s David, Picasso’s Demoiselles d’Avignon

Paper Sculpture Lessons, Learn to Make Automata

Paper Automata | Free Templates, Fun Design Ideas and Mechanism Info

Great link showing paper machine mechanisms for automata; cams, crank sliders, linkage, levers and gears etc. Also a list of recommended books for making your own automata.

Automata Sculpture

Cabaret of Mechanical Theatre Great site to explore if you want to learn about automata sculpture. I saw an exhibition of this group’s kinetic sculptures in London England more than twenty years ago and was blown away. Thanks to the internet I’ve been able to learn more about what I encountered all those years back.

Online books, artist websites, sites for painting materials & techniques.

Tad Spurgeon ‘Living Craft’ Learn all about oil paint, how to make your own oil paint; make your own oil painting mediums; the uses and refining of homemade linseed oil. The best resource book and website on the subject around for making and using oil painting mediums. If you like this website you may want to purchase his book. I bought Tad Spurgeon’s book after spending weeks reading and rereading his website which is also filled with valuable content for artist painters. His book is a fantastic resource for professionals, not however for most beginner painters because it’s so technically detailed. Visit his website and link to his book here:

Natural Pigments Good website to visit if you paint with homemade oil and tempera paints and pigments, make your own art materials and create your own painting mediums. This is a retail store in United States. I’ve not purchased from them before because, living in Canada I have retail options closer to home; still it’s a great a good place to look up product options. Subscribe to their technical bulletins to learn more about painting materials and best practices.

Miachael Harding Paint is a professional quality oil paint maker in England; lots of good technical information about products and making your own mediums for oil painting by combining off the shelves art materials.

Great technical information and opinions about making oil paint and pigment differences between pigments and different companies.

Madeline Von Foerster uses a traditional egg oil mische technique. See a slide show of the different stages of her painting process:

Another artist blog showing their contemporary approach to using traditional materials: egg tempera, egg oil tempera mixed technique and chalk drawing.

of Historians of Netherlandish Art
. Several detailed and excellent
journal articles about the historical painting techniques of Van Eyck and his
15– 16th century contemporaries and their use of egg
tempera and early forms of egg oil emulsion paint.

Old books as free
have technical information that is hard to find in more recent publications.
Here are two books in the public domain to check out. Laurie’s book continues
to be cited as an important source by artists and appears in the footnotes of
numerous books still circulating.  

1.  Hiler, Hilaire. The Painter’s Pocketbook
of Methods and Materials.
Los Angeles: Research Publishing Company, 1945.

2. Laurie, A.P. The Materials
of the Painter’s Craft in Europe and Egypt: from Earliest Times to the End of
the XVIIIth Century, With Some Account of Their Preparation and Use
. London
and Edinburgh: T.N. Foulis, 1910.

Great free book for anyone exploring egg tempera and egg-oil emulsion painting: Egg Tempera Painting, Tempera Underpainting, Oil Emulsion Painting: A Manual of Technique. Vaclav Vytlacil and Rupert Davidson Turnbull. Oxford University Press, 1935.

For a great archive of great free art books online check out:

**Books in Print** I prefer to read actual books over e-books. Here are some recommended art books about painting materials and art technique: 

Doerner, Max. The Materials of the Artist and Their Use in Painting: With Notes on the Techniques of the Old Masters.

Ralph. The Artist's Handbook of Materials and Techniques: Fifth Edition,
Revised and Updated.
New York: Viking Press, 1991.

Harold. The Practice and Science of Drawing. New York: Dover
Publications, 1972.

Daniel V. The Practice of Tempera Painting: Materials and Methods. New
York: Dover Publications, 1962.

Wehlte, Kurt. The Materials and Techniques of Painting. Translated by Ursus Dix. New York: Van Nostrand Reinhold Company. 1975.

Inspirational Speakers on Art: the importance of technique, being a contemporary artist, the old masters

Jerry Saltz is a contemporary American art
critic. He’s a great public speaker. Google his name to listen to him on utube.
Read his online essay here:

Vincent Desiderio is a contemporary American oil
painter. He makes big realistic oil paintings through a deep understanding of
art history and old masters painting technique.  Read about him here and see some samples of
his paintings. Look for some of his interview on Utube.

Great Artist blogs to find and follow:

  James Gurney’s blog can’t be beat for quality of information and its massive archive.

After following his blog for
several months, I bought his book Color and
Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
which is great too.

 I’ve copied the overview of his book here:

Color and Light: A Guide for the Realist Painter
This unique book examines the realist painter’s most fundamental tools: color and light. The book bridges the gap between abstract theory and practical knowledge, providing useful information about sources of light, color relationships, pigments, backyard optics, visual perception, surfaces and effects, and atmospheric conditions.

Printmaking links of interest

Use and make your own mezzotint pole rocking machine

Safer etching alternatives for etching metal.!--A-better-etc/?=

Alternatives to using ferric choloride and nitric acid in my etching is on my
‘to do’ list. I have yet to put these alternative etching solutions to the
test. There is lots of information online about alternative etching solutions.
This is just one site but it’s a good place to start one’s research.

Build your own miniature intaglio etching press.

Color Registration Pins for linocut relief printing.

Color registration in printmaking is always difficult. I found this website explaining terns-burton- pin. I’ve just ordered a set of these pins to use with my etching press and look forward to putting them to use printing color linocuts in coming days.

Figure Drawing

Sight Size Drawing is one approach practiced in European academies of the 19th
century and still taught in traditional ateliers today. I don’t use this
approach but understanding the ‘sight size method’ has improved my own figure
drawing strategies.