As I mentioned in my article on the 10 year anniversary of Lines and Colors, my first post was on August 22, 2005. It was about the Art Renewal Center, a long-standing bastion of representational realism on the web. At the time I had both enthusiasm and some reservations for ARC, and I suppose that is still the case.
I still admire what they’ve accomplished in putting the site together, it’s an amazingly extensive resource. However, I no longer include ARC among the online image resources in my article listings for figures from art history, as they have had to institute a policy of restricting access to many images to signed-in members in order to encourage financial support of the site.
Not that I fault them in that policy in any way — it’s expensive to maintain a site at that level — nor do I mean to suggest that membership in ARC is not worthwhile, I have a membership myself; but I also have my own policies for Lines and Colors, one of which is that I do not link to sites that block access to their articles or images.
For this same reason, I do not link to artists’ Facebook pages, Pinterest, New York Times articles, Artist Daily or any of a number of other sites that block or restrict access in some way. I’m not trying to criticize with that policy, my goal is simply to provide Lines and Colors readers with a barrier-free experience when I give them links to art images.
However, I will take this occasion to recommend areas of the ARC site that are not at this point restricted by membership requirements, and are most certainly worthwhile. Specifically this is their coverage of contemporary artists, both in the form of their listing of “ARC Living Masters“, and their yearly ARC Salon competitions.
These are notable both for focusing on artists in the tradition of representational realism, and for featuring high-resolution images of many of the artists’ works, often larger than any images on the artists’ own websites.
The Salon is of particular interest for the variety of genres and the division of them into award categories. Once on the page for a given year, look for the links to the various categories at the bottom of the pages.
To some degree, there is an emphasis on highly refined work, somewhat in the academic tradition, but there are painterly artists, and the roster has expanded over the past decade to include more artists in the fields of illustration and fantasy art (“Imaginative Realism” in their parlance). There is also an emphasis on oil over water media, but they do pay a fair bit of attention to drawing.
I’ve chosen some images above that represent some of their featured artists and Salon winners.
(Images above: Daniel Gerhartz, Jason de Graaf, John Buxton, Geraldo Gilberto, Gavin Glakas, Arantzazu Martinez, Peter Fiore, Tanvi Pathare, Jake Frima, Cornelia Maria Hernes, Kelly Phelps, Jeffery Larsen, Vitaliy Shtanko, Sergio Lopez, Donato Giancoia, Hanwu Shen, Heather Theurer)