The Best Online Resources for Visual Artists Part Two

The Best Online Resources for Visual Artists Part Two

the best online resources for visual artists part two

Each week I write a brand new article for members of our three wonderful art groups on Facebook, The Artists Exchange, The Artists Directory, and The Artist Hangout. This week we take a look at part two of my ongoing series of articles which seek out the very best online resources for artists.

After taking two weeks on vacation exploring the Jurassic coast of the U.K. I’m back! The weather was fantastic and I think it has returned with me, it’s so hot right now here in the shire’s of middle England and apparently we’re supposedly going to get another warm front moving in from Morocco! I’m hoping it holds up for the beginning of August when I take another little break and search for some more seaside inspiration!

It’s really important to remember to take the occasional break as an artist. It keeps the creativity fresh and I have known many of my artist friends who have burned out in the past, once that happens it can take a while to get back into the creative flow, I know this too because I’ve been there myself. So go online, download a few of these resources and take them to the beach if you want to relax but still learn something about this wonderful world of art we’re all a part of. 

You will remember I recently kicked this series off with an article outlining some of the best online resources for visual artists and it turned out that Google was way more than a search engine, it has a whole suite of sites and services dedicated to artists and designers and it can even teach you many of the skills you need in today’s art world when it comes to running a business. If you missed it you can read it here.  

But it’s not just Google who have some seriously world class resources which can be used, there are many other large corporations and museums who dedicate a lot of online web space to the arts to support artists around the world, you just need to know where to look.

We know that Google have a fantastic arts program but even smaller organisations are often closer to the arts than you would think. It is obvious that many of the best resources would originate from the very establishments within the art world but what happens when a restaurant famous for its chicken dishes for example gets involved in the art scene too?

Nando’s art exchange program South African art

Restaurant Art…

Anyone who knows me will know that I am a fan of Nando’s, the Peri-Peri palace of chicken restaurants who can be found world-wide. So what does a restaurant who are known for serving Peri-Peri Dishes have to do with the art world?

Well, if you have ever visited a Nando’s you will have also noticed the art on their walls and the distinctive font set used in their branding and menus. The quirky font which gives Nando’s its branding was inspired by the tradition of sign-writing in Southern Africa and Marks Salimu an artist who was classically trained as a sign writer is the artist behind the brands identity. 

The restaurant chain also uses a secondary font which is used to navigate around a Nando’s restaurant and this font which belongs to the Din Next typeface family originated from Johannesburg, South Africa where it is used on road signs. 

So that explains the fonts but what of the art? They say you eat with your eyes and it isn’t just the Peri-Peri that originates from South Africa, the art adorning each of the restaurants walls does too. With over 9,000 artworks, Nando’s is officially the biggest collector of Southern African contemporary art in the world.

But they don’t just collect South African art, there is a story behind this too. Nando’s want to make a real difference to the lives of the artist’s lives they work with and they partnered with the Spier Arts Trust who give artists in South Africa the opportunities they need to develop their careers.  So when you see the art in a Nando’s you will also see the stories of more 350 artists from South Africa who are part of the Nando’s family. 

Not only do you get to see some wonderful work whenever you visit a Nando’s there are plenty of resources available on their website too and will often turn some of their restaurants into pop-up galleries and they run artist programmes. You can find out more about those programmes here.  

There are plenty of videos and insights of South African art available on the Nando’s website and you should definitely check out the videos about South African Street Art which you can see right hereIn Southern Africa, the triangle represents family, the icon is inspired by the legend of the Barcel√≥’s Cockerel (Barci pronounced Barsee) and whenever headlines are written, they are angled at 87 degrees which is a reminder of Nando’s roots which go back to 1987. 

This is the kind of insight into branding that any budding graphic designer and even those who are old hands at the craft should take some notice of. You can read the Nando’s story right here.  

Just to round off the Nando’s art experience, if you have ever eaten in one of their restaurants you will have listened to the fiery beats when enjoying the delicious food and over the years Nando’s have been involved in music festivals, and put on workshops for musicians and they even have a studio in London’s Soho which you can read about right here.  

This is also where you can find out about their global programme brings together emerging and established musicians for mentoring, workshops, collaborations and explosive events, and they have been using the programme to uncover artists from Southern Africa and running exchange workshops which brings together talent from across the globe. You can read more about that right here.  

So next time you are tucking in to a plainish, mild or my favourite extra hot Peri-Peri butterfly breasts of chicken, take a look around at the art, listen to the music and know that there are real stories of real people behind everything you see and everything you hear in the restaurant. Next time you eat there you will know that by doing so you will not just be eating great food, you will be supporting local artists and helping to change lives.

If you want to find out where your nearest Nando’s is, then take a look right here.  Oh and please dear Nando’s can I have some extra chilli points on my loyalty card? I love it not just for the fantastic work they do in the arts but as many of you know I have Crohn’s Disease and a Nando’s is often one of the only foods that can really reboot my appetite when I have been through a flare up of the disease, although I stick to the plainish spices these days!

online learning resources from the best art museums


Everyone has heard of Tate, it has been the British home of art since 1500 and continues to bring joy to anyone who visits to the present day. There is always something going on at Tate and it is one of the world’s leading art museums. 

Many museums use the internet to publicise their upcoming exhibitions but Tate goes a step further than many and they also provide some exceptional resources for artists and they share their wealth of knowledge of art history too. They have very useful insights into the art within their collection and of course any exhibitions will be identified with some great detail about the artists and their works, and there is a really useful glossary of art terms where you will find definitions of art movements, styles, and techniques. Whenever I am in one of those artistic dry spots this is where I usually head to seek some inspiration. 

You can see the art terms right here, and if you dig down you will find a huge array of videos too. There is also an app where you can take a collection highlights tour, plan a visit, and discover exclusive interviews with artists and curators. You can find out more about the app right here

The Met…

One of my other favourite art museums is The Met which you can find out a little more about here.  One of the big draws to The Met for me is their range of learning opportunities which are offered both in the physical space of The Met itself and beyond, and also they have resources available online. 

There are specific sections of the website which are geared towards learning and they cover everything from kids and family learning to teens, adults, educators, and those with disabilities. 

If you visit the section for educator’s right here where  you will find a large number of useful resources including the K-12 educator programs, curriculum resources right here  and other useful insights such as a timeline of art history which you can see tight here.  

Carnegie Museum of Art…

One museum I have never had the opportunity to visit other than online is the Carnegie Museum of Art in Pittsburgh but I have heard very good things about the work that they do in the art education space. You can see the site right here.  

I am also a regular reader of the Carnegie blog which you can find right here and this is where you will be able to read about a range of art subjects and deep dive into some of their very well-written topics and explanations. 

The Guggenheim…

The Guggenheim is another of my favourite museums in part because of Frank Lloyd Wright’s outstanding architecture but also in part because it is yet another useful resource to head to whenever you need a dose of artistic inspiration or learning. 

I love both contemporary and modern art and that is exactly what the Guggenheim is about. You can visit the museums website right here where you will find plenty of featured topics but head over to the blog part of the site right here and this is where you will start to find some of the very best resources, information, and topics, and the article about restoring one of Manet’s works is brilliant. You can read that article right here.  

The National Gallery…

A little closer to my home and a regular destination for me whenever I get the chance when staying over in London, is The National Gallery which you can find out more about right here

The National Gallery is not only home to some of the world’s finest examples of art ever produced but the gallery itself has featured as a location in many films through the years, appearing in the James Bond thriller, Skyfall back in 2012.  The National Gallery also allows filming to take place if you are looking for a great film shoot location and having been involved in looking for locations in the past with some of my client’s projects, The National Gallery offers some outstanding value especially given its importance in the art world and its premium real estate location in Trafalgar Square, London. You can read about filming right here.  

You can also take a look behind the scenes right here which will give you a fascinating insight into what really happens behind the doors marked private. 

For resources where you can learn about art then the learning section of the galleries website is where you need to head. You can find it right here.  

If you then head towards the ‘Teachers’ section you will see a range of useful materials and if you take a look at the ‘For Researchers’ section by clicking here  you will be able to explore the complete works from The National Gallery in high resolution detail. 

Victoria and Albert Museum…

The V&A is the world’s leading museum of art and design and it is a definite must do if you are ever in the area for a visit. Be warned though, a visit can take up years of your life as you will find yourself needing to go back time and time again. You can find out about the V&A right here but if it is learning resources you are after then you will need to visit this link right here.  

Alongside an always exciting programme of events there are many courses for children, college students, and teachers and their Learning Academy offers adult courses as well. There are plenty of online resources available and some of the most relevant for those who are mature students can be found in the teaching resources section right here.  

The British Museum…

The British Museum is yet another relatively local museum to me, as in it is only about 130 miles away! But it is another one of London’s best places to visit and they also offer a wealth of learning resources which are outstanding. You can learn more about the museum itself here, but for the learning resources you should head straight over here.  

It is here where you will find a directory of the resources available which have usefully been categorised in to ages, subjects, classroom resources, and there are even sections which include Maths and numeracy to embed within your learning around art and design. 

The resources themselves are neatly laid out and easy to digest, there’s nothing here that will put anyone off learning about the arts but there is plenty that even seasoned veterans of the art world will be able to have a peruse through and discover something new. Where appropriate, the resources also give you an idea about where you can go to find out more. 

The Chrysler Museum of Art…

Moving back across the Atlantic we now discover the Chrysler Museum of Art which you can find out about right here and if it is the learning resources that you need then head on over to here  

I must admit that this one had passed me by for many years until I had to research Colonial and Revolutionary America between 1610 and 1776 for a client who had commissioned a very specific work and I couldn’t really find anything that was useful until I stumbled across The Chrysler Museum’s resources. You can find out more about that subject right here.   

When you visit the online learning resources from here just select a subject and once you have found what resources you want, click on the image and the unit will open up. The layout and navigation of the site isn’t as great or intuitive as it could be, but the quality of the resources available really are very good and if you are looking for teaching resources, many of them say that you are free to adapt them to meet the needs of the curriculum you are delivering.

The National Portrait Gallery…

Back across the Atlantic (although it makes no difference when visiting online), The National Portrait Gallery is another excellent institution who have developed some very good material. The offer downloadable PDFs, audio, and web-based resources to support learning around portraiture and the galleries own exhibitions and collections.

There are interviews with artists and sitters, a portrait explorer, and there is plenty to keep you amused in both the art and history sections of the site and there are a range of interactive resources too. Whilst some of the resources are squarely aimed at engaging children in the arts, there is plenty on offer that will satisfy the appetite of those who are eager to learn more about portraiture and the art world in general. As a land and seascape artist who often creates abstracts, one of my own areas of weakness is in drawing portraits.

There is nothing that will stretch you beyond whatever stage you are currently at, but this site really does offer bite sized snippets of learning which I often use as a springboard to go and find out more about from other sources. 

Having said that, the more you dig into this site the more you will find that is more suited to us who are mature in our years. Visit this link here for example and there is plenty to give your brain a workout. Take a glance at the masterclass from American portrait artist Ron Bowen right here and you will start to get the idea. 

You can find out more about the National Portrait Gallery itself right here but head over here if you want to dive straight into the learning. It really is a very special resource. 

beechhouse media learning resources for artists

There will be a Part 3!

That’s all I am going to give you this week because you will be spending a lot of time on many of those sites I am sure, but I am in the process of writing part 3 of this series which I will be publishing right here on this site very soon. 

I have literally hundreds of resources identified so this could end up becoming one of those lengthy long running series of articles, and I have poured through every single one of them to find out the very best.

That’s important because as independent visual artists we generally all lead extremely busy lives and there is never quite enough time to find out where to go if you want great quality learning material as you progress through your artistic career. Even if you are at the very pinnacle of that career there is a constant need to continue learning about art, the business of art, and the importance of art history, because right now you are making and creating the latter as we all pass through this world and this time. 

It’s easy to Google or Bing or search for resources but the problem with many sites is that they are either very good or they are very bad, and a bad learning experience will achieve absolutely nothing.

If there are particular subjects you are interested in finding out where the best resources are, then please do leave a comment and I will try my best to find them for you and if you want to buy me a coffee then give the Go Fund Me link below a click, and that way I can keep this site maintained and bring you the latest information week after week, or you can always just buy a piece of my artwork as a print or even a greetings card as every penny I receive from my Pixels sales goes back into maintaining, paying for, and managing this site.

About Mark…

I am an artist and blogger who specialises in abstracts, landscapes, and seascapes. My work is sold in more than 150 retail locations across the USA and Canada including The Great Frame Up, Framing and Art Centre, and Deck the Walls and you can also buy from Fine Art America or my Pixels site here:  

I also offer some works directly and these come signed with a certificate of authenticity. Please do get in touch if there are any pieces you are interested in owning.

You can also follow me on Facebook at: and on Twitter @beechhouseart, I don’t use the Twitter thing quite as often as Donald.

If you would like to support the upkeep of this site or just buy me a coffee so I can keep on writing in the early hours what is hopefully useful content for you, you can do so at otherwise I may have to revert to topless juggling in the high street and well, I can’t juggle very well at all. 

There’s no obligation to do so but in time I hope to remove web welfare otherwise known as adverts from the site entirely and create more pages which focus on and support independent visual artists. Hope you all have a wonderful and creative week! 


  1. Changed the comment section slightly folks! Let me know if you find it easier!!

  2. the masterclass of Ron Bowen.

    1. Thanks Jane! He’s a great portrait artist, always consistent and have loved his work for years! You should do a Masterclass on your abstracts which should be hanging in Tate!


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