Got downtime? Take this opportunity to explore and learn via the virtual world. Many museums have online collections available for view.

For approximately the last six years, I have been studying the masters of art in the painting world. When teaching classes around the country I schedule extra time to visit art museums. It has informed a lot of my work. Study color theory, composition and different techniques for creating art pieces from my photography.

Why look at art and paintings?

At a presentation by Arthur Rainville many moons ago, I was encouraged to look into the classic artists. You’ve heard the term GIGO — “Garbage in, garbage out?” The same holds true when studying the masters. Digesting the art from great artists will influence your work in a good way. Everything that you visually feed into your brain is helpful in your creative world.

Ideally you’ll want to spend time in museums standing in front of the art. Unfortunately with closures this is not possible at this time. But we can go online and find work to inspire … and to look forward to seeing in the future.

Philadelphia Museum of Art

With the suburbs of Philadelphia being where I was raised my first experience was the Philadelphia Museum of Art. That gives it a special place in my art heart. One piece remains with me to this day, “The Moorish Chief” by Austrian artist Eduard Charlemont.

The Moorish Chief originally titled The Guardian of the Seraglio at the Philadelphia Museum of Art

Standing at just under six feet the imposing figure in white robes with a bejeweled belt standing in a palace doorway. This painting has such magnificent detail. Seeing him as a youngster I thought that my being impressed might have been because I was so young and inexperienced.

Subsequent visits to the museum as an adult proved that it really is an exquisite work. Detail in this life-size figure is amazing. It shows down to highlights on jewelry and tiny hairs on the back of his knuckles.

Many museums make works available online. Do a search to learn more about online museum collections. You will find a bunch.

Search your favorite artist

If you already know of an artist whose work you admire do a deeper search for their work. I came across many paintings with which I was not familiar in a search for Claude Monet.

Use the image tab

Image results from a search for Claude Monet

When performing searches use the image tab. You will get to see lots of art in a small space. See works you want to investigate more in-depth? Click away. Many hours can be spent following the image breadcrumbs through the web.

Make lemonade

A more general search showing results from impressionist paintings

As I was always told when life hands you some lemons, it’s time to squeeze and make lemonade. Take some of your downtime and look for ways to learn. I’ll be spending some serious time checking the online art world. What will you be doing? Let me know. Be safe out there!

Yours in Creative Photography, Bob