The Online Art Market


Walking into an art gallery made from good old solid bricks and mortar, and seeing paintings hanging on a wall, is still one of the best ways to experience an artists’ work. However, the modern artist knows only too well that the internet is now a crucial venue for selling and promoting paintings.

Professional artists Anthony Garratt and Paresh Nrshinga, who have worked with Winsor & Newton in developing our Artists’ Acrylic Mediums range, have found different ways to make online work for them.

The Wonders of a Website

It is vital to create your own website in order to gain visibility and credibility online. The artist has to consider three key questions:

How many works do you show at any one time ?
How often do you update it ?
Do you put up only finished paintings or promote works in progress as well ?

Of course some things might not be for sharing, pieces that are for a private collection perhaps, or work an artist feels can only be truly experienced in a proper gallery environment.
Anthony Garratt’s website was built by a web developer.

Anthony: “I display my work and collect email addresses of people who are interested. I have used the website gallery to help buyers make decisions on a painting.”

Paresh: “I used to publish brochures for prospective buyers to take away, but not so much now because all the information can be easily found on my site.”

Don't Be Shy - Google Yourself!

Prospective buyers have to find you easily through a search engine. Make sure your website is properly developed and promotes exactly what you want people to see. You want it to be clear and to the point so you achieve good search engine rankings. Artists can also be connected to more than one site and can promote themselves through gallery websites.

Anthony: “I check my search engine rankings weekly. I think it’s very important to be associated with the right websites and I’d rather be on Google under gallery names than just because I’m posting on various forums.”

Paresh: “I work with an agency to ensure that my site ranks well against my name. That’s the first thing people do if they want to find out more. Also, think about what other terms you want to be found under such as “abstract art”, “limited editions”, and “landscapes” .

Show and Tell

Online galleries and forums lack the visual impact of their real life counterparts but they can do a good job in selling an artists’ work.

Saatchi Online and and even forums such as allow artists to upload their work in order to sell it. Being connected with one of these sites can improve your search ranking.

Join the Network

The internet has opened up a whole new way for artists to communicate with a world wide audience. Attracting prospective buyers, announcing exhibitions, putting new works on show, and creating special one off events can all be done through tools ranging from Facebook to email.

Anthony: “I have had commissions through Facebook. The great thing is that when you post artwork and people comment on it, the image comes back to the top of the page so it works almost like an automatic ratings system.”

Blogging it

A growing number of artists are choosing blogs. Pages can be updated more quickly and easily than on a website. Blogs are often informal and good for interaction. Used well it is a great way to promote you and your work.
Adebanji Alade, one of the Winsor & Newton featured artists, has an active blog running alongside his website which ranks well in search engines

Remember that blogs tend to work best if there is something new to see. Frequent updates, news and announcements will keep people coming back but this will involve a commitment to place something new on your blog every few days.

Anthony: “I am considering setting up a blog and if I redesign my website again I would certainly choose an off the shelf package simply because I want to update my site more frequently. People expect you to have more recent work on your site and it’s a lot cheaper if you can manage it yourself.”

Selling Art on the Internet

There’s no doubt the internet is now a vital part of promoting and selling art but it is only part of the package. Personal contact remains equally important.

Paresh: “I want to get people in front of my work so I still make a lot of contact on the phone and meet people face to face “.

Anthony: “The internet has given more people the opportunity to show their work but fine art must be seen in person to be experienced, no matter how good the online image is.”

Online Top Tips

Do you need a designer website or will an off the shelf product do.  

Collect email addresses and build up a database. 

Keep your biography relevant and concise.

Your art work is the priority. 

Make your website visual.

Choose the best images of your work.

Make sure gallery websites hold the right information and links.

Be aware of your search engine ranking.

Use social networking sites such as Facebook to spread the word.

But never forget the power of displaying your work in person.