When displaying your work online as a painter, it’s important that your [portfolio website]https://www.format.com) looks like a solo gallery exhibition. It’s a virtual white cube with a limited amount of works you can put on the walls. If there’s too many paintings, and it starts to feel crowded. Curating your work to key and you want to make sure that the work best represents your painting practice.
We combed through countless painter portfolios to find 20 contemporary artists with exceptional websites. Hailing from all corners of the globe, and working with mediums ranging from oil on canvas to works made on plexiglass and aluminum, these painters use simple themes to display their art online.
As such a highly textured, physical medium, it can challenging to show the full depth of paintings on the computer screen. A carefully designed and minimal portfolio can go a long way when it comes to making your work stand out. If you’re looking to build your own online portfolio, or revamp your existing website, these 20 painters will spark some inspiration.
Plus, find more portfolio design ideas here.
Painter Natalie Petrosky is based in Knoxville, where she teaches in the painting & drawing department of the University of Tennessee. Petrosky’s paintings often have a textile feel to them, and she frequently works with cloth as well as paint to create multimedia works.
American artist Emma Fineman is currently based in London, and has shown across Europe. Often working in oil, Fineman’s paintings focus on embodiment and shifting perceptions of environments. She uses a vertically scrolling portfolio to show pieces in a way that fills up the screen.
Based in Paris, artist Caroline Denervaud works in paint and performance. Her paintings often feature abstracted objects: the suggestion of a vase, or a moving figure. Denervaud keeps her online portfolio perfectly minimal so as not to distract from her boldly colored work.
When Wong Keen travelled to New York in 1961 to start his art education, he was the first person from Singapore to make that leap. Working with inspiration drawn both from American abstract expressionism and his Chinese heritage, Keen’s work has been shown in galleries worldwide. In 2007, the Singapore Art Museum put on a solo exhibition of his work.
In her series Looking, Painting and Liminality (pictured here) artist Bronwyn Sale questions notions of perspective and location, with ephemeral doors and arches appearing as a focus of the work. Sale uses a click-through gallery to display works one at a time.
Toronto artist Sarah Letovsky focuses on the female face, depicting a range of emotions with oil on large canvases. Her work often has an eerie feel to it, with her subjects’s features often skewed just slightly out of place. Letovsky uses a horizontally scrolling theme to show several galleries of work, sorted chronologically.
Painter Julie Beugin’s abstract works are inspired by the density of architecture and green spaces in Berlin, where she is based. Her work, which often mixes collage with paint, recalls the feeling of walking around in a city, discovering new neighborhoods.
Based in San Francisco, artist Gabriela Cobar works with paint on plexiglass to create multi-layered, colorful pieces. The vivid, contrasting hues of Cobar’s works have a pop art feel, at once organic and highly artificial. Displaying each detailed work one at a time keeps the viewer from being overwhelmed.
Hungarian artist Bence Marafkó displays an overview of his work with a neat grid layout on the homepage of his portfolio. Marafkó’s diverse practice includes painting and design; his paintings often border on sculpture, with the form of the canvas equally important as what’s on it. Marafkó uses a sidebar menu, featuring galleries organized by date and medium, to keep his large portfolio easy to navigate.
New York artist Ilana Savdie works in painting, digital media, and performance. Her oil paintings often feel inspired by Photoshop processes, with strips of distorted color recalling digital brushstrokes. Savdie organizes different projects and media via menu tabs for simple navigation.
Montreal artist Marie-Claude Lacroix displays her work in a carefully curated portfolio. By sharing less than 20 pieces, Lacroix ensures that viewers will leave her portfolio wanting to see more of her work. Working with oil on canvas, Lacroix’s paintings follow a coordinated color palette of muted tones. Household scenes are shown blown out of proportion, with figures and perspective itself distorted in an unsettling way.
British artist Tom Palin teaches in Leeds, and has exhibited widely across the UK and internationally. His work is influenced by English and northern European traditions of landscape painting, though in his recent works on aluminum (picture here) Palin moves more into abstraction, working with bolder colors and brushstrokes.
Based in Minneapolis, painter Julia Maiuri works in oil on canvas. Her paintings tend towards a color scheme of grey and blue, with hints of pink. Figures and faces are central themes. Maiuri shows only a small selection of work on her website, keeping her online portfolio simple.
Toronto artist Kayla Polan works across mediums to create funny, thought-provoking work about sexuality and identity. “In my work I imagine the home as a space of mutual pleasure for all parties, rejecting a utilitarian domesticity,” Polan says. Bondage gear and breakfast foods are both frequent themes in her work.
Artist Megan Rea uses both painting and architectural models to create unusual, atmospheric spaces. Muted grey tones characterize her work, which recalls spaces both urban and suburban, interior and exterior.
Based in New York, Wei Xiaoguang has shown in a number of group and solo shows in both New York and Beijing. Xiaoguang’s paintings have a keen and unsettling sense of humor; his subjects include MoMA PS1 director Klaus Biesenbach, critic Nicolas Bourriaud, and Artist’s Institute director Anthony Huberman. More recent works may poke fun at the art institution in a different way, as what appear to be CGI flames engulf Xiaoguang’s canvases.
Based in Oslo, Norway, artist Tine Isachsen works with a variety of media including watercolor, animation, and photography. Isachsen describes her work as creating a “dreamlike world;” it’s an accurate description of her eerie images, which are usually portraits of otherworldly characters. She displays her work in a grid layout for a full overview of her portfolio.
London-based artist Helen Butler creates meditative color field paintings which evoke a sense of calm. Atmospheric color is the focus of her practice. Butler uses a grey background to add to the calm feel of her work, with small-sized captions adding more information without distracting the eye.
Artist Ms. Mixon organizes her work into categories by medium, with photos, paintings, and work on panels each shown in a separate gallery page. Mixon’s paintings are delicate, with swathes of tiny shapes forming an organic whole, like close-ups of the insides of flowers or a seed pod broken open.
Canadian artist Claire Scherzinger challenges distinctions between high and low art by combining a sci-fi influence with a traditional oil painting aesthetic. Pictured is an overview of her portfolio including selected works from a recent series Shy Holograms which was inspired by the history of life on Mars.
Cover image by Caroline Denervaud.