10 of our most-loved blogs from 2015

Published 22 December 2015

From a note from Diebenkorn’s diary that went viral to a peep inside our latest show, these were some of the features our readers loved most this year.

  • If you haven’t seen them before, we hope you’ll enjoy them too – and join us for more in 2016.

    Notes to myself: Diebenkorn’s 10 rules for painting

    “Tolerate chaos,” wrote American abstract painter Richard Diebenkorn (whose paintings lit up the Sackler Galleries in June) in what he called Notes to myself on beginning a painting. These rules – which are perhaps better described as statements of artistic intention – were invented by the artist to help him solve complex self-imposed compositional problems. Since the publication of this blog, we launched the #CreativeWisdom series on social media, sharing statements of purpose and nuggets of advice from practicing artists.

  • Attempt what is not certain. Certainty may or may not come later. It may then be a valuable delusion.

    Richard Diebenkorn

  • Ai Weiwei: 13 works to know

    Ai Weiwei has worked in everything from paint to readymades. Our landmark exhibition – which opened at the RA in September – examined work from 1993 up to the present day, so we took a look at some of the key works to know from across Ai’s career.

  • Ai Weiwei, Coloured Vases

    Ai Weiwei , Coloured Vases , 2015 .

    Twelve Han Dynasty (206 BC – 220 AD) and four Neolithic (5000–3000 BC) vases with industrial paint. Dimensions variable. Private collection, Private collection, Collection of Lisa and Danny Goldberg Photo Royal Academy of Arts, London © Ai Weiwei.

  • Ai Weiwei: a beginner’s guide

    From surveillance cameras to smashed ceramics, Ai Weiwei is uncompromising in his fight for the freedom of expression. In another popular feature on the artist, we offer a quick guide to everything you needed to know about China’s most famous artist.

  • The art always wins. Anything can happen to me, but the art will stay.

    Ai Weiwei

  • Anish Kapoor’s new paintings at Lisson Gallery

    “Red is my abiding obsession,” said Anish Kapoor RA, as he stood in front of a series of new paintings on show at Lisson Gallery in March. For his new paintings, Kapoor used silicone and resin to create thick surface layers in a kind of hybrid between painting and sculpture. The works recalled his 2009 retrospective at the RA, when the gallery’s walls, floors and doorways were covered with vivid red wax.

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    Anish Kapoor RA at Lisson Gallery

    The artist discusses his new series of large-scale silicone paintings.

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    "This is a real gift to you."

    In these two exercises, Abramovic teaches her audience two useful tricks for positive energy and anger-management.

  • Inside the show: Jean-Etienne Liotard

    The Swiss artist Jean-Etienne Liotard was one of the greatest portraitists of the Enlightenment period, whose oeuvre includes pastel portraits, oil paintings, still lifes, genre scenes and trompe l’oeil. In this video series, curator MaryAnne Stevens takes us inside the Sackler Wing exhibition devoted to the 18th century master, and picks out a few highlights.

    Jean-Etienne Liotard is in the Sackler Galleries until 31 January 2016.

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    Liotard and Orientalism

    Liotard’s travels took him to Constantinople, where his portrayal of life in the Ottoman Empire, and of his fashionable European sitters in Turkish attire, fuelled the growing vogue for Orientalism in Europe.

  • Pleasure in doing is the essential basis for making art. When you love what you do, no effort is too great, no time too long.

    Michael Craig-Martin RA

  • View of London

    View of London

    Photo © duncan phillips / Alamy

  • Five quick tips to improve your life-drawing

    As part of our inaugural Friends Week in June, Mark Hampson, the RA Schools’ Head of Sculpture and Printmaking, led a life-drawing masterclass inside the historic life-drawing room – still in the same, semi-circular setup that the likes of Sir Joshua Reynolds and J.M.W Turner worked in. Here, he offered some salient creative wisdom on drawing like a master.

  • Look at the model more than your paper. Don’t avoid the difficult bits..

    Mark Hampson