"Art, like morality, consists of drawing a line somewhere." - G.K. Chesterton
Finally, a renaissance of great art and great artists! This renaissance of Classical Realism is being midwifed by the Art Renewal Center.
The ARC website has excellent articles, recommended schools, competitions and scholarships, and an online gallery of fabulous Classical Realist art that you have never seen, by both contemporary artists and great masters whom you've probably never heard of, as their names and art were criminally banished by the ignorant barbarians of the Modernist school. These masters include William Bougereau, J.W. Godward, Lawrence Alma-Tadema, John William Waterhouse, George Frederick Watts, Lord Leighton, John Grimshaw, Louis Meissonnier, and many more. You can see their work on the site. (Yes, I know that there can be art and artists outside of Classical Realism, but the vast majority of what has been foisted on the world in the last century as "Great Art" and "Brilliant Art" has been nihilistic trash, to put it bluntly, and most of the criticisms of Classical Realism have been perverse and idiotic.)
The ARC site has some excellent articles by professional artists. I think my favorite, and one of the best at revealing the Modernist emperor's non-existent new clothes is aptly titled "Abstract Art is Not Abstract and Definitely Not Art".
Here's an excerpt:
"The real meaning of [abstract], which modernist critics have systematically sought to distort, is where an abstraction stands in for something - in other words, where it represents something, as a form of communication.
The word "carnation" is an abstraction for a genus of botanical objects in the real world...But no one thinks that the printed word "carnation" is the flower carnation... It is an abstraction in words for those things or experiences in the real world. These abstractions are potentially meaningful because they refer to things; put enough of them together in the right order and these abstractions we call words can become scientific treatises or lyrical ballads. It is the expressive intention, the fictionalizing of reality for the purpose of giving an idea in the artist's mind a concrete reality, that makes these abstractions fit messengers for art.
"Words are both abstractions in this sense, and also representations . Indeed, the very activity of representing something is a process of abstraction. The question is what is the meaning or the value of the representation. ...real art is when a painter can take a flat canvas, and with paint and brushes create abstracted recreations of reality, shaped by consummate craftsmanship and a poetic soul. Real art communicates or expresses compelling stories about the odyssey of human life; all the leagues it has travelled, all the lands it has visited - some lands strange and exotic, others in our own gardens and fields...
"...Therefore, there are no more successful abstractions in art than those dreams on canvas conjured by Michelangelo, Botticelli, Titian, Rembrandt, Rubens, Vermeer, William Bouguereau, John William Waterhouse, or Sir Lawrence Alma-Tadema."
- Fred Ross, Chairman, Art Renewal Center