My influences and inpiration

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Girl at a Window – Rembrandt

I was recently asked, in one of the artist support groups I belong to, to discuss the artists who have influenced me and inspired my work. I have to say I was very concerned about this as my net spreads far and wide, so I stand to make myself look as if I have a multiple personality disorder. Please understand that I am in no way undermining or trying to discredit people who suffer from these disorders, but maybe when you read through who I like and why you might understand what I mean.

Self portrait – Rembrandt

I thought I would start with what is possibly, but not definitely, my favourite painting, Girl at a Window by Rembrandt. There are many images of this painting on the internet, but the original is in the Dulwich Picture Gallery in London and really it must be seen in person to fully appreciate it. The use of glazing and, most notably, chiaroscuro (meaning the effect of light and dark in contrasted light and shadow) is fabulous.

Rembrandt was renowned for using this effect, which gives the appearance of depth, creating the illusion of three dimensions on the two-dimensional piece to dramatic effect. You can see in this image of the piece how this technique, which Rembrandt also employed in his self-portraits, is used.

The Return from Fishing – Joaquin Sorolla

High on my list of favoured artworks is this piece, The Return from Fishing, by Joaquin Sorolla. The painting is huge and is another example of a piece you have to sit in front of to truly appreciate how amazing it is. I was fortunate to see it at the National Gallery some years ago. I could have looked at it all day.

Women Walking on the Beach – Joaquin Sorolla

Women Walking on the Beach, also by Sorolla, is another favourite. The heat of the day is evident, the women’s flowing dresses appeal to my romantic side and the use of light is fantastic.

The Kiss – Gustav Klimt
Judith and Holofernes – Gustav Klimt

I then jump to Gustav Klimt. I love his painting, The Kiss. I grew up with Klimt’s works as my mother in particular loved them, so we had these images on our walls. For me the variety of shapes were of most interest and no doubt my love of gold in art also came from this and another piece, Judith and Holofernes.

Alexander Calder

So here is where the jumps start to come. I absolutely adore the works of Alexander Calder. I think I have loved mobiles since I was a baby, but his pieces are special. I took a friend to see an exhibition of his work at Tate Modern. She prefers the old masters and has little understanding of contemporary art, so was reluctant to go. We both sat in these rooms mesmerised by the mobiles, which were moving in the air currents created by the movement of people.

As The Spectator magazine’sreview put it: “Calder’s aerial sculptures are unquestionably beautiful: delicately balanced arrangements of forms like fluttering leaves, subatomic particles or celestial bodies, suspended from the lightest possible cat’s cradle of wire.”

Dr. Pozzi at Home – John Singer Sargent

As I have said many times, I love all colour and have no favourites, but I am particularly drawn to the red used by John Singer Sargent in his piece, Dr. Pozzi at Home, another of my all-time favourite paintings.

Henry Moore

I literally grew up with Henry Moore, as did many of us, possibly without even realising it. Again, my parents valued his work so images of his pieces were always around but also when we went anywhere Moore’s works were always just there: in Coventry city centre (where I spent my early years); at Kenwood; Wisley and in most major cities in England. So, for me there is a great comfort in having his work around me.

Norman Ackroyd is a master printmaker and although he is from the same era as my parents, he is my find and I love his work. I don’t want to make work like his as I am not a massive fan of purely monochrome prints but when they are done well, as in his case, that’s different. I would love to own one of his works and maybe one day I will treat myself. Best do it before he dies though as the value of them will go sky high when that happens.

Robert Smithson is renowned as a land artist, as you can see from the photos below. Now that we have a large amount of land to use (surrounding my new house), I would like to emulate both his and Andy Goldsworthy’s work. Both have created amazing pieces and I have a dream of creating some art that really inhabits an outdoor space. One day, maybe but right now I need to concentrate on finishing my BA, I suspect.

Jennifer Packer
Jenifer Packer

I have wanted to get back into making portraits for some time but haven’t because let’s face it, you are not going to buy a painting of one of my sitters; you don’t know them and are not invested in them. Recently I was introduced to an amazing American painter called Jennifer Packer. Her portraits are not personal even though she used the same few sitters repeatedly. The work is not about the sitter, but rather about how Packer uses the paint and the story she is surrounding the sitter with. She has made me realise that there is a way I can make portraits which fits around what interests me and is not about the person sitting.

Christian Hook
Christian Hook

Christian Hook is another artist who creates portraits which, like Jennifer Packer’s, are not about the sitter but the story, the use of colour and paint application. These two artists have given me a ton of ideas about how I can direct my portrait works ideas which I will allow to percolate over the coming months whilst I focus on my BA work.

Hurvin Anderson is another artist I have only recently discovered and the draw for me here is his use of bright, bold colours in a cheerful, fun way. It is the kind of work which instantly makes me smile and that alone is priceless, is it not?

Tessa Pearson

Last but not least, as there are many more artists I could name, I could not exclude Tessa Pearson. This lady is an amazing printmaker, in my humble opinion, and I am delighted to be able to say that I know her and own some of her art. Like me, Tessa loves bright, bold colours which feature in both her prints and her paintings. She has also had a personal influence on me and my work. I have taken many classes with her, as she has encouraged and supported me in my practice and has taught me how to be friendly and engaging with people whilst at the same time maintaining distance and professionalism.

Tessa Pearson

Watching Tessa at open studio events and at The Affordable Art Fair in Battersea Park, which she takes part in every year, has been so valuable. I owe her a lot just from watching her. She is one of my personal heroines and I am truly grateful for all I have learned from her.

Every time I speak to another artist, visit an art gallery, or scroll through the exhibition information for the big London galleries, I find new and wonderful artworks which sometimes influence what I am doing but mainly inspire me to keep going. There have been times when I have seen a collection of amazing works and thought, “Huh, they are all so good why am I even trying?”, but I don’t give up easily and at the end of the day, I make art to please me, not anyone else. If people like my work and want to hang it on their walls that is the cherry on the icing on the cake, but I still made the work for me and so I am happy.

NB Just for the record, I do not get paid to endorse any of the people or brands I have mentioned above. These are all products that I use and genuinely believe in and people I truly admire.

Please note that the photographs used to illustrate this non-profit-making blog were all obtained from the internet. I have not sought permission to use them as I believe it to be permitted as “fair use”. I do not own the copyright to any of these images, nor is it my intention to assert ownership or to breach any copyright. Should any copyright holder(s) object to my use of their images, please contact me and I will take them down.

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