Blog Inspiration and other Artists

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Inspiration and Other Artists...

In my experience, once you say you are an artist, the next inevitable question (after being asked what you paint), will be ‘What artists do you like?’ It is always a hard question to answer, because it constantly changes, as your own art work changes and develops. This also depends on the type of art you are looking at.

Before I discuss in depth the artists that inspire me, let’s discuss what inspiration is. Inspiration is not generally a deliberate act; no artist should set out to copy or even be similar to another. I tend to recognise similarities and where my inspiration has come from after the event. Inspiration tends to be a small fragment you see in another artist’s work. I have always loved the colour used by Fauve artists; however my paintings are nothing like those of the Fauves, the similarities between them and my paintings are the bold use of colour. The Fauves tend to use opposite colours, purple next to yellow, or blue next to orange. They concentrate on the primary and secondary colours, where as I use a lot of tertiary colour, including those that blend and compliment each other. Another striking difference between the Fauves and my art work is the painting technique, they are usually quite loose with their brushwork, whereas my paintings have smooth brushwork. I occasionally use texture underneath the paintings, but this texture rarely derives from my brushwork. Therefore, there are similarities between my work and the Fauves, and I do love the art movement, but there are vast differences as well making them an influence or inspiration.

To View examples of Fauve artworks click here.

Most people when looking at my work liken me to Georgia O’ Keefe, I can’t deny that I do absolutely love her work. Earlier in my career I was very much interested in form and symmetry just as O’Keefe is in her flower paintings. However, what I dislike about Georgia O’Keefe’s work is how slick her paintings look, because of their smooth surface. Now my brushwork isn’t as loose as the Fauves, but it is much more obvious in my later works than in O’Keefe’s paintings. My current work has an interest in symmetry and form from nature, but mainly it is concerned with humanity’s perception of nature and relationships between flora and fauna within the local ecosystem. I have inserted a painting of an iris I did 14 years ago (below left) and a painting of some irises last year (below right), you can see how the early work was influenced by O’Keefe, but the current work less so. I believe that my work could never have been mistaken for an O’Keefe; we were merely interested in the same topics within nature.

To see O'Keefe's work click here.

Influence and inspiration come from many sources, and one artist who I absolutely love is Andreas Gursky. Gursky is a photographer, who creates massive prints of urban scenes. I love the sense of space he captures in his work. He also uses a lot of pattern and symmetry in his work, and colour that makes his urban scenes appear cheerful. I love how when you look at his work, you feel it could go on forever. In retrospect, my long thin landscape paintings could be influenced by the way in which he too structures his compositions. Our work is wildly different, but I have always admired the feeling of vastness he is able to capture.

To View examples of Gursky's artworks click here

Gursky’s work has no direct link to mine, but there is a small element from his work that has influenced me. As I have researched and admired many artists throughout my career, you remember the exhibitions that had the most impact upon you and why. Another artist’s work I love and always have done is J.M.W. Turner, especially his later works. One of my favourite paintings, which has been since I was a child, is “Jessica” by Turner, which hangs in the galleries at Petworth House. I remember each time I visited this house, I would speed through all the other paintings so I could stare at that one. As with any portrait it has an enigma, I would find myself asking “who was she”? Now it is no longer an enigma, as the National Trust website clearly tells us that it is “Jessica” is from the merchant of Venice. This knowledge eluded me as a child, I didn’t know this and I could let my imagination wander! I was stunned by the lace in the painting, as I had no clue on how he managed to paint it (internet photos do not do this painting justice). The painting has a striking yellow background which seems to glow behind Jessica, when lit correctly, and it is the light that Turner captures in which I am fascinated. I too am obsessed with trying to capture the translucency of light within the sky and clouds. Obviously light is light and to some extent it cannot be depicted, but I often strive to create a glow in my work. I achieve a glow by putting layer upon layer of thin paint onto board, and Turner also used layers, however when you study the surface of his paintings, I am always surprised at how thick his paint is in places. In my paintings where I have created a glow, it is done with very thin paint, so thin you can still see the texture of the board if you look closely enough. I am still striving for the light and glow in my paintings to be even more like light itself.

To see Turner's painitng of "Jessica" click here.

Finally, another artist that inspires me is Anselm Kiefer. Our work is completely different, colour palettes are opposite and the ideas behind our work are completely polarised. However, in his landscape paintings I like how he has used texture to give the feel of the landscape. In some of his paintings he is using soil and straw, the landscape itself, to create the paintings. I too like to use texture, because I want to disrupt the viewer from thinking it is a pretty flower depicted. We see the flower because that is all we want to see, but in fact a lot goes on within nature to create that flower. Nature isn’t ordered or perfect, it is chaotic (in the mathematical sense), which gardeners often try to control. The texture in my paintings is there to reflect the underlying disorder within nature, it often has a rhythm to the texture, just as the disorder does.

To see examples of Kiefer's work click here.

If you would like to know more about the art works in this blog, then please do not hesitate to contact me on

March 2019


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