I’ve been thinking a lot lately about where my inspirations come from. I’ve discussed before that I’m inspired by colour and flowers, but I also have a passion for Art and have done since I was a small child. I don’t get to do it too often now but, especially when I was living in London, I liked nothing more than spending a free afternoon or couple of hours wondering around an art gallery or exhibition. There is something about the hushed silence interrupted only by a whispered exclamation when someone finds a piece of art they love, or the excited chatter of a group of art students. I just love it and I can sit for a few minutes in reverence of some of my favourites and find new things about them that I had never discovered before.
My tastes in art and my favourite artists are wide and varied. I have always had a love for traditional styles such as Renaissance Italian Art and the Pre-Raphelite period – there is something about the ethereal magical quality of these paintings that really appeals to me … and they are full of colour and vibrance and beauty. I think my favourite has always been Millais’ Ophelia.
But I also love lots of modern Art – I adored the Sensations exhibition at the Royal Academy in the 90s which was a showcase for some quite controversial artists and art. I personally loved the sculptures by Jake & Dinos Chapman and the work by Gillian Wearing but I know it wasn’t to everyone’s taste. But that is what is wonderful about art – no opinion is wrong, everything is valid. If you don’t like it that’s fine … but don’t criticise work just because you don’t understand it.
I also adore the work of M.C.Escher and have 3 prints of his work in my bathroom at home. Weirdly, although one of my favourite films as a child was Labyrinth which features some scenes which are heavily influenced and based on Escher’s ‘staircase works’, I didn’t realise at the time that this was the case and only discovered Escher later on in my teens when I was researching an art project at school. My own artwork had always gone against my art teachers wishes and was heavily detailed in pen and ink rather than the broad abstract strokes she favoured – so I was delighted to discover an artist whose work was so detailed and precise. Its odd that I’m attracted to Escher and so much of his work is in black and white, but I love the playfulness, the warped perspectives and the intricate repeat patterns.
My favourite gallery to visit has always been the National in Trafalgar Square in London. Two of my favourite paintings by my favourite artists hang here and when I lived in London I would try and get to the National at least once a year to visit ‘An Allegory with Venus and Cupid’ by Bronzino and ‘Whistlejacket’ by George Stubbs.
I hope that Art influences all of you in some way and I would thoroughly advise if you don’t get to galleries or exhibitions very often to make the effort and go ( take a look at http://www.artfund.org/what-to-see for details of exhibitions and galleries near you ) … its a truly great way to spend an afternoon and relax.