Sunday, 7 July 2019

What sort of artist are you? On influences and style.

Take me to nature with Monet

Two weeks ago I attended an artist development workshop with Matthew Burrows at ABC Projects Atelier. I felt that I needed a bit of a kick to recharge my self confidence and creative juices.

All people who make art have ups and downs of creativity. I was in a dip, but the workshop has well and truly kicked me back to life.

Since then I have been turbo-charged into activity, with a list of tasks as long as my arm. I have so much to do, and project number one is to prepare for my show 'Conversations with Nature' in Rye Art gallery this August. Planning some time for creativity and experimentation is also high on the list..... but as usual my indecision is making it hard to decide where or what I wish to do.

One of the preparatory tasks for the weekend was to come with images of artist that have influenced my practice. I was asked to find classical, contemporary and modern artists, which reminded me that I am really not a big fan of old paintings and elaborate sculptures.

This was confirmed when I made my first visit to the Wallace Collection recently.

Wallace collection
I don't do ornate.

or gilded

or velvet

or flock.

chair not for sitting

I am definately not a fan of chairs that can't be sat on.

Or of men in wigs.

wigged gentleman sculpture

The cavalier may be laughing, but I was not.

Something is wrong with my appreciation of art.

I remember developing stomach pains every time my mother dragged me around the National Gallery as a child.

I fail to appreciate the talent on show.

Maybe ignorance is to blame.

So who did I find amongst my influences?

Well Monet for sure.

It must be because he loves the great outdoors, as do I.

Calming greens and waterlilies.  I have always loved these.

Next came Turner.

Now you see where I get my out of focus style....

Norham Sunrise, Turner

Lying in cool water under a tree. More water and greenery. I loved this as a child, and still do.
Wild swimming done with style.

Ophelia by Millais

More lillies and a profusion of roses from John Singer Sargent. I had this hanging in my bedroom as a very unrebellious teenager.

Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose

I think it is fair to say that these paintings explore the outdoors, just as I do.

Moving forward in time I found plenty to enjoy, and was spoilt for choice.

Rothko was an easy choice.

Norman Ackroyd another.

His prints of sea and coast, birds and waves are full of movement.

Also in monochrome, the photographer Masao Yamamoto

Smaller details, exquisitely presented. And books that I aspire to emulate.

And then, for sheer playfulness, land artist Andy Goldsworthy.

Throwing sticks to the wind.....

And for abstract forms, it is hard to beat Victor Pasmore

 and Agnes Martin, who I have written about before.

It was pointed out to me that I like strongly contrasting darks and lights....  something I was not conscious of previously.

But where did all this get me?

I guess it validates my choice of outdoor subject matter, and my preference for minimalism and abstraction over red velvet and gilt frames. Also my preference for the small details of landscape over the wider view. I haven't mentioned many of my photographic influences; Sally Mann, Jackie Ranken, Paul Kenny and Ansel Adams would  be a good start, but there are too many to mention.

This was only a tiny part of the whole workshop, and more important was a statement of what I believe in, and what my dream for the future would be.

Spending time working out what I want to achieve was a really positive exercise.

As a result, I am turning the house upside down to make a workspace for making things at weekends and when I do not have access to my studio in Rye.

Then I will be able to play every day, and even try some collage like these by Katrien de Blauwer, which I find totally alluring.

 More dark and light.....

And so much fun.

What sort of artist are you?