It’s easy to dismiss Lowry’s paintings as ‘matchstick’ men, but look closely and each mark accurately portrays a mood, gesture or action. Simple yet full of life in all it’s grimy, relentless, repetitious, wondrous beauty. His paintings have a real sense of place and time. The bleak drudgery of the factories, the smoking chimneys, accurately represents the lives of the people he saw every day. It connects me to my northern dna and stirs the bit of me that loves the redbrick terraced house, with doorsteps right on the pavement, no gardens, just a yard. The textures of the industrial landscape, the smells, colours and noise of mills, factories, machinery makes me want to reach for my brushes and get it all down on paper.
An artist whose paintings we are used to seeing so often that we have grown used to it. But look again with fresh eyes; They are truly remarkable. The Water Lily is a painting lots of people are familiar with but did you know it is actually a series of over 250 paintings? The paintings are of Monet’s garden in Giverney, how incredible to have such a garden (but what a lot of work!) and what luxury to be able to paint this same subject through all the seasons. Monet captures the delicate play of light on the water and flowers in his unique style creating a hazy, atmospheric painting. He suffered with cataracts which may have taken a part in the development of his style. As an artist who is moved by light, I am always filled with a passion to paint having viewed a Monet. Rouen Cathedral is another to look at. Painted at different times throughout the day and year, Monet again captures the delicacy of light on this historic building,
Vincent Van Gogh
What do I like about Turner? The vast seascapes, watery reflections, hazy sunshine, the atmosphere he crafts into his paintings. The translucent watercolour paintings, the depth, the intense blue he uses, the hint of a distant figure. So many things, such light within each painting, so much to learn from and an artist I turn to when I get stuck for ideas.
A watercolour artist whose book changed my approach to painting forever. Initially a botanical artist, Jean Haines now specialises in loose, free flowing watercolour paintings. She is always pushing the boundaries of the medium, some of her recent work is dark and has many layers of opaque watercolour. Her style adapts and develops, going through phases of purity (no white paint to be used) to experimental times mixing inks and homemade formulas creating texture and interest. She is an ongoing inspiration.
“St. Mary le Port, Bristol.”
I love this painting by John Piper, I must admit to not having seen any of his others. Which is something I will put right. The intense blues and rusty , orangey browns catch my artistic heart and make me want to get my oil paints out. I love too the scratchy textures and how the light is shining through the bombed out church. The unfinished feel of some details adds to the subjects brokeness. Standing in front of it at The Tate, it is breathtaking.
I once asked the question over on my facebook page (click here if you aren’t yet a follower) “who is your favourite artist” and one of my followers introduced me to the compassionate soul of Charlie Mackesy. His exquisite inky illustrations of The Boy, The Horse, The Fox and The Mole have helped people through difficult times, encouraging, understanding and empathising with the emotional difficulties life confronts you with. What greater achievemnt could you hope for than your art to be healing in this way. Click here to see what I mean.