Wednesday, 24 August 2011

External Inspiration {and another break from the break..}...

As part of Kat Sloma's Find your Eye: Journey of Recognition course that I am currently doing we were asked to visit an art exhibition as a way to learn from other artists.  I absolutely loved  it and it was really thought provoking.  This is an attempt to bring some definition to my thoughts about what really caught my eye and inspired me.

[The exhibition I went to was a small art exhibition of local artists where we were on holiday in East Anglia.  We regularly holiday there and my dad was brought up in the area, so it is an area I know very well.  There was a wide variety of subject matter and medium in the exhibition].

Some of the things I that really caught my eye:

  • A beautifully painted close up image of weathered wood from a small fishing boat.  The artist had captured the texture of the weathered wood with peeling paint so beautifully that it almost made you want to reach out and touch it.  The day after the exhibition, we were on the beach and came across some weathered boats.  This is one of the photographs I took.

  • Illustration - there was a beautiful ink drawn illustration of two children holding hands, walking through a woods. It looked just like a book plate from a children's book I remember from my childhood. I love nostalgic images like that and it inspired this photo:

  • A beautiful landscape that absolutely encapsulated the feeling of the area.  East Anglia is very flat which can make the sky look enormous.  The artist had painted the flat landscape so that it was a tiny line at the bottom of the canvas; the rest was sky.  The colours used were an amazing range of blues conveying beautifully the water, mist and dark blue of evening as it fell.

Something I enjoyed less:
  • There was a beautifully sketched portrait. The portrait was in profile and the woman was obviously sitting to have her portrait done. I think the reason I did not respond to it was because it was very static.  The details were all about her hairstyle, her (impassive) facial features, the colour of her dress etc. The details chosen by the artist were not details that I could respond to.

This was such an interesting exercise and I think I was very fortunate in the variety that I encountered, particularly of subject matter.  I was initially attracted to photography as a means of memory keeping for my family but gradually this is expanding to more creative photography and I think that the things that caught my eye were, in part, a reflection of this as I begin to look at things in a different way and see the creative possibilities.  I think the theme that is common to all this artwork (or at least my interpretation of it) is the importance of detail.  I find detail so important because it is in the detail that the meaning and feeling of a piece of art can be found.  A different choice or emphasis of detail changes the piece entirely.

 I am looking forward to exploring more galleries and workshops on my continuing journey to 'find' my eye and  I will be interested to see how I respond to different art genres and styles and art that is from a less familiar environment.


  1. Beautiful photo examples from your artistic inspiration!

  2. I think nostalgia is a sentiment that colors much of my photography. I was trying to think of a word to express the feeling I got from many of the other artists' work that appealed to me most...and that's it, thank you!
    I absolutely love both of these images.

  3. Your photos are always so beautiful. Sounds liek a fruitful trip. It's a really great idea to get inspiration from others to help find what you love and excel at :) xx

    Visit The Other Side Of Cool - I'm having a giveaway!
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  4. Becs, I love this post and the photos you were inspired to take! Interesting comment about the drawing of the woman being "static", that the details were things you could not respond to. That is very good food for thought, something I had not considered before. Thanks for sharing your experience here.

  5. So good to be so inspired that you went and took photos that were so linked to what you saw. I reallylike oyur boat photo.

  6. i love the photo of your children (?) holding hands and going into the house. there's a great connection between then that you have captured beautifully, and they look a bit like they could be getting into some mischief, but then again maybe not at all, so the photo makes you stop and wonder. it's the little details, you are right, like the hands touching, the colour of their clothes that match the flowers nearby, and all this came from your visit to an art exhibition. this assignment did make us think a lot about our art and what inspires us (consciously or subconsciously). your post is making me think further about all this.

  7. Your lead photo of the boats...yes-suh. Very nice. How cool to find what inspired you from the gallery.
    I'm also intrigued by your comments about detail-I wouldn't have thought that through on my own. How changing one little thing, changes an entire image. The other evening I photographed a field of purple wild flowers. From the same 10 foot radius I was able to get a great variety of photos....I wasn't thinking of that as "detail", so thank you for that insight.
    I also like that you were drawn to two ends of the spectrum, impressionistic or super realistic....that's food for thought. And I'm totally with you on static.

  8. Thank you all so much for your lovely positive comments. I've loved reading all the other FYE pieces which have really given me food for thought.

    @ Florence, the little girl in the flowery nightdress is my daughter, the other little girl is my niece. And yes, mischief it was (but I'm glad it made you wonder!)

    @ Dorian Susan, you're right the whole impressionistic or super realistic thing is giving me a lot to think about. Still trying to work this one out!

    @ Rhi, thank you for your lovely comments about my photos. It really was fruitful and definitely something I'll be repeating soon!


  9. Such a nicely written post, you were really able to pull out the themes and matching images from your archive. Your observation of the sketch and what you didn't like about is very good - I think this might help you understand when you run across a photo that is very nice but doesn't "grab" you - will you see something similar? Another step in the journey! Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts with the class.

  10. Hi Kat, Thanks so much. It was very enlightening but has also given me a lot to think about. As you say, another step in the journey! I'm learning so much! Becsx

  11. You seem to have combined inspiration from art seamlessly to your photography. The boat image is beautiful, I could imagine it being the subject of a painting. Your input about the detail holds up for me as well.

  12. You expressed yourself so well! Love how you found and took great photos that illustrated each point! I especially love the boats!


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