Creative influences – I’m a visual learner

An ongoing catalogue of art that has preoccupied me at certain times in life. By preoccupied I mean, preoccupied with anything that I could find to read, watch, listen, view about that artist or author and just carry about with me. These works pressed me to go to art college. Since art college I’ve read hundreds of books and watched a lot of films but none match the few listed below. These set the core of who I am. All our thoughts are manufactured in some way (Derrida) and some works of art help me to make sense of that (my words).

Colour Theory

Faber Birren (1900-1988), Image credit TBC

Birren comes under ‘Influences’ as I try to find my own response to working with colour.


Dante Gabriel Rossetti, Beatrix (c.1864–70), Tate Modern

The first art print that I bought from Tate Modern. I only really understood the symbolism of life and death when I read Dante’s Inferno (Divine Comedy) and learnt more about the Rossetti family.

St George embossed on the bell

Andrei Rublev 1966

© The Estate of Andrei Tarkovsky

Andrei Tarkovsky

While living in Hong Kong I became spell-bound by the films of Andre Tarkovsky. They changed me forever. I was mesmerised by Andrei Rublev and inspired to read or watch just about anything that I could get my hands on by Andrei Tarkovsky.

Samuel Beckett

I read the biography of Samuel Becket whilst living in Hong Kong. A tomb of a book and I adored it. Most memorably his early years living in Paris/France. Fascinating! I struggled to understand his plays until I had read his biography.

What a wonderful, rich, read. I was transported. Pure pleasure.


Jan van Eyck, The Arnolfini Portrait (1434), National Portrait Gallery

Studying at Central Saint Martins; First seen in a slide presentation; I learnt that some works of art are constructed to demonstrate success and wealth – and that just about any media can be constructed.

Abstract Form

Dame Barbara Hepworth, Two Forms (Divided Circle) 1969

My mum lived in St. Ives for over 20 years so I visited regularly – and I lived in St. Ives for about a year. Barbara Hepworth wrote in a letter “when I made it (two forms) I was very keen to make something which was the equivalent of say a flower, or a crystal or a shell – not a copy of such, but an equivalent of radiance.”

D H Lawrence

One of the D H Lawrence books that I read whilst travelling and living in Australia. It wasn’t the politics that stirred me it was Lawrence’s freedom, his life; he liked to write in the morning and spend the afternoons walking. I liked that idea – although I didn’t recognise his Australia at all.

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