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Posts tagged ‘art’

Influencing Me – Looking at Paintings for Inspiration

The other day I was having a conversation with Laura Macky and she was saying how she wants to start looking at paintings and artists from other times, or something to that effect.  When I was doing my fine art degree it was just something we had to do, Art History.  It was an important part of learning, to look at the work of other artists, and not just in the medium you were working in.  They were all important, painters, photographers, sculptors, printmakers, drawers, all of them.  Everytime I would start working on something new, one of my tutors would tell me about another artists to go and look at.  It was an interesting process, looking at the work of those would give you ideas for your own work, and sometimes reading about them would help you understand what it was that you were trying to do. It is something I miss about Uni, having someone to introduce new artists to you.

Since then I’ve heard other artists saying the same thing.  I was listening to something on Joel Grimes one day and he said how in art school it was something that you did, and how much you could learn from it. It is something that I still do today, and it is still important.  We can learn so much looking at paintings from other times.

It is good to know what sort of work you are interested in, for me, I’ve always been drawn to work that tells a story.  Work that draws you into the image.


Edward Hopper, for me, was one of the biggest influences. He told stories with his paintings.  I know they were all set up, and he could do things that we as photographers couldn’t, unless we really set the scene up.  It was something that made me stop loving photography for a few years until digital came in.  I liked how painters could invent their realities, in a way you couldn’t with film photography.  Of course, now, digital has changed that a lot and it is possible to to do it so much more now.  Artists have been creating their own realities for centuries.

Anyway, getting back to the story telling.  I have started realising that it is something I want in my images, I like the idea of story, or giving a place something.  Perhaps that was part of the reason why I disliked landscape photography for so long, because I couldn’t find the story in it, not like the painters did. Recently I was watching Ian Shive, an American National Parks photographer and he was saying that you have to find the story.  Work out what you want to say with the image.  That makes sense to me.  I have started noticing the way I approach landscapes has changed after hearing that.


Rembrandt was a master of painting scenes, painting what he saw.  His images tell you something about the way people lived, good or bad.

the_geographer - Vermeer

Vermeer did the same, setting up scenes that were about every day life.  Though, many paintings do depict people in everyday situations, there were others painting and adding different stories and different types of drama into their work.


George Stubbs painting  of the horse being attacked by a lion, is so powerful. I think all of us have seen different depictions of this.  Our National Gallery of Victoria also has a sculpture of it.  This is theatre in paintings.  We don’t need to see the moving image, we know what happens, and the emotions are still there.


You have to mention Turner and he landscapes, seascapes and the intense drama that pulls you into the image.


Of course, putting drama into his landscapes was Ansel Adams, a master of the landscape.  He used darkroom techniques to turn something ordinary into some extraordinary.  Someone many of us look up to.

So, by looking at paintings you can see how the artists manipulated scenes through their brushes and paint to create something very powerful.  They did have the artistic talent to put there what wasn’t there, to invent the lighting, and to remove what they didn’t like.  It is something, that seems very frowned upon in the world of photography.  I don’t listen to that, I do what the masters did, when I can, I create the reality in my image that I want to create, send the message that I think is important.  You often don’t see the reality in my images, I play with it, change the lighting and make the reality the one I want you to see.  For inspiration I look at paintings and study what they have done.

Getting to galleries and seeing paintings is a great thing to do, but one place I have always enjoyed visiting is Art cyclopedia, an online gallery of sorts.  Whenever I hear of a new artist, it is one of the first places I go to.  It will give me information about the artist, and where you can find their work.  I also like how you can look at movements.  Unfortunately I don’t think the site is being kept up to date anymore and a lot of the links no longer work, but if you are interested in a particular styles it can be a good place to start.  I was looking at landscapes yesterday and found a couple of new artists, and I have some of their work here for you.

I am going to put some paintings, and photographs from artists that have been massive influences on me, and who I often turn to when I need inspiration. Do you find inspiration in paintings?  Which artists are you drawn too?  What type of artwork draws you in?


Influencing Me – J.M.W. Turner

In my own art practice lately I’ve noticed that I have been doing a lot more landscape images than ever before.  Landscape images were something I detested doing, I wouldn’t plan trips where that is what I would have to take, but slowly over time that has changed.  I think one of the greatest landscape artists of all time was Joseph Mallord William Turner. He was a painter that did the most amazing landscapes. I have seen a couple of his paintings and the thing that I remember the most about them was the incredible detail in some of them, but also the emotion that came from them.  His work was hard to walk about from.


Turner was born in 1775, but the date of his birth is unknown, and this is what Wikipedia had to say about him:

Joseph Mallord William Turner (baptised 14 May 1775 – 19 December 1851) was a British Romantic landscape painter water-colourist printmaker. Turner was considered a controversial figure in his day, but is now regarded as the artist who elevated landscape painting to an eminence rivalling history painting. Although renowned for his oil paintings, Turner is also one of the greatest masters of British watercolour landscape painting. He is commonly known as “the painter of light” and his work is regarded as a Romantic preface to Impressionism. Some of his works are cited as examples of abstract art prior to its recognition in the early twentieth century.



He was such a major influence on landscape painting of the day.  I don’t know all the reasons, why he changed landscape painting, though I suspect it was because of his style, he was very different to anyone else painting at that time.

Turner’s talent was recognised early in his life. Financial independence allowed Turner to innovate freely; his mature work is characterised by a chromatic palette and broadly applied atmospheric washes of paint. According to David Piper’s The Illustrated History of Art, his later pictures were called “fantastic puzzles.” However, Turner was recognised as an artistic genius: the influential English art critic John Ruskin described him as the artist who could most “stirringly and truthfully measure the moods of Nature.”


There are paintings that Turner did that resemble what many of the artists of that time were doing, though I think he will always be remembered for others scenes.


His use of colour was extraordinary.  When I think of painters of that time, a dark palette comes to mind.  They often painted dark scenes, but Turner changed so much of that.  He used so much yellow, with touches of oranges and reds.  It is like he wanted to include the sunset in many of his paintings.


I can certainly understand why he is considered a major influence for the Impression movement and there is a lot of that impressionist style in his work.

Most of us have heard of Turner and I am sure many of you have seen his paintings.  I love the drama in them and the emotions that you feel when you look at them.  They aren’t just pretty pictures.  It is something I would dearly love to get into my photographs.  We can learn so much looking at paintings.  There is something in them that image makers today can appreciate.  I was listening to Nature Photographer Art Wolfe the other day and he was talking about how important it is to look at the masters, and to see what they did.

If you want to read more about Turner Wikipedia have a good page on him, J.M.W. Turner, and to see more of his paintings, then Wikipedia Commons has a great page of his paintings. I have more to show you and will put them into a gallery for you.


Yakking Too Much

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThat is something I get accused of quite a bit, though perhaps, too much is not quite true, I do like to talk and I’m not afraid to talk.  Perhaps, as I was told recently, it is why I make a good teacher, because I like to talk.  I hope I am not one of those really annoying people that talks so much that people can’t get a word in, but I do like talking to people.  I love the act of communicating, it is one of the best things ever invented, if you ask me.  So today I thought I would just talk to you about some stuff, much like I have the last couple of Fridays, and I hope you don’t mind.

I’m off to the city today for another One on One Photography Session. Doesn’t look like a great sunny day for it, but as long as it isn’t raining, it will be good.  LeanneCole-docklands-Melbourne-melbournestar-9348Another opportunity for me to get to meet someone and do more talking.  Showing people and teaching them how to take better photos is an absolute joy for me.  There is nothing better than to be with someone for 4 hours and just talking about photography.

Social Snappers Photography Excursions

Well, it is done, the Social Snappers have been launched. This idea has come from how I like to go out and take photos.  I have heard from so many different people about what they like to do when they go out to take photos, and one thing I have noticed is that women seem to like groups.  I know I do, how much fun is it to go out on an excursion to take photos with people who are there for exactly the same reasons you are.  I also want these to be considered social as well, with the idea that you will meet people who have similar interests as you, and there is a lot of time to talk.

I have asked everyone on Facebook to share it, and I was hoping I could ask you guys to do the same.  I know a lot of you aren’t in Melbourne, but with so many degrees of separation and all that, you might know someone who knows someone who might live in Melbourne.  You just never know.

Getting Back to the Work

LeanneCole-docklands-melbourne-promenade-9441I have been doing lots of stuff lately and one of the things I haven’t been doing enough is my art practice, so I need to start working on some images.  I stopped doing the fine art portraits because they didn’t feel right to me.  I have a whole series of images that fit a theme, a theme I have been working on for about 10 years or more, and I needed to find a way to make them work in that.

When I was at Uni, a friend asked me if I had started working on my essay, and I said yes, I’ve started thinking about it.  Well that is what I’ve been doing for the last six months or so, thinking, coming up with ideas, planning, more thinking. I think I finally have some ideas of how to do these LeanneCole-docklands-Melbourne-harbourtown-9394portraits images so they fit into my theme, or my style.  So stay tuned for those, I hope.

Though, perhaps, something I have come to realise is that maybe I shouldn’t be concerned about the portraits, and maybe people have nothing to do with my art work.  At art school I made a kitchen, there are photos here, you have seen them.  I was intrigued with the idea of what we leave behind and what happens to it after we have gone.  The Chernobyl disaster was a massive inspiration for me,  the workers town and what has happened to it since just being left.

I do believe in climate change, I can feel that it is happening, and how much has happened in my lifetime, but that isn’t what this is about.  I do want that to inform my work and I am interested in what happens to a planet when the humans are gone.  I find it fascinating.  I want to enter a art competition next week, so I need to get some images ready for it, but I thought today, I would depress you all with some dark images, the style of image that I like best.  I need to start working on a artist statement for it, so I hope you don’t mind that I have been working out some ideas in this post.  When I write it, I may just put it up here with the images I have entered the comp with.

I hope you all have very busy weekends planned and lots of photos.  It is a long weekend here, so maybe the sun will shine.  A gallery for you as per usual, the gallery has a couple more images of the kitchen as well.

Finding What Inspires You

scchambers-5hpm7546-6I have written my latest post for and today’s topic is about finding inspiration.  I know, that for some, finding inspiration is hard, and for others not so hard, so the post, Finding What Inspires You, is about finding ways, and about how I find inspiration.  Please take a look, and it would be great if you could leave comments over there, makes me look good, LOL.  Thanks

Here is the link again

Finding What Inspires You

Influencing Me – Sue Bryce

How do some people influence you?  I know that sounds like a strange question, but sometimes when I do these posts it is easy to assume that most people influence you because of how their work influences your work, or informs it.  When I met Nia last week she talked about how many artists I seem to know and how many influence me, but when she realised that I had a Bachelor of Fine Art she said she wasn’t surprised.  One thing you learn from studying art is how important it is to look at art and to learn from others.  Look at their work, but also at how they work.

So today’s post is about the photographer Sue Bryce, and for me she is one of those photographers that you don’t just look at her work, you look at HOW she works.  (Please note, I have contacted Sue and her people and have been given permission to show her work here to you.)

Sue-Bryce-Ballet-112Sue is predominantly a glamour photographer, which is basically taking beautiful portraits of people.  That is how I know her, well until recently.  The first time I had heard of Sue was through a woman I met at the UCI Track World Championships last year.  She said if I wanted to move away from cycling and get into portraits that I should look at her and see how she works.  I didn’t though.  My confidence wasn’t great and at the time, I didn’t really think I could do portraits.

Then recently, when I started watching creativeLIVE I saw Sue on there.  I was hooked, not really because of her work, sorry Sue, but more for the way she worked and the way she went out and got what she wanted.  She shared so many hints and tips on how to be a successful portrait photographer.  She is incredibly generous with her knowledge.

417989_366902946664200_1243153942_nThen recently she did another creativeLIVE show with Lara Jade on Creative Portraits, and I suddenly saw all this work of Sue’s that I hadn’t seen before and it really opened my eyes to some new possibilities.  I purchased the course, of course.  I have watched it quite a few times, and often go back and look at bits of it.  I had not thought of Sue as a Fine Art Photographer, and in fact, most of what I had seen before had led me to believe that she wasn’t one, I was wrong.

Much of the art work that she creates she does for herself and to enter into competitions.  During the above workshop she talked about why she creates them, and how she plans them, and showed us what she does.  She and Lara also discussed textures and how to make some.  Some of the things that both showed were mind blowing and things that I had never thought of.  I have done quite a few of the ones that Sue talked about.  Great tips.

Sue-Bryce-Ballet-BHTS-2Here is an image of Sue working.

There are many things that a lot of us could learn from Sue and how she works.  I don’t work the same way as her in Photoshop, but I have picked up a couple of ideas and tips on things I can incorporate into my work.  She does mentoring, I don’t know how it works, but it would be wonderful to have someone like her to be your mentor, someone to push you from behind to keep going forward.

Now I have my new camera, I am all set to start working, and doing some things that I have seen Sue do.  I am excited, unfortunately all my models are in the middle of their exams right now, so I have to wait until they are finished.  I can start planning some things though.

Sue can be found on her website, there is also a link to her blog there, and her blog has lots of useful information on it as well.  Definitely worth a look.  I have put together a gallery of images, but please go and take a look at her work on her site and blog as well.   Also, thank you to Sue for allowing me to feature her here today.

Influencing Me – The Romantics

Sounds like a rock band or something, but I am referring to another group of painters/artists.  Romanticism, according to the ARTCYCLOPEDIA, “might best be described as anticlassicism. A reaction against Neoclassicism, it is a deeply-felt style which is individualistic, exotic, beautiful and emotionally wrought.”  I think it is the last part that is more important here.  The part that we can all relate to.

I have to admit, when I thought of doing this post, I really had no comprehension of how involved and how influential it really was.  I read somewhere that the Pre-Raphaelites were influenced by Romanticism, and since I have been looking at it a lot lately, then I thought it might be good to go back further.  I had no idea what I was getting myself in for.

Webmeia-gainsboroughI also had no real idea of who the artists were and who I would find.  When I went to the ARTCYCLOPEDIA to look up the movement, I was blown away by who some of the artists were.  They are names most people who love art are familiar with, Thomas Gainsborough (painting above), George StubbsFrancisco de Goya, Eugene DelacroixWilliam BlakeCaspar David FriedrichJoseph Mallord William Turner, and John Constable.  I don’t know about you, but they are all artists that I am familiar with, have seen their work at exhibitions, and most of us, I am sure, love their work.  There is one name I haven’t mentioned, the only woman I found, Marguerite Gerard (painting below).  How wonderful to find a woman painting at that time.

932px-Marguerite_Gérard_-_The_first_stepsSo what was the movement?  According to Wikipedia “Romanticism (also the Romantic era or the Romantic period) was an artistic, literary, and intellectual movement that originated in Europe toward the end of the 18th century and in most areas was at its peak in the approximate period from 1800 to 1850. Partly a reaction to the Industrial Revolution,[1] it was also a revolt against aristocratic social and political norms of the Age of Enlightenment and a reaction against the scientific rationalization of nature.[2] It was embodied most strongly in the visual arts, music, and literature, but had a major impact on historiography,[3] education[4] and the natural sciences.[5] Its effect on politics was considerable and complex; while for much of the peak Romantic period it was associated with liberalism and radicalism, in the long term its effect on the growth of nationalism was probably more significant.”

I am only giving you small sections of this, I would recommend you go to Wikipedia if you want to find out more.


Nature is very important and what nature can do, especially when you look at Turner’s work.  I find his portrayal of the ocean so powerful.  Of course, it is much easier for us to get images like this these days, just take a photo.  Imagine how much harder it would have been for Turner, he had to work from his memory a lot.  It is just amazing.

A_Lion_Attacking_a_Horse_by_George_Stubbs_1770I am sure most of you have seen either this image, or like images by George Stubbs.  Our gallery here, the National Gallery of Victoria, has a painting of it as well, here is a link to the image, A Lion Attacking the Horse.

There is a lot of emotion in these images, not all, but many do evoke some sort of emotion in those of us who are looking at them.  They ask you to react to them.  I love images that do that, it is drama in images, almost like stills from the theatre of life.  It really is something I want to get more into my own work and something I am working on.

I have a gallery of images for you, the artists name should be in each file name, though I might put the artists name under each.

Celebrating 30 years of Rick Amor at Niagara Gallery

That isn’t the exact title, I think it is more Rick Amor – Celebrating 30 years of Exhibiting with Niagara Gallery.  I couldn’t miss this show, in fact I try to never miss exhibitions Rick’s work.  So I was really happy when I received a comment reminding me of the exhibition, that it finishes soon, from someone who works at the gallery, so thank you for the reminder.  

The exhibition is work done in the last couple of years and gives you a great insight into his work.  

While I was viewing the exhibition I asked if I could show a couple of images of the paintings here on my blog and was given permission to do so.  

15627There are many buildings in his images and I find the presence of people in them quite wonderful, the way the people just allow you that hint of scale, though if they weren’t in the above image I don’t think it would detract from it at all.  

15632I just don’t think this image would have worked without that man working on the side, it really gives you the idea of how big this actually is.  I think you see it the structure in the image but don’t get much idea of scale, and then you see the man, then it suddenly seems monumental.  I love it.  

15647The beach has been a favourite subject matter for Rick for as long as I have been following his work.  I love the way he depicts it.  The way there often seems to be a storm brewing.  I have to say the concrete bunkers look like ones that are at Point Lonsdale.  

The exhibition is on until the 7 September, so if you are in Melbourne you should go and take a look at one of my favourite artists and one that has been a huge influence on my work.  Niagara Galleries are on Punt Road, very easy to find, look for the red and white building that has “Art Does Matter” written on the side.  If you want to buy one, something I dream of doing one day, then you better be quick, there are red stickers on nearly all of them.  

If you would like to see a lot of Rick Amor’s work, then you should also visit his website,


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