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Influences and reference points

Artists are often asked which other artists they admire as it's always an interesting insight into their influences and reference points. Here's three of mine, all very well-known British artists whose work I continually admire and have referred to for inspiration from my art book library over the years: Turner, Constable and Hodgkin.

Being influenced by J. M. W Turner's work is something that most contemporary artists can probably take for granted because he is Britain's most famous landscape painter, but personally I have also been inspired by his back story, starting as a self-taught barber's son and succeeding through absolute dedication, natural ability and an innate instinct for the 18th century art market. For other Turner fans, I would thoroughly recommend reading the fascinating and brilliant biography on him by Franny Moyle, 'The extra ordinary life and times of J.M.W. Turner'. A visit to Petworth House in West Sussex is also very worthwhile for any Turner art-lovers.

And a contemporary of Turner, another extraordinary 18th century painter is John Constable, equally hardworking and talented and whose seascapes of Brighton and landscapes of Wiltshire I particularly admire, they are familiar places to me having spent much time in both places during my own life.

I love flicking through exhibition catalogues such as, 'Constable and Brighton' at the illustrations to admire the colour palette he has used and the artists' manner of painting.

Lastly there's Howard Hodgkin, the most contemporary but also one of the most fascinating British painters of recent times whose unmistakeable works capture memories, impressions and emotions. Hodgkin himself described his works as 'representational pictures of emotional situations'. I myself often find emotion is a starting point for a piece of work and I love the boldness of his painting style, the colour, and his painted frames.

These three artists remind me that being an artist is a journey and how you never stop learning.

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