A wise and wonderful mentor once asked me who my heroes were. Until then, I’d never really thought about heroes. “It’s important Judy” she said, “it will shape your practice.”
Every artist learns from those who came before. We absorb the current trends, ideas, mediums from our contemporaries. The artists that we admire, that inspire us and teach us, do inform our creative work, both consciously and unconsciously.
One of my art teachers in Melbourne recounted how he did a plein air landscape painting of a river in Victoria, only to discover subsequently that an artist from the Heidelberg School had stood in that very place years before and painted the same scene.
For my art teacher, coming across the earlier work was a special moment; to discover that you unknowingly took the same path, and chose the same vantage point as one of your artistic heroes is a confirmation of your own artistic sensibility.
As so often happens wise words re-surface to assist us in times of change. Sophie’s comments about heroes come back to me now. I feel the need to dig a deeper into the works of other artists, to absorb what they can teach me.
As part of this process, I am starting a monthly series of blogs titled ‘Artists that inspire’. There’s no particular order, genre or period. My trip to Spain last year provides a great launching place. Stay posted for the first of the series on the 21st April.