I have admired a diversity of artists and been influenced in many different ways.  From my earliest beginnings:

The two passions I have had as long as I’ve been alive are, horses and art (that was the order of priority when I was a child, they have since reversed!)  When I was about ten, my Grandparents gave me a text-book sized, hard-cover book on everything about horses.  In it, was a section dedicated to ‘horses in art’…paintings, sculptures and statues.  I was steadfastly intrigued with one image in particular, “Horse Frightened by a Lion” by George Stubbs circa 1770.

The book contained hundreds of color photos of horses and this one was one that required me to look at it, no matter how briefly I opened the book for.  I studied the muscular form of the all-white horse, the expression on its face, the kinesiology of its crouching legs. I was fascinated with the lighting in the painting and how it revealed such a realistic face of a lion lurking in the dark background.  I always wondered what the actual painting would look like and, ‘how did the artist do that?”

The image was seared in my brain, and at the age of fourteen, after a couple of paycheques from my first job, I bought myself some oil paints and a 9” x 12” canvas board and painted my first oil painting; not wanting to title it, “Horse Frightened on the Beach.”, the dark horse crouching underneath a storm with a pounding surf beside it, is more dramatically titled, “Escape to Nowhere.”

I have since evolved past painting horses exclusively, and regularly review biographies and works of artist’s from many regions throughout history, as well as new works from current day artists.  It’s usually a combination of strong/intriguing composition, color, texture and subject matter that attracts my attention; I bookmark the artist on my computer or collect books/magazines for future referencing.  The idea behind this collection is not to “copy”; seeing the arrangement of lines and brushstrokes of another’s mind can inspire the “stirring of a new idea to fulfillment”.

The list is long but some of my inspirations (besides George Stubbs) are:

Peter Paul Rubens (for the expert brushstrokes, movement and lighting quality in oil paint, that I hope to someday master),

Salvador Dali (for his unique imagination and being so prolific in so many areas),

Hieronymus Bosch (for staying true to his unconventional mindset),

Paul Klee ( for producing “Ad Parnassum” which turned me on to ‘little squares’ and ultimately mosaic with glass),

Toni Onley (an exciting Canadian landscape artist;  his watercolors were executed with superb skill and are simply luminous.  His commitment to recording locales, sometimes in adverse conditions, allowed him to capture the essence of Canadian scenery),

JM William Turner (for the consuming atmosphere that fills his works),

Rufino Tamayo (for demonstrating how being influenced by previous Movements and mixing cultural ideas can produce a fantastic style uniquely your own).

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