Caspar David Fredrich

I strongly admire the work of the 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter Caspar David Fredrich. His realistic oil paintings of landscapes influence my work a great deal. I especially adore his fantastic paintings of misty skies, silhouettes and Gothic ruins.

Caspar David Friedrich - Cementery

Cloister Cemetery in the Snow, 1817-19, 121 x 170 cm, [Oil on Canvas].

I find this painting by Fredrich extremely captivating. I love how he has captured the mood of the scene in the cemetery by using dull greys and monotone colours. The composition is quite unique showing two dying trees framing the Gothic ruins in the background of the painting. I also love how Fredrich has used darker shades of colour around the edges of the painting to also frame the central image in the cemetery. This painting is a perfect example of dark romanticism.

Caspar David Friedrich - Hill and Ploughed Field near Dresden

Hill and Ploughed Field near Dresden, c.1824, [Oil on Canvas].

Here is another stunning painting by Fredrich where instead of focusing on and painting the city in the far distance, he has chose to paint the beautifully sun-lit hill. One thing I love about Caspar David Fredrich is that he chose to focus on the more simple things in a landscape and left the more complex scenery in the background as silhouettes which is what, in my opinion makes his artwork beautiful and unique. He has used strong yellows in the sky to compliment the dark purple and blue city-scape in the distance.

Caspar David Friedrich - Landscape with Oak Trees and a Hunter

Landscape with Oak Trees and a Hunter, c.1811, [Oil on Canvas].

This is another painting on Fredrich’s that really stands out to me. A lot of my personal paintings feature trees and the thick oak trees in Landscape with Oak Trees and a Hunter (above) are a real inspiration. I love how he has painted the trees with obtusely large trunks and small feathery leaves and branches separating them from the overgrown shrubs below. His painting technique is flawless where he has payed attention to the tiny details in the forest.

Caspar David Friedrich - Landscape with rainbow

Landscape with Rainbow, c.1810, 59 x 84.5 cm, [Oil on Canvas].

Above is one of my most favorite paintings by Caspar David Fredrich, Landscape with Rainbow. From the composition to the simplicity of the painting, everything about it appeals to me. The fact that the lower part of the painting towards the right shows the field covered by a shadow makes me wonder what could be causing the shadowed area. To me, the darker side of the painting could be symbolic to the darker side of life, where as the lighter part of the painting where the sun is shining over the fields shows a rainbow. Rainbows are often used to represent happiness which could, along with the sun shining, be showing the happy side of life. Once again, Fredrich has painted the far distant parts of the painting using purples and blues. I adore the work’s of Caspar David Fredrich and his romanticist style. His work really does influence my project.


Claude Monet 

Claude Monet was a 19th-century French Impressionist painter who’s paintings I have a great admiration for. I strongly admire his pointillist brush techniques and his strong use of colour.

impression: sunrise

Impression: Sunrise, 1873, [Oil Painting].

I love the early works of Monet and this painting was the painting that started Monet’s career and gave Impressionism its name. The painting’s focus is a French harbor at dawn. The orange active force from the sun’s energy juxtaposed against its bewildered, grey and frozen surroundings provide me with a sense of dynamism. The sun has reflections above and below the skyline and harbor which both consist of sparkling pulsating oranges having deep impact on the landscape as a whole. Although Monet was an artist known for painting as he saw, in this painting he has appeared to have painted the sun a lot brighter than we see it in reality which really fascinates me.


Springtime, 1886, [Oil Painting].

Monet enjoyed painting seasons. Of all his season paintings, his springtime pieces stood out to me the most. Monet’s Springtime shows the eighteen-year old daughter of Monet’s to be wife, Alice, and his own son, Jean Monet, in the orchard of his garden at Giverny in 1886. I feel that this painting has quite a romantic feel to it. I love the freedom of Monet’s brush strokes that give you more of an impression of the painting rather than make you focus on the tiny details.

Monet’s Les Nymphéas – My visit to Musée de l’Orangerie, Paris.


Earlier this year I visited Musée de l’Orangerie in Paris where I viewed eight incredibly large Monet paintings in the museum known as Les Nymphéas (Water lilies).  They are spread around two oval rooms all along the walls. I treasured the moments I spent viewing these paintings as they are entirely breath-taking. The colours are calming and elegant and create a sense of depth strong enough for you to lose yourself inside of the painting. His transparent brush strokes allow you to view the beauty of the colours beneath and from a distance are incredibly lifelike.


Above is possibly my favorite of all the paintings I viewed in Musée de l’Orangerie not only for its striking colours and vibrancy but for its powerful brushstrokes creating motion and character suggesting movement of the pond water and plants. I personally believe that a lot of passion and emotion must have been put into this astounding piece by Monet. He has managed to capture the movement of the water and created a conspicuous contrast between the warm yellows and icy blues and purples.



Cornelia Parker and Tilda Swinton


Tilda Swinton

“Cornelia Parker is an English sculptor and installation artist best known for her intervention with site-specific work, for large-scale installations. For some years her work has been concerned with formalising things beyond our control, containing the volatile and making it into something that is quiet and contemplative. Through a combination of visual and verbal allusions her work triggers cultural metaphors and personal associations, which allow the viewer to witness the transformation of the most ordinary objects into something compelling and extraordinary. More recently her attention has turned to issues of globalisation, consumerism and the mass-media. In Cornelia Parker‘s installation at the Serpentine Gallery, The Maybe, 1995, Tilda Swinton played the toughest role in a career devoted to challenging ones: herself asleep or apparently so. For seven consecutive days, eight hours a day, she lay motionless, eyes closed, in a raised, glass casket – a contemporary Sleeping Beauty in jeans and deck shoes, subject to intense scrutiny and speculation.” This piece is extremely relevant to my work since I now intend to animate a sleeping princess showing her movement and hair growth over a period of 10 years.


Sam Taylor-Wood



Another artist who’s subject choice and media is relevant to my work is Sam Taylor-Wood’s David which is a video portrait of the famous footballer David Beckham where she videos the celebrity while he sleeps.


I have also considered taping some live footage of someone sleeping to help me with my Sleeping Beauty/Rapunzel-themed animation. David was made in 2004 after he returned from Madrid and is 1hour 7 minutes long and is shown as a continuous loop on a 40″ 4:3 Plasma screen. The video has been described as an intimate portrait by the National Portrait Gallery where it was exhibited from 2004.


John Smith 


The Black Tower

The Black Tower, 1985-7, .

In The Black Tower we enter the world of a man haunted by a tower which, he believes, is following him around London. While the character of the central protagonist is indicated only by a narrative voice-over which takes us from unease to breakdown to mysterious death, the images, meticulously controlled and articulated, deliver a series of colour coded puzzles, games, jokes and puns which pull the viewer into a mind-teasing engagement. Smith’s assurance and skill as a filmmaker undercuts the notion of the avant-garde as dry, unprofessional and dull and in Tower we have an example of a film which plays with the emotions as well as the language of film.’ – Nik Houghton, Independent Media. ‘The Black Tower expands the core of Smith’s interests: chiefly, the image as a filmic fact which is constantly questioned and often undermined by language and soundtrack. Like his earlier films, The Black Tower is concerned with description, but this time framed by a story whose undertow of melancholy balances its wit and wry humour, and which is a remarkable fiction in its own right.’ – A.L. Rees. ‘The hilarious and slightly menacing The Black Tower is one of the most accomplished films to come from the British avant-garde for years.’ – Michael O’Pray, Independent Media.”


Peter Doig

Another painter I strongly admire is Peter Doig. He has a very unique style to his paintings that stands out in exhibitions. Doig is a Scottish contemporary painter and a former Turner Prize nominee. peter_doig_boiler_house_1994

Boiler House, 1994, [Oil on canvas].

Peter Doig’s Boiler House is flawless. His painting style in this piece holds a combination of strong bold brushstrokes but also dry and rough marks too. The great thing about Doig’s work are the marks he makes with his brush on the canvas. He manages to bring out the beauty of his subject no matter what it is, even if it’s an old boiler house.


Blotter, 1993, [Oil on canvas].

Although Blotter was painted in the artist’s London studio, it’s subject consists of his brother standing on a frozen pond, gazing down at his own reflection. He painted it from a photograph. The reflection was enhanced by pumping water onto the ice. This painting won the first prize in the 1993 John Moores exhibition. I really admire this piece mainly for it’s overall style and this is probably one of my favorites of Doig’s work.


Young Bean Farmer, 1991, [Oil on canvas].

What really catches my eye in this painting is the bright Autumn colours with the strong use of orange and beige. I also love the composition as the fence leads the viewers’ eye into the painting. The scene seemed almost isolated and you could say abandoned until I noticed the red silhouette in the foreground. It is almost as if this uninhabited landscape has a haunted aspect to it as the anonymous figure is unclear. Overall I love the style of Peter Doig’s paintings. He manages to make the most uninteresting subjects interesting.


Kay Nielsen 

Kay Rasmus Nielsen was a Danish illustrator who was popular in the early 20th century. Nielsen is also known for his collaborations with Disney for whom he contributed many story sketches and illustrations.


Fantasia – “Night on Bald Mountain”, 1939 [pastel]. I love the darkness and mystery in this pastel piece. The subject matter really appeals to me and my work. _________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________

Kiki Smith 

Kiki Smith is a feminist artist from America. She creates metaphoric artwork that can be portrayed as political and erotic and is known for creating shocking provocative artwork. Her work also often includes the themes of birth and regeneration, as well as sustenance, and frequently has Catholic allusions.

Kiki smith

Born, 2002  [lithograph].

The subject matter in this piece relates to the subject matter that influences my own work. Fairy tale is a recurring theme in Smith’s work and this piece stands out to me as there is a slight twist in the fairy tale, Little Red Riding Hood. It shows Red Riding Hood and her Grandmother breaking out of the wolfs stomach after being eaten alive. The colour red of their hooded cloaks suggests blood as blood is appearing from the dead wolf.


Born, 2002, []

This sculpture shows a deer giving birth to a full-grown woman. It is a very feminist sculpture with a lot of detail and could suggest the similarities between a doe and a woman. It could also suggest the power of a woman bringing life into the world. I really like the sculpture as a whole and the material used. It is quite a theatrical piece and full of life.


William Kentridge

This is How the Tree Breaks 1999 by William Kentridge born 1955


William Kentridge is an artist from South Africa who is known for producing drawings, prints, and animated films.

This is How the Tree Breaks, 1999 [etching]. I adore the work of William Kentridge and this etching in particular stands out to me. I often find myself drawing and painting trees in my practice relating them to my topic of fairy tale. I very much enjoy drawing/painting trees and appreciate the outcome. I strongly admire Kentridge’s attention to detail in this piece and also love the text in the background. I believe the two are a great combination and Kentridge has captured a lot of beauty in this monochrome piece.

Staying Home 1999 by William Kentridge born 1955

Staying Home, 1999 [etching].

This is another beautiful piece from Kentridge’s Sleeping on Glass collection. Once again the combination of text and drawing work together very well. I am very much influenced by these two beautiful piecing and I am considering maybe combining both text and images in my own work.


Glenn Brown

Glenn Brown is a British artist best known for his use of historical references in his paintings. I admire Brown’s painting technique more than anything else.


War in Peace, 2009 [painting].

I adore Brown’s painting technique and style with his swirling grotesque patterns which almost appear as though they are moving. The blues suggest sadness and despair and give a gloomy feel to the painting but there are also greens and yellow in the painting which combined with the subject, a foot, could suggest a form of foot fungus.


Star Dust, 2009

Once again I admire Brown’s painting style more than anything else but this painting from 2009 is really very beautiful and appeals to me somewhat more than his other paintings. It is incredibly detailed a quite abstract with subjective colours but still consists of Brown’s signature swirly brush techniques. This piece could also be seen as a feminist piece. “Brown has likened himself to Dr. Frankenstein, creatively piecing together sections of figures, 
backgrounds, colour palettes, shadows and compositions, among other elements — but this approach goes far beyond that of cutting and pasting to create works of art that are without doubt his own.”


Maxfield Parrish

Another artist whose work strongly influences my own is Maxfield Parrish. Some of his artwork is fairy tale related which appeals to me but most of all his forest settings and compositions in his paintings influence me the most as like my work, trees are a strong subject to him.


Enchanted Prince

The fairy tale featured in this painting is The Princess and the Frog showing the prince in a frog formation. What applies most to the work I’m currently creating is not the fairy tale and the subject matter but rather the composition and scenery. The attention to detail is very delicate yet strong. The marks are very fine in the painting itself. I would refer to this as not just a painting but an illustration also but not just for it’s subject matter, for the way it has been carefully painted.



Daybreak is one of Maxfield Parrish’s more well know paintings. All though there isn’t much indication of trees in this painting the composition of the vertical columns and the leaves above them are very much similar to the trees I paint in my installations. I love the power behind this piece of a human figure standing over another lying on the ground. The mystery of the mountains in the background have a strong influence on the painting and how they fade and disappear into the background. That is a technique that I would like to use in some of my own work. Overall I feel that there is a strong connection between Maxfield Parrish’s and my own work. I love how he uses so much detail in his paintings and i think that I could benefit from applying some of his techniques to my own work.


Michael Sowa

Michael Sowa is a German painter who creates very whimsical and beautiful paintings. He often paints animals and his works are always titled in either German or English. I would describe him as a surrealist painter who often paints out of the ordinary subjects.


Sharks of Suburbia  

This is a very unusual piece but very well painted. I like how it is metaphorically titles and insinuating that there are in fact “sharks” living in the Suburbs. Even though it is not something I would think about painting myself, I love how unusual the subject is. It is so out of the ordinary and really pushing the boundaries, that and the painting style are what really influence me as an artist.


On the Road

A painting that I really love is On the Road. To me, seeing three animals that in real life probably wouldn’t see eye to eye walking together is very touching. It is a painting that I feel happy from looking at. The colours are positive much like the subject matter and although the composition is nothing special, I still love the fact that is so nice to look at. I intend for my paintings to have a strong affect on the viewers’ emotions, a lot like this painting, whether it be happy or sad.

Overall I am really inspired by how Sowa intends to push the boundaries of art by painting unusual images that bring forth many questions to the viewers’ mind. I love his strong use of colour and simplistic brushstrokes. Those are the factors that appeal to me most of all.


Ilya Kabakov

Ilya Kabakov (b. Dnepropetrovsk, Soviet Union) is a Russian artist who is based in America. He has produced many drawings, paintings, installations, and theoretical texts but what interests me most are his installations of which he has created 155 between 1983 and 2000.


The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment, c.1991-1998, Installation: mixed media, 96 x 95 x 147 cm.

The Man Who Flew into Space from His Apartment show the scene were a person supposedly shot through the ceiling of his apartment via catapult and then vanished into outer space. This is a total installation by Kabakov and reflects the space race era which began in 1957 when the former Soviet Union successfully launched the first artificial satellite, Sputnik I. Indication of the Soviet Union can be seen through the posters displayed on the walls of the installation, suggesting that is a communal apartment and a metaphor for Soviet life. Kabakov stated, “I built the installation ‘The Man Who Flew into Space’ in the corner, I glued Soviet posters from inside of it and I would take it down after each showing for fear that they [the soviet government] would drop in, understand, and that would be ‘the end of everything’.” The audience could only view the installation from an outside perspective with the impression that the ‘scene’ had took place moments before their arrival. In the installation there is a catapult a bed, two chairs topped with a wooden plank surrounded by rubble and paper and a hole in the ceiling overlooking the installation which suggests the person’s exit. I admire the complexity of this piece and how convincing it appears. This is quite a primative installation and is very eye-catching. Kabakov’s intention with his installations is to make the viewer feel like part of them, a lot like an actor starring in a theatre production.


Iyla Kabakov, The Boat of My Life, Installation: mixed media.

Many of Kabakov’s works have the same function of telling a narrative including The Boat of My Life  which displays a 58-foot-long wooden boat containing twenty-five boxes on its deck stuffed with photos, clothes and other memorabilia. The installation is an autobiographical piece by Kabakov documenting his personal experiences. This is another piece that I can relate to my work in the same way as it has a narrative. I am trying to move away from the narrative at the moment with my work, however, my strongest artworks tend to be based on a narrative. None of my work is autobiographical like Kabakov’s installations, more fictional.


Tracey Emin

Another artist whose installations are heavily influenced by narrative is Tracey Emin. Emin is one of Britain’s best known contemporary avant-garde artists. Her works are known for their honesty and often sexually provocative outlook which pushes the limitations of modern art. Like Kabakov, her installations are known for telling a story, mostly autobiographic, and often tend to shock the viewer.


My Bed, 1998

My Bed was shortlisted for the Turner Prize and exhibited at the Tate Gallery in 1999. In this installation, Emin displays her own unmade bed and bedroom contents in a chaotic state. This includes condoms, worn underwear, stained sheets, cigarette buds and empty alcohol bottles, thus exposing Emin’s imperfections and insecurities to the rest of the world. The bed was publicized in the condition that Emin claimed it to be in after several days of suicidal depression brought on by relationship problems in which she confined herself in her room. I can not relate to thye narrative in this piece and my work only relates to the media (installation). I do however admire both aspects of it. I love the honesty and truth behind this piece. I would probably consider it to be a form of expressionist installation with the emotition put into the narrative.


Everyone I Have Ever Slept With, 1995

Another installation of Emin’s is Everyone I Have Ever Slept With. This installation embodies a tent with the name of everyone she has ever slept, not necessarily in the sexual sense, with sewn with appliqué to the inside. This is quite unlike my work and could not only be viewed as an installation, but a sculpture also. Once again, I appriciate the truth and honesty behind the narrative of the piece and also the thought and creativity gone into it.


David Hockney – Theatre Designs

David Hockney is known for many different medias of artwork, but a one that interests me greatly is his theatre set designs. Hockey is an English stage designer draughtsman, painter, printmaker, and photographer. Among his first stage designs were The Rake’s Progress (1975) and The Magic Flute (1978) at the Glyndebourne Festival Opera which were painted drops. In 1981, he agreed to design sets and costumes for three works at the Metropolitan Opera House with the title Parade. His works that most interest me are from the production of The Magic Flute. The subject matter of a work, whether it is an installation or theatre set design, is just as important as the outcome of the work itself.


An Avenue of Palms from The Magic Flute, 1978

An Avenue of Palms from The Magic Flute is very commendable. I love the use of pastel colours and appreciate the flat colours where some areas are virtually filled with one solid colour. There is not alot of detail in this theatre set design but it is very effective and eye-catching. Set designs do not need a lot of detail as the main focus of the theatre production would probably be the actor.



A Moonlit Garden from The Magic Flute, 1978
Here is another of Hockney’s theatre set designs, again for The Magic Flute, but unlike his other design, An Avenue of Palms, this stage set has a darker appearance. Even with this different powerful and striking look, it still possesses Hockney’s cartoon-like quality.I happen to really admire the originality of Hockney’s theatre designs and believe that they have heavily influenced my work. They have also helped me to determine the small differences between theatre art and installation art in order to combine the two medias in my own work.


Artists and books I intend to look at:

  • Hiller, S. (2000) Dream Machines.
  • Communication arts (Journal)
  • Video spaces: eight installations (Journal)
  • Illustrators (Journal)
  • Installation Art
  • Installation art in the new millennium

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