Kate Dicker has been the biggest inspiration throughout this project. She came to do a talk about her work at our uni, and she also did a few tutorials, which I was lucky enough to experience. Immediately it was clear that we had a lot of similarities in our work and interests, and it also helped that she lives and works in my hometown. She had ridden horses in the same places where I kept my own horses, and knew the area I grew up in well. A lot of her work features horses, particularly working horses, which at the time of the tutorial was when I was just starting to consider the mining horses as the subject of my next project.
One thing she recommended to me was to look at German expressionism artists, in particular Emil Nolde. I can definitely see that she has taken inspiration from this movement into her own work. Not all of the German expressionists interested me all that much, but Nolde’s work definitely did. The vibrant colours are intensely appealing, and the way that they bleed into each other gives the images a soft, sun-soaked appearance.
Kate has a series of work based off of Stubbs paintings, which led to me taking inspiration from his work as well. When I was working on the horse portrait that I had originally been intending to put in the show, I did so with Stubbs in mind.
When I took a trip to the Big Pit there was a section that was made up of open lockers, that had information about some of the miners who had worked there. One man was George Brinley Evans, who had been a painter as well as a miner. He didn’t paint anything to do with pit ponies, but he did paint scenes from the mines and it was interesting to see what other interests and passions the miners had.
Wyllie works with incredibly loose, expressive lines and marks. She appears confident in her mark making and that is something that I am working towards achieving in my own work. Her line sketches of horses were an inspiration when I was constructing illustrations for my book.
Helen Craig is best known for her illustrations for ‘Angelina the Ballerina’, but on my searches for illustrators that worked with similar themes as me I came across her work. One particular etching really struck me. It wasn’t of a working horse, but the horse is carrying the person on their back, and I don’t know if it was intentional, but the horse appears weighed down. It was this idea of the horses carrying the weight of human industry on their back that I started with at the beginning of this project, and carrying it unquestionably, that I initially wanted to look at in my work.