Influences and Gratitude
I love to share the knowledge I have gained, so others can save time, steal ideas, get inspired, or just have fun trying everything I have tried that works. But none of what I have to share, the passion I have for the world around me, if it were not for so many people who have been my mentors, teachers, and inspired me beyond what they know. The first I want to mention is my mother. Her ceaseless enthusiasm for the smallest things in life, the way a bird sang, the way a tangerine thread rested on a plum cushion, a bud of a new flower, all of these minute details of the world fascinated her. She made me aware of the marvel of being alive.
My father gave me a passion for words. The first poem he made my brothers and I memorise was If by Rudyard Kipling, which influences me to this day. He had a sweeping humanity about him. An Arab, a NASA scientist, an orator. He was the most brilliant person I have ever met, and at the same time, by his own admission radically flawed. Tellingly, his favourite lines were from Zorba the Greek, played by Anthony Quinn ‘…a man is good, a man is bad, … What do I care if he’s Greek or Turk? As I get older, I swear by the bread I eat, I even stop asking that. Good or bad? What is the difference?’ He made my world.
My love of pastels was sparked by my mother and sent me off into a world of soft chalk pastels and brilliant colour. This is one of her last works before she passed away, Reflections on a Lake. after a year of experimenting on my own, I got the wonderful opportunity to take a workshop from Maggie Price, and since then I have not looked back. Little did I know how famous Maggie was at the time, but now she has passed, I am deeply grateful for the encouragement she gave me during that first workshop.
My current influences are from my friends, great artists and great friends. I must particularly mention Sally Stokes who has been so marvellously encouraging and uncondescendingly supportive. She is passionate about discipline, beauty and friendship. This is one of my current favourite works of hers (which I purchased!), The Fish Are Jumping.
Another current significant influence on my growth as an artist is Katie Sollohub, whom I met during Covid lockdowns through her online courses and zoom meditations. Her example gives me the permission to quietly, authentically, be all of my selves: poet, writer, meditation practitioner, yoga practitioner, artist, drawer and lover of being out of doors, out into the world. Thank you.
So many people to thank and be grateful to. Of course you cannot go past Millie Ford on TikTok for her inspirational video for all art teachers, hahahaha.