Today I had the opportunity to give a presentation to the ladies of Soggetto Donna in Castiglione del Lago, Umbria Italy. My talk looked at the influences on my art, the intention behind it and the process of realising a vision for an image. This is a summary of my presentation.
Influences Intention and Realising A Vision
When I was little I was very shy. People find that hard to believe but it is true. We didn’t have a lot as kids (lots of love but we had very little money). But at an early age I discovered books. I was ravenous for them, devouring three books a week thanks to the free loans at our local library. I was captivated by the stories of other people’s lives and travels.
Then at school, I was introduced to art by a very flamboyant and caring art teacher. I have talked about her several times in the past. I couldn’t believe that so much could be in a picture and I started collecting books on famous artists and visiting art galleries.
The first time I saw ‘Christ After the Flagellation Contemplated by a Christian Soul‘ by Diego Velasquez I cried. The emotion that was conveyed in the eyes of the Christ figure and the clear compassion being shown by the young boy. It was a powerful lesson to me that art can be seen at different levels. And that it was possible to create an emotive response while telling a story with an image.
Another clear influence on my work (that I have also mentioned before) was a Dutch painter, Pieter Saenredam.
Saenredam’s church interiors are breathtaking and directly influence my own use of scale and colour. This is clear in my work with architecture and the beautiful archways I see in the Italian hill towns.
I also learnt with his work that it was possible to tell a story within a bigger picture. In one of his wonderful paintings ‘Interior of the Buurkerk at Utrecht‘, a small corner of the painting contains two children with a puppy. The children are drawing graffiti on the church wall.
Thanks to these influences (and other artists obviously) I work with the intention of applying what I have learned. It is my intention to create pieces that have an impact, either with colour, emotional content or the story of the piece, told in my own way. For example, my image ‘Alone in Beauty’ suggests loneliness. The man sits alone on a bench staring at his phone. Thought it is sunny, he sits in the shade. The view is beautiful but a fog is rolling in off the lake. What news has he received? What is the story behind him sitting alone on the bench.
Realising A Vision
I awoke one morning with an image in my head of a piece I wanted to create. Roses bursting through the middle of a heart. The piece was a gift for my favourite Aunt who was dying of cancer. I felt driven to complete this project! It involved going out to buy roses, they had to be yellow but I could only get orange. That’s okay, I can adjust the colour. Then I needed a heart shape but was stumped on what to use. I had settled on just drawing a heart shape but stopped to sit on the sofa and have a coffee with Stevie Mouse. Sitting there, I looked up and saw the heart shaped wire with fairy lights I had on the radiator and realised they were perfect for the job!
Having taken many photos of the roses and the heart, it was then a question of combining two photos for the image. The first problem I hit was the fact that the heart was the wrong shape for the photo of roses I wanted to use. So I had to squash it a bit and make it fatter. Combing the two was done manually, erasing part of one photo to mix it with another. Much masking, fiddling around, general adding of colours and textures, going back after mistakes etc. I was happy with the final result ‘I Will Love You Always’.
Before you go
My name is Dorothy Berry-Lound an artist and writer. You can find out more about my art and writing at https://dorothyberryloundart.com.
Thank you for reading!