Saturday, 19 January 2013


I find that whatever takes up my time the most in my life will soon become my obsession.  When I was training as a textiles teacher, I could not get enough of looking through books about crafts and about how to manipulate fabrics and I became incredibly excited about browsing the fabric stalls on the market.  Now that I am teaching art, I have developed a strong passion to know more about artists, movements, media and techniques.  It is completely amazing to be able to become so immersed in the thing that I have always loved (despite the fact that I moan about teaching on a daily basis!).  Studying art for so long, through school, collage and then university, I sadly lost the love.  I remember feeling like my passion has been drained out of me. 

Those three years away from feeling that I had to learn have benefited me greatly.  It gave me the time and desire to learn about new things and to develop new interests.  In that time between leaving university and training to become a teacher, I learnt how to sew, I attended a dress making course, I started to cook proper food, I was taught how to speak German and I gained a qualification in psychology (to name just a few of my varied and spontaneous interests!).

So, to get back to why I am writing this post.  

My current interest and obsession? Art history.  As a teenager, I just had no concern for it.  Pure stubbornest paired with the fact that no one ever made me become excited about anything that happened pre-1950s.  I have however just recently finished reading a book called The History of Art , although it did take me six months!  It is a fantastic book and so easy to read.  Besides the yawn fest which was the pages and pages of discussion about the architectural design of churches (sorry, but even with my self motivation to be interested in this, it just did not happen), I started to see myself getting excited about art for the first time in years.  Things started to make sense! I now know why Egyptian paintings are the same style no matter who painted them and I know what happened when some of these artists tried to do something new.  I now understand why the Mona Lisa is such a big deal and why Leonardo Da Vinci was a genius.  

I am now reading a new book, isms: understanding art.  Even more easy to read than the book discussed above, this one is rather like a dictionary of art movements.  The artists which are currently inspiring me are the impressionists and pre raphaelites.  I am utterly devastated that I have now missed the pre raphaelites exhibition which was taking place at Tate Britain.  I wanted to go last weekend just before it closed, but I have been writing school reports (approximately 210) and I just couldn't find the time.  I have also discovered a television series which was screened in 2009 called Desperate Romantics, a dramatisation of the lives of the pioneers of this movement (The pre raphraelite brotherhood), Dante Gabriel Rossetti, John Millais and William Holman Hunt.  I have so far only watched one episode, it's not the most gripping thing I have ever seen and I am unsure how historically accurate it is, however it's enjoyable and quite witty.  The show has however opened my eyes to consider who the women were who modeled for artists in historical paintings.  Elizabeth Siddal is the name of the model who often posed for the members of the pre raphraelite brotherhood.  She features in two of my favourite paintings, Ophelia by Millais and Annunciation by Rossetti.

So there we go.  The pre raphraelites.  My current obsession and inspiration.  Who knows who or what will be next judging by my terribly short attention span...

Do you have a favourite art movement or artist?  
Do you chop and change interests as rapidly as myself or are you dedicated to one true love?

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