Brilliant Beatrix

I thought it might be interesting to explore some of my artistic influences with you. I'm going to aim to share a new influence every couple of months. This month it's just a quick one as I'm having a mini holiday. For this first one I've chosen Beatrix Potter as she must have been one of my earliest inspirations. I've been thinking about her work quite a lot lately and I really want to go and explore some of the places that inspired her.

As a child I loved her stories about animals and the pictures always made me want to draw animals. The Tale of Peter Rabbit was the first of her stories I read, but I think my favourites were The Tale of Mr Tod (as I really liked foxes) and The Tale of Samuel Whiskers (as the characters were funny and a bit naughty). I liked the way she gave the animals character, but they still had a realistic quality that clearly came from observation.

I also really enjoyed watching the animated versions. There was always a live-action introduction where Beatrix was out painting in the countryside and passing all the animals going about their daily lives. I remember it made me feel like I wanted to go out and find all the animals so I could draw their stories.

As I got older I found out that she also produced amazingly detailed scientific drawings across a variety of fields. Her subjects included plants, invertebrates and fungi. The paintings and drawings were intricate and detailed studies. They reminded me that it was possible to combine art and science and highlighted how beautiful nature can be.

I'm hoping to be able to take myself off on a trip to the Lake District soon to soak up some of the same influences and to see her work in preserving the countryside she loved. Maybe the magical lake air will help me create lots of detailed pieces.

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