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Inspiration: Hester Berry

Updated: May 8, 2021

A few months ago I came across the works of British artist Hester Berry. Her grandiose landscape paintings in particular have fascinated me and I spontaneously had to buy a small work of hers. Since then, I have been studying her work again and again, asking myself what the power of her paintings lies in and how her technique can also influence my own work.

© Hester Berry

I came to the conclusion that we have a completely opposite approach to painting:

Hester Berry paints directly in nature and she is a master at transferring the natural colours, light and contrasts exactly from nature to canvas. However, she says that shapes and contours are secondary to her. And so she works with quick strokes and abstracts extremely skilfully. In this way, she creates paintings that only completely captivate you at second glance. Actually, at first fleeting glance, everything is clear to the viewer, because light, shadow and colour immediately appeal to the familiar and can be immediately classified. On closer inspection, irritation follows: is it a mountain ridge or does it already belong to the cloud bank?

So I can lose myself in Hester Berry's paintings again and again, and I find that very exciting about her work. It has also happened several times in the meantime that we have stood with visitors in front of my painting by Hester Berry and discussed what we see. For me it is a boggy path through a remote wide plain. But others have also recognised a river course with a bridge in the picture. So far, it's the only painting in my house that continues to provoke discussion even with visitors who aren't particularly interested in art, and I think that says something about the power of a painting.

I, on the other hand, have pursued a completely different concept in painting and, until now, a completely opposite approach: In terms of colour, I work purely intuitively in my portraits and paint almost exclusively from a black and white photo template. However, since I try to capture the expression of a face as accurately as possible in a portrait, it seemed to me so far that it was important to reproduce contours and lines as accurately as possible for this purpose. Slowly, however, I am coming to the conclusion that something similar to what Hester Berry achieves with her landscape paintings should also be possible with a portrait.

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