Inspired Matisse

I was in New York cooking in the Spring of 2007 for dear friends in their brown town house, a few minutes walk away from Central Park. Ten minutes from the Artist Student’s League on 57th where I was a member every year for many years on the trot. Some of Americas greatest artists were taught there and then taught there themselves. So much variety of teaching so much variety of art, and so easy to be a member of. I think a years membership cost $125 in those days, then you could choose as many different courses that you had time for and of course afford, although the price for the courses weren’t expensive. I felt excepted there, one among many and loved all the differed water colour courses, still life drawing and nude study. I have never been quite adventurous enough to try my hand a sculpture maybe one day.

But this last paragraph was a waffle on the way to me telling you how long it takes to walk to the Met. Well hardly any time at all. I love going to the Met in-fact I love going to New York I miss it .

Nizami Khamsa Iran 1624-25 from Fondazione Giorgio Cini. Venic

So in the Spring of 2007 there of were two exhibitions at the Met, One Venice and the Islamic World 828 -1797 and an exhibition of Ottoman Ceramic IZNIK, unbelievably beautiful arts of work’ 14th 15th 16th Century

The extra-ordinary simplicity and striking beauty of the Ottoman ceramics filled me with intense joy, I did not want to stop looking at them, so I bought a very heavy hard back book of the exhibition home with me.

In 1906 Matisse was living in Paris he had bought his first African sculpture. Friends with Gertrute Stien, Matisse called in to see her for tea, sculpture in hand. Whilst he was there showing her his new aquisition Pablo Picasso dropped by and according to Matisse it was at this very moment that Picasso became intrigued and inspired by African art. Again I digress, but accorcding to everything I have read so far, it was also when Matisse started to collect and be inspire by different cultures.

Andre Derain and Matisse were collaboraters at this time and both began to simplify their work being inspired by native art. Producing the break through paintings with simple forms and highly saturated colour, which would earn themselves the name as leaders of the Fauve “Wild Beasts”

In 1910 Matisse was increasingly interested by Islamic art and bought the beautiful green vase that is an ‘actor’ in may of his paintings. He went to Spain to visit the Alhambra in Grenada and the Great Mosque of Cordoba. He also made many trips to Morocco. From Islamic art Matisse started to combine pattern and design into his paintings, using colour and dynamic shapes to play against one another and create tension and for me ‘joy’ in his paintings. Much of his work in the 1920’s drew on Islamic design concepts and Islamic objects he had bought..

I find so much similarity  in Matisse’s work to the painting at the top of this blog by Nizami Khamsa painted  centuries before Matisse started on a similar route.




Matisse and Islamic design

Ottoman Ceramics



I think I am going to carry on this journey with Matisse as it is inspiring me too.

Tulips 2005
Tulips at home in Provence


I rather wish I had a better photos of theses iris I painted in 2003. they are hanging a someones house in Sydney now.

This last week I have been working on my iris cut outs although not nearly as pretty as my blossom cut outs, the iris are a work in progress and I am at the very start of the process.So hopefully in a whil I will create something wonderful.

See you soon.  À bientôt.

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