Homage to Homages

Having been a professional artist for at least 30 years and a lover of many different forms and genres of art for longer than that it’s no surprise that these various forms of inspiration would creep into my own work from time to time. Well, okay, maybe pretty much all the time, often subconsciously but also occasionally very much intentionally. In fact I love to acknowledge my influences by adding nods and/or elements of some of my favorites into my pieces. I’ve written previously and at length of the influence of Alphonse Mucha’s work on mine so I will bypass that particular road this time.

Probably the second biggest (or maybe tied for first) inspiration is probably Maxfield Parrish, this piece of mine:

Dragon Cliff

is very much inspired by various Parrish pieces, most notably Stars:

Maxfield Parrish - Stars

Another artist whom I’ve loved for a very long time is Caspar David Friedrich, one of my favorites of his is Wanderer Above the Sea of Fog:

Caspar David Friedrich - Wanderer

In this piece of mine, which incidentally started as a fairly random doodle, I made a tongue-in-cheek reference to Friedrich’s image by including that figure in it:

Dragon Hill

Once upon a time I worked on a book project illustrating lyrics to Tori Amos’ songs. A number of those were also intentional homages, probably the most obvious one being this, for Caught a Lite Sneeze:

Caught a Lite Sneeze

Based on the work of René Magritte:

Magritte - Golconda

Another Tori Amos picture from that same series is Bells for Her:

Bells for Her

Which was an homage to Gustav Klimt, especially the Kiss:

Klimt - The Kiss

Along those same lines, the work of Georgia O’Keeffe:

O'Keeffe - Flower of Life 2

was an inspiration for Peter Gabriel – Blood of Eden:

Blood of Eden

And of course what artist isn’t inspired in some way by Monet and the Impressionists:

Claude Monet Bridge at Giverny

This is my somewhat clumsy attempt at an Impressionist image of Loreena McKennitt:

La Serenissima

I’ve done quite a few children’s books in a number of different genres, including one about young Leonardo da Vinci from Leonardo’s Monster by Jane Sutcliffe which, in addition to depicting some of his paintings, also contained this image:

Leonardos Monster book - illustrated by Herb Leonhard

which was a nod to Donatello’s David:

Donatello - David

I’ve also been a lifelong fan of Norman Rockwell, and his influence can be found all through my work, whenever there is a character study to be done his work comes to mind. This image, from A Southern Child’s Garden of Verses by David Davis:

Southern Verses pg17

has Rockwell written all over it:

Rockwell Puppy Love

I love acknowledging my influences and especially having fun with them while still respecting the sources. These and many more are what make up the witch’s brew that is “my” style, it’s a constantly evolving process and I’m looking forward to where it takes me in the future.

What are some of your artistic influences? Share them in the comments!