Getting Inspired at an Art Gallery

Going to a gallery can be the most motivating and inspiring activity! Even if you are not an artist it still feels great to add some colour to a rainy January afternoon.

I recently acted as an assistant for The Independent Art School’s trip to ‘The National Portrait Gallery’ as part of our ‘Art on Location’ series. It was a great excuse to visit one of my favourite galleries and learn about the art whilst developing some of my sketches!

I thought about some tips that could be quite helpful if you would like to do this independently…

1.  Know Your Gallery
Have a look on the gallery website before you venture out to find out its history and purpose. Figure out which rooms appeal to you most and make a quick note of them. Buzzing galleries can seem overwhelming if you’re not sure where to start and you don’t want to miss your favourite artist!

2.  Allow enough time
If you’re the sort of person who likes to reflect and avoid crowds then aim to get to the gallery when it opens. This is when galleries tend to be most quiet so you can fully indulge in the art and not be shy about any doodling that may occur! Give yourself a good few hours to look around, walking through a gallery can be like reading a visual story, and you don’t want to skip the ending.

3.  Bring a sketchbook
Where better then to collect your idea’s then in a gallery full of inspiring images? Copy some works that stand out to you, even if it doesn’t look the same it still feels great to be sketching whilst you’re in the moment. (Don’t forget to write down the name of the artist so you can remind yourself later)!

4.  Read the blurbs
Looking at a beautiful artwork can be aesthetically pleasing but knowing the story behind it adds to a greater understanding of how the artist truly felt when creating the masterpiece. What do you imagine the artist’s intentions to be…then check to see if you are right!

5.  Spend time looking at the artwork
Embrace you reaction and don’t worry about what other people are thinking. Colours, shapes and textures all evoke different emotions from different people so consider how the piece makes you feel… does that change the longer you look at it? And how does that compare with other pieces?

If you enjoy socialising and learning about Art in a group environment then I highly recommend trying one of our ‘Art on Location’ classes. I had such lovely Saturday afternoon spending time with like-minded students and being taught by the very talented Mr Hugh Mendes (see image to the right!).  If you would like to see more details on how you can get involved please follow the link below!

What’s your favourite art gallery for gathering inspiration? Do you have any extra tips for gaining inspiration from art galleries?  I would love to hear your thoughts!

Author:  Samantha Sheldrake

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