7/29/2009

Inspiration Wednesday.


Our dear friend Weaver of Grass has suggested this meme so here is my contribution. So many people are inspirational, my family, my fellow bloggers, artists, craftsmen, writers, musicians, not to mention places, nature, etc. I had great difficulty in concentrating on one theme but in the end I narrowed it down to the work of one man, Robin Tanner 1904-1988.

Ever since I first learnt about Robin Tanner and saw his work, I have been drawn back again and again into his quiet, intense and artistic world, he is a constant source of inspiration to me. An artist driven by a deep appreciation of nature who had a complete disregard of commerce.

Robin was an educator and an expert illustrator and etcher; inspired by the natural world he created work of such exquisite beauty that they can move me to tears. He in turn was inspired by other inspirational artists notably Samuel Palmer and William Morris.

You can view his work here.

His etchings started as drawings, closely observed from nature. Every tiny centimeter of the surface was covered by the tiniest of details, giving the final work great intensity and magic, he had the ability to contain a whole world in a few inches, often viewed from a mouse’s perspective.

Together with his wife Heather, they created a masterpiece called “Woodland Plants” which they embarked upon in 1940, it was to take another four decades before it finally appeared in print in 1981. He said of this work “it proved the greatest solace… to explore with my pencil the gentle intricacies of twayblade, the subtle forms of wild columbine and martagon lily, and all the patterned veinings and flower symmetry and infinite variety of textures in the generally unnoticed, the self-effacing plants, like sanicle and dog’s mercury, cow wheat and enchanter’s nightshade, spurge laurel and moschatel.”

You can view more work here-

I managed to find a copy of his autobiography, “Double Harness” which I can wholeheartedly recommend; it is both an excellent read and is illustrated with many of his extraordinary inspirational, lyrical works.

29 comments:

  1. Talk about attention to detail! Thanks for link to those pictures :)

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  2. Never seen his biography but i really admire his work which I've seen a few times. Well done for highlighting this rather wonderful artist.

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  3. Oh I love these, Acornmoon! Particularly Full Moon and the Wicket Gate. I can see the Samuel Palmer influence. He really captures the spirit of the land - I'll be looking at these again and again, and will try and read Double Harness. Thank you!

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  4. Hello acornmoon,

    Visiting via Weaver. It is easy to see why you would find these works inspirational. But then your own are pretty inspirational too!

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  5. I am getting an education on art today so I thank you for enlightening me. Your art is obviously influenced by Robin Tanner and thanks to Dave King's blog I could immediately see the Samuel Palmer influence. Very sinuous lines like a garden with obstacles blocking you from seeing deep into the garden except in chosen locations. The attention to details is intense as is the mood Tanner creates. I read Acorn Moon to my students every September. Now I can shine a whole new light on your beautiful artwork and introduce my students to Robin Tanner. An inspiring post all around!

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  6. A name new to me and what an inspiration. I will have a proper look at his work when I have a bit more time. A lovely post. What a great meme this is.

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  7. Thank you so much for introducing me to his work.
    I can certainly see the influence of Palmer (to my delight).
    Such perfect attention to detail.
    I think there were many early/mid 20th cent printmakers and illustrators whose work got rather trampled in the rush to be modern.
    I can see how his meticulous attention to detail is echoed in your work.
    Yes, you should go to Morocco.
    We were there for 2 years. It is astounding in both good (mostly) and sometimes less good ways.

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  8. Your inspiration is an inspiratin in itself...I must get "Woodland Plants" come hell or high water.

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  9. hello acornmoon, wow!! i can see the link between tanner's work and your own. both are so detailed and gentle. it's the kind of work that makes me want to keep looking and trying to understand how it was done. it's nice to link up with someone in cheshire. as a little boy, i lived in altrincham from 1957 - 1966 before i moved to canada. have a lovely day!! steven

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  10. What an amazing artist. But then, so are you! Thanks for the link to his work. I love to learn about things and artists I didn't know about before.

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  11. Thank you for introducing me to this wonderful artist.
    His work is fluid and dream like.
    I too love the one with the full moon,magical.x

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  12. I was not aware of this artist and thank you for the introduction!

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  13. I am not familar with his work
    thank you for sharing it - and him - I will definitely read his story

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  14. Thank you so much Valerie. This is a man I have never heard of, but I can imagine, looking at your beautiful illustrative work, that he has greatly influenced you. I enjoyed your post and also looking at Tanner's work. Hasn't it all been an interesting read?

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  15. I hadn't heard of Robin Tanner--his work is wonderful! Thanks for sharing this, I can see why you admire him.

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  16. oh excellent artist... great choice of inspiration

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  17. Well I have never heard of him but I shall be investigating further. Thank you xx

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  18. It is always wonderful seeing and hearing about someone so talented. I would have probably never heard of him if not for your post. Thank you!

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  19. Valerie, I also thank you for this introduction. Tanner has an intriguing way of approaching scale. Close up tiny things shown in great detail and way off in the distance some huge something shown in less, but still arresting detail.

    Wow.

    I will have to see if my wondrous library has that biography.

    xo

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  20. So amazing.It brings to mind William Blake's poem.
    "To see a world in a grain of sand
    And a heaven in a wild flower."

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  21. i had never come across robin tanner before, how could that be! his work is absolutely stunning, so beautiful! i am off for another drool x

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  22. I am very taken with his work. Many thanks for introducing it. Some amost have the Palmer touch!

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  23. Been looking at Robin Tanners work, love it. Having now had a go at etching and dry point prints I really can appreciate the work and time spent to create all the detail. Small and Beautiful. Thank you for the links to his work.

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  24. Yes, these are so beautiful..I will definitely study them more closely. I'm sure he will become a favorite of mine as well. Thank you for sharing.

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  25. Thank you for sharing this information about Robert Tanner. I had never heard of him, but his work is amazing. It would take so long to see everything in one piece of work. I can see how his work influenced you. I often feel I need more than a couple of minutes to see everything you put into a piece of work as well.

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  26. No wonder you find him so inspirational Valerie. His work is stunning. So much beautifully executed detail and great design. My favourite is the wicket gate. It is nice to see them of a reasonable size too. So often web photos are too small to make out the details. I will definitely be keeping this link. Thanks for posting.

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  27. Stunning work....Must put the book on my wish list! Thanks so much for sharing it. :)

    ~ Carolee

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  28. Wow! Thank you for sharing your inspiration with us!

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  29. I am very behind in my blog reading, so hence please forgive this late comment. I really love Mr. Tanner's work. I sometimes think I should have been born in a past decade which this work reminds me off. My favourites are "The Wicket Gate" and "Elegy of and English Elm II", although each one is beautiful. I am so glad you have shared his work on your blog.

    Gillian

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