How to Hang: Landscapes

by Lisa Doherty 31. July 2018 09:48

Landscape art is a style that gets very mixed reactions. There is a perception that it is old-fashioned, a little bit predictable and only shows scenes of rolling hills and lush, green fields intended to conjure up a chocolate-box vision of an imagined Britain from the past. 

Well, this isn’t always the case. Landscape art is developing in many interesting ways and there is so much more to this style than meets the eye.

Let's take a look at the latest traditional and contemporary landscapes to show you that there’s something for everyone, and that all is not what it seems.

What is a landscape?

Before photography came into existence, landscape painting was the best way of showing our appreciation of the beautiful British countryside. 

Once the camera became a mass consumer product, landscape art responded to the challenge and took to looking at nature in a completely different way. There was less of a need to capture a realistic view in a painting because a photograph did all that anyway.

To add to this, industrialisation dramatically altered the UK’s green and pleasant vistas to create more urban landscapes. Artists started painting politically charged scenes that challenged this change to the natural order. From Constable’s famous painting, The Hay Wain, to Turner’s highly charged, abstract scenes of the sea - these weren’t simply romanticised views of Merrie England but, in part, statements on rural change, mechanisation and the permanent loss of landscape. 

Essence Of A Storm Impressionist Seascape 27.5
Essence Of A Storm Impressionist Seascape 27.5" x 23.5" On Canvas by Maxine Martin

Today, landscapes tend to explore the issue of how we live, as well as the impact the human race is having on the land and the environment. They also tend to be more complex and symbolic than straightforward reproductions or nature, intendted to make you challenge and question what you are looking at.

Modern landscapes

Since the advent of impressionism, artists have felt completely free to interpret their subjects any way they like, and this has been great for landscape art, making it a hotbed of creativity. 

Light is one way that has sparked this change. If you travel to different parts of the UK or the world, artists are painting landscapes that are made up of sequences of colours, which are based on the differences in light and shade in that particular area.

Some areas will have a softer light, others starker, harsh light, which is represented through differences in shade or tone. As there is no such thing as a pure colour, artists will use a range of colours to create their interpretation of a landscape.

The artist will give you their vision in a painting, whereas, a photograph will give you the reality (the camera never lies?) As it rose to dominance alongside industrialisation, it seems only natural that photographers tend to capture more urban scenes of towns growing or in decay.

This style of photography is also filled with symbolism around what is seen and what is meant by the image. A run-down building may not be the most attractive view, but when you look at what it stands for and ‘read’ it in more detail, it suddenly becomes something very different.

Not only that, but photography also captures stunning landscapes. Instead of being purely documentary images, these views can take on different meaning and form when taken from the viewpoint of the photographer. Also, unlike paintings, a camera can capture true scale and representation of a landscape with amazing results.

Seascapes and cityscapes

Landscapes aren’t always views of hills or derelict buildings, they can also be scenes of beaches, seas, towns or cities.

Seascapes are very popular subjects for artists as the weather offers constantly changing views and perspectives, so it’s impossible to get bored.

You could have a whole gallery wall of the same beach, but every painting will be different! This is no less the case with cityscapes, as, again, these scenes are all down to interpretation. One artist may see a street or area one way, whereas another may take a completely different perspective.

Getting traditional

If you’re a bit more of a traditionalist and prefer a more pastoral view, there are many artists creating stunning landscapes. Emma Cownie paints landscapes and urban scenes, but with a classic twist that are bursting with light and shade.

Graeme Robb is another artist who also paints more traditional views. It was while he was on a charity bike ride from Land’s End to John O’Groats that he fell in love with landscape painting. Some of his scenes are dominated by clouds and are very ‘nostalgic’ views of the British countryside.

Cloudscapes are also another form of art that comes under the landscape banner. Constantly changing and very dramatic, they are ripe subjects for stunning scenes and great to hang in a room where you need to be calm and creative, such as an office or study.

So, who said landscapes were dull? There is a lot more to this style than meets the eye and it’s well worth checking out. With so many different types of landscape there is a painting for every room in the house, don’t you think it’s time to check out this very modern art?


Art History | Buying Art

How Colour Affects Mood

by Lisa Doherty 23. July 2018 11:30

As we all know, colour can influence our mood. There are some tones that can make you feel positive and focused, creative and calm and others that can make you feel angry or negative. If you’re looking to update your home or buy a painting in a specific tone or shade, then colour can influence your buying decision, as it’s not just about liking an image or shade, but also the effect of the colour on your emotions.

We look at how colour can affect mood to help you decide what room to hang a painting in; after all, what may work in a living area, may not necessarily work in a study or bedroom.

Why does colour affect mood?

The brain responds to colour, which is controlled by the hypothalamus. This secretes hormones, as well as regulates and controls various impulses, such as hunger, body temperature and sleep patterns.

As a result, in the light of the morning, which is usually blue/green in colour, cortisol is released to stimulate the brain. Whereas, the blue light of dusk and going into the evening releases melatonin to make us drowsy.

Improvisation No.13 aka Brain in colour by Andrei Autumn
Improvisation No.13 aka Brain in colour by Andrei Autumn

The brain processes and responds to colours accordingly, so whether or not we actively feel like our emotions are reacting, colour does have a subconscious impact.

For example, a railway company in Japan wanted to decrease the rate of suicide on the line. In response to this they installed blue lighting, which has reduced these incidences by 74%. Why? Because blue is a calming colour and puts people in a more positive frame of mind.

Oxygen by Branisa Beric
Oxygen by Branisa Beric

Room selection

Sticking with the colour blue, not only is it calming, but it is also an intellectual colour, which is great for environments where people need to be productive, such as an office or studio. It is also said to reduce heart rate and blood pressure.

New Hope by Lesley Finney
New Hope by Lesley Finney

Take caution, however, some blue tones, such as a light pastel blue can be quite cool and therefore make you feel detached, aloof or antisocial.

When it comes to red, this is a whole different ball game; it is vibrant, energetic, as well as an empowering and strong colour. Use this colour wisely though, and only in rooms that need a lift in spirit. It’s a colour that encourages conversation so it’s ideal for social spaces such as a lounge or dining area.

As you can imagine, red is not necessarily a great colour for bedrooms as it essentially wakes the brain up and encourages thought. This is where a blue tone would probably work best to encourage a good night’s sleep. If you want to feel creative and confident, then yellow’s your colour! Like the sun, it makes us feel happy and positive.

It’s a great colour for bedrooms, as well as kitchens, social areas or hallways. Just like blue, getting the right tone of yellow is also important to create the right mood otherwise it can have the opposite effect.

As it is in nature, green is a balanced colour that encourages harmony and peace, making it ideal for bathrooms and bedrooms to create that tranquil sanctuary. Orange is also a great colour as it is a fusion and red and yellow, so it is warm and vibrant at the same time.

Opposing colours

If you’re familiar with a colour wheel then you’ll know that you can have a lot of fun using opposing or clashing colours, which can work really well in a room. It can show personality and character, not to mention - especially with original art - a real statement piece.

If you’re a little nervous about going all out for colour in a room, then white walls broken up with bursts of colour can look great, and this is where art can come into its own. White is a clean colour but can be quite cool and lack warmth, so breaking this up with a vibrant painting can make all the difference.

Black is Black

Believe it or not, black can have a positive effect on a room, as, when used as an accent colour, it can create a glamorous or sophisticated space that oozes confidence. If you think about various movements, such as Art Deco, black is frequently used as a key part of that style.

More often than not, when we think of art, we tend to think of colour, but going for a darker shade can also be just as effective. Sometimes it can help tone down a bright colour on a wall or create a striking look against a white background.

Like anything in life, rules are sometimes made to be broken, and this is no less the case with art and interiors. The unexpected can often complement each other well and bucking a trend can create amazing results.

Whatever mood you want to create in your home, art can help finish and round-off that look. There are so many styles and genres to choose from, such as abstract, figurative or landscapes, that you can create a space that is the envy of all your friends. Have fun!


Buying Art

How to Hang Pop Art

by Lisa Doherty 8. July 2018 23:00

Who doesn’t love pop art?! It’s fun, it’s loud, it’s colourful and gets noticed. It’s from an art movement that’s over 50 years old, but still looks great and very contemporary, even today.

By turning the ‘trashy’ or mass-consumer into art, the Pop Art movement has been incredibly influential and has inspired many artists, such as Damien Hirst, Jeff Koons and The Guerrilla Girls who continue to turn everyday objects into art.

If you’re thinking of investing in Pop Art for your home, then you’re going to have a lot of fun selecting a painting. We give you our tips on buying Pop Art and the best rooms to hang this style.

What is Pop Art?

Believe it or not, there are different types of pop art. When asked about this movement, we instinctively think of Roy Lichtenstein’s comic strips, and of course, the Pop Art master himself, Andy Warhol.

Andy Warhol by sharon coles
Andy Warhol by sharon coles

However, in the 1950’s when the movement first started, there was British and American pop art. The Brits took a more collage-based or illustrative approach - with artists like Patrick Caulfield and Richard Hamilton leading the field - and they commented on all things American culture.

Richard Hamilton defined Pop Art as: Popular (designed for a mass audience), Transient (short-term solution), Expendable (easily forgotten), Low cost, Mass produced, Young (aimed at youth), Witty, Sexy, Gimmicky, Glamorous, Big business

The Best of British by Angela O'Donnell
The Best of British by Angela O'Donnell Room 22 by Tim Gilpin
Room 22 by Tim Gilpin

At the same time in the US, there was Lichtenstein and Warhol also commenting on popular American Culture. As we know, the 1950’s was the start of mass consumerism and technological advancement in the states. McDonalds drive thru’s, popular cinema, household gadgets and convenience food. Not forgetting, space travel and an obsession with life on other planets.

Bratatat Triptych - Very Large (9 ft wide by 4 ft high) by Peter Mason
Bratatat Triptych - Very Large (9 ft wide by 4 ft high) by Peter Mason

What to look for when buying pop art

This is the fun part! As Richard Hamilton says, mainstream, glamorous, sexy and expendable is what you need to be looking for when identifying and buying Pop Art.

One Artist who really embodies the Pop Art sentiment is Juan Sly. His work represents all things pop and his series of paintings entitled: ‘Other People’s Paintings, only Much Cheaper’, highlights the disposable element of this movement.

Other People's Paintings Only Much Cheaper: No. 4 Warhol (On Paper) by Juan Sly
Other People's Paintings Only Much Cheaper: No. 4 Warhol (On Paper) by Juan Sly

In true Pop Art style, Sly also takes iconic images and subverts them to make a statement. His treatment of Donald Trump from Obama’s ‘Hope’ image is a great example, where he’s been placed in a heroic context for purely ironic purposes.

Other People's Paintings only Much Cheaper: No. 10 Fairey (Trump) (on The Daily Telegraph) by Juan Sly
Other People's Paintings only Much Cheaper: No. 10 Fairey (Trump) (on The Daily Telegraph) by Juan Sly

Other artists painting in the Pop art style, include Peter Masonand Joe Henry. Mason uses postage stamps to create his abstract and popularist images, whereas Henry takes iconic figures of the 20th Century and creates ‘pop’ collages.

The best interior styles to have pop art

Pop art is a very strong and colourful style, so this needs to be hung in a more contemporary looking interior. It would probably jar in an art deco or antique space. It’s also best to hang against white or neutral-coloured walls to make it really, well, pop.

Pop art works well with the cleanest and most cutting-edge interiors, and it can also work with a modernist, retro or vintage space. After all, it is a ‘vintage’ art movement. As it’s art that really shouts at you, it’s also worth carefully considering the room or space you want to hang it.

Where to hang pop art

Now, there are no hard and fast rules to hanging art in the home, but you’ve made an investment and you want it to stand out, so it is worth giving it some serious thought.

Going back to Richard Hamilton, pop art is trashy and noisy, so this style of painting needs to be hung on its own and probably not part of a gallery wall, otherwise it will look too busy and confusing. Ideally, it needs to stand out on its own.


This movement is also irreverent, but this is the fun part of pop art. Hang it in a central location, such as over a fireplace, or in a central location in a hallway where it makes people stop to look at it. Pop art isn’t shy, so make it stand out!

We have a great selection of pop art, as well as artists using the medium of art to make a statement on politics and consumerism. Not everybody wants to hang a traditional portrait or landscape in their home, which is why we also showcase the latest and most innovative artists who are bucking conventions and making a noise. Just like true pop artists!


Art History | Artists | Buying Art | The Art World

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