I visited the National Gallery today, sounds crazy but it was the first time I had been. I found it a bit overwhelming at first, but wandered around and enjoyed it at random, taking it in and enjoying whatever came my way.

What struck me most was, seeing these original paintings up close, you could actually see, for instance; what material people were dressed in, the shine on silks, the intricate detail of lace. On one painting you could see that part of the furniture was covered in corduroy. I could have almost touched and felt it. Amazing!

I stood back and noticed how the light colours set against a dark background changed the perspective and in some cases it gave the illusion that the subjects were almost coming out of the paintings.

It fascinates me to think how they managed to create those masterpieces all those years ago when there was no use of cameras.

There was a stunning picture of Samson & Delilah by Reubens ~ Samson almost glowed in the picture, it was a sensational painting; his skin was luminous in a wonderful light. It made me laugh when I read the description on the plaque of Delilah’s beauty ~ she was really ugly! However, beauty is in the eye of the beholder! Some of the heavily religious pictures I found quite distressing. I could appreciate how well the artists had painted them, but felt uncomfortable about the content and some were quite garish and almost sinister.

As my time was running out until I had to meet my husband, I came across a room where some of Vincent Van Gogh’s work was hanging. I felt an immediate affinity with his work. His Sunflowers on a background of bright yellow had a little plaque next to it which said that this painting had been put in the guest room of his house to welcome Paul Gauguin. You could almost feel the warmth of his spirit just reading that. I found myself standing back across the room, looking at his Sunflower painting and a landscape alongside. I loved the light of the sky! I found myself just smiling at the paintings simplicity and brightness.

As I left the gallery, I had a great sense of happiness and inspiration. I felt there was hope for me as an artist, working in my very own way and finding my own style.