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Inspiration is everywhere.

In the last few weeks I've been lucky enough to visit London for a couple of little treats. On my first visit, not only did I get to spend some time with one of my oldest friends, but I also got to pop to the Tate Britain for the "Van Gogh and Britain" exhibition.

It was fascinating to find out more about his life, the focus of the show being the time that he lived in England between 1873 and 1876. He was inspired by the culture of Britain as well as the art. The exhibition includes etchings depicting life in Victorian England that were from his own personal collection. These pieces then went on to inspire him and his work. Van Gogh's style is very recognisable and unique. The exhibition shows how you can be influenced by your surroundings and admiration for other

people, but still remain yourself.

Often if you are trying to completely copy an idea you have seen, in the end you will not be totally happy with it as it is actually someone else's style. It would be really odd if you were to copy someone else's living room exactly - same sofa, same artwork, same accessories - because your personality wouldn't be anywhere in the design, neither in the process or the final look. It is best to make a collection of things that you like, just like Van Gogh did, and then use them as your inspiration or to make a version of it that suits you. Above you can see an example of one of the etchings he collected, "Exercise Yard at Newgate Prison" by Gustave Doré . Next to it is the piece of work he went on to create in his unmistakable style, "The Prison Courtyard". Even in this piece that looks he has duplicated the composition and subject of the original version, Vincent's is most definitely his work, his style, his colours.

A really interesting room was where his Sunflowers were on display. Around the room were paintings by other artists of vases of flowers, all siting Van Gogh's famous piece as inspiration, which you can see is obvious but they were still all unique to their creators.

(Above, The Sunflowers - Vincent Van Gogh, Flowers in a Vase - Matthew Smith.

Below, Sunflowers sketchbook - Matthew Smith, Honeysuckle and Sweetpeas - Winifred Nicholson).

Interior design at Pink Couch is all about personality, your personality - not mine, not a celebrity's, not another designer's. Don't get stuck with a room painted in a colour you don't really like just because it is an "in colour" right now. Don't let your reason to buy something be because your friend has it rather than because you actually like it. I love to see a space that is lived in, that is the whole point with our homes and it is your life that is being lived in your home. When starting your project with Pink Couch, I ask you to fill out a questionnaire so I can find out more about you, like your favourite colours, what styles appeal to you and you can show me any images you have collected when planning for this project (Pinterest is such a great place to do this). This is the inspiration and it comes from you, I just help you to realise it as a final finished space.

The Sunflowers is a beautiful painting and in person you really get to see all the lovely textured detail in the paintwork. However, it is not really my style, it isn't something I would put on my wall, but I can definitely appreciate the colours! A whole natural tonal range of oranges, ochres and yellows, accented with touches of green and striking blue (I particularly love how his blue signature on the vase becomes part of the painting rather than an after-thought). Below is a board to show how from your own collection of things that inspire you (perhaps a postcard you picked up from an exhibition), can become the basis of a beautiful and unique design for your home. Inspiration really is everywhere!

The exhibition is on at the Tate Britain until 11th August, click here for a link to a Pinterest board I have put together with other images included in the exhibition if you can't make it.

R x


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