Cove Conversations - Antonia Phillips

April 05 2020 – Cove Gallery

Cove Conversations - Antonia Phillips
Cove Conversations - Antonia Phillips

In this series of blogs we ask Cove Gallery artists to choose artists and artworks that have inspired them to give us a closer insight into the influences that drive their creativity.

Antonia Phillips is a Dorset-based artist with a strong pedigree in wildlife and seascape art. A trained artist and illustrator, she works predominantly in acrylic and mixed media, producing beautifully atmospheric scenes often featuring coastal birds and other wildlife.

Not surprisingly, Antonia reveals the strong influence on her work of one the world’s best-known wildlife artists, Lars Jonsson, and an exhibition in 2008 at Tate Britain of the prominent Scottish landscape painter Peter Doig. 

So, in Antonia's words... 

Lars Jonsson (b1952)

Lars Jonsson is a brilliant Swedish bird artist. I first came upon his work while at Art College many, many years ago when doing my HND in Natural History Illustration. I had a book then, as I still have, which he had illustrated – ‘Birds of Europe’. I was amazed at his talent for illustration and the book started my interest in birds and birdlife. I happened to be in the second hand bookshop in Poole and found... Bird Island: Pictures from a Shoal of Sand by Lars Jonsson – this coffee-table book was full of inspiration and energy, depicting bird life on a sand-shoal which appears every year off the Swedish coast from July to September...


Lars Jonsson


There are wonderful words in this book but it was the artwork which drew me in. Totally unlike the defined, yet vivid, illustrations of Birds of Europe, the paintings and sketches in Bird Island had such free movement, yet the detail was there too. The birds came alive in their landscape. You could tell he knew his subject with a passion.


Lars Jonsson

Peter Doig (b1959), Tate Britain Exhibition 2008

Perhaps surprisingly, an entire exhibition also features for me. I’m not very good at ‘big’ exhibitions, so this was an unusual event. Scottish artist Peter Doig had a solo exhibition at Tate Britain in 2008. I’d not heard of him at the time and was amazed he was so young - in his 40s at the time.
Doig's huge semi abstract landscape paintings adorned the walls, largely inspired by the snowy scenes of his Canadian childhood, so fuelling my love of all things Nordic. .
Colourful, confident yet controlled brush strokes and the ability to paint over large swathes of some of his work, snowy scenes or blowing curtains. I found his work totally mesmerising.
In my own work the birds have gradually become less dominant, but yet even more important. The landscapes and seascapes they are surrounded by says much, but the birds, subtle as they often are these days, speak more, I’d like to think.
See Antonia Phillips' collection of work at Cove Gallery here

Links to Further Information
Artist Profile - Lars Jonsson
Artist Profile - Peter Doig

1 comment

  • Chris Sholl: May 07, 2020
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    Thank you for these blogs. It is so good to be reminded of the sea and coast, as we are not able to get there at the moment. Fascinating to read about the inspiration behind your artists, whose work I have admired on many occasions. Looking forward to seeing them in real time again, when your lovely shop opens.
    Very best wishes to you and all your artists and makers.

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