In my office, there are five paintings.

Not originals, of course.

If they were, I’d wear far more gold top hats than I currently do.

But as I sit here – slightly frazzled having just been working on my new book – I’ve been looking at them and thought it would be interesting to share what they mean to me…

Guernica by Pablo Picasso

I like Picasso a lot.

I think there’s much we can learn from him about the creative process.

This particular image reminds me of when I visited Madrid to see the original and was staggered by its size and visual impact.

But more so, I remember all the preparatory sketches and photos that Picasso created before he could pull off the masterpiece itself.

It’s a good reminder we can’t just spaff out a masterpiece, it takes many experiments and errors to get there.

The Dog by Francisco Goya

First, it’s a funny image.

I like funny images.

It’s doubly funny because it’s actually obscenely bleak.

It’s from a series of paintings Goya did on the walls of his house when he was going a bit ‘Murdock from the A-Team’.

The dog is sinking in some kind of brown sea and is about to be overcome by a wave.

Or is he striving to get out?

There are always different ways of looking at the situation you find yourself in.

I like that and think it’s a good thing to remember when you’re feeling a bit stuck.

The Little Street by Vermeer

A mundane scene where nothing is really happening except everyday life.

But it’s still somehow engaging and draws you in.

Reminds me that good copy can even make dull things interesting.

Apollinaire by Jorn Asger

My friend used to say of abstract portraits:

Imagine the sitter, sat there for hours waiting patiently for the artist to render them in history and then standing up when it’s finished only to see an absolute mess and the proud artist waiting for a compliment.

I don’t know if there’s wisdom in this observation or this piece of art, but it makes me laugh.

And that’s no bad thing.

Nobody by Joan Cornella

All his narrative paintings are generally funny, but this one gave me a good few hours of belly laughing when I first saw it.

It still amuses me today.

It’s also, for me at least, a lighthearted reminder to be humble.

That or to always wear a hat when passing under a window.

And there we have it.

I best get back to the book, but I would very much be interested in hearing about any art you always come back to for inspiration.

Do comment if something jumps to mind.

P.S. By the way, the book is coming on well. I’m over halfway through the first draft now and there’s a lot in here I like. But it’ll be a little while before it’s ready just yet.

So, if you haven’t picked up a copy of my first book, you might want to start there first.

You can pick up a copy here.

If you have read the first and enjoyed it, don’t worry – I’m going as fast as I can and it’ll be worth the wait. I hope.