Art Matters: L.S. Lowry on Match Day

Andy Royston’s back on the terraces with one of England’s most beloved painters, L.S. Lowry. One cold and rainy evening in West London I found myself wandering towards a set of bright floodlights shining above the houses. Brentford FC were playing Gillingham in some cup game and Griffin Park was offering tickets on the turnstiles. So in I went, picked up a cup of Bovril from the Ealing Road end and, as the drizzle faded...

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Tom Keating: Art Fraud

Tom Keating: Criminal or hero? In the nineteen sixties and seventies, Tom Keating made a very handy living as an art forger. But was he a criminal or was he simply exposing the shady side of the art world? He painted fakes in the style of several well known painters (whose works were valuable and in demand) and sold them without exactly revealing that they were ‘home made’. How much of a crime is that, exactly? Well, in...

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A Ship Called Rothko: Artwork by Andy Royston

A Ship Called Rothko: Artwork by Andy Royston I’ve loved the work of Mark Rothko for as long as I can remember. The last time I recall one of the artist’s works selling it was at Christie’s in New York. The price was a cool $86.9 million. This price set a record for the top price paid for artwork produced after World War Two. Therefore I think it’s pretty safe to assume that there won’t be a genuine...

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Norman Rockwell: Fake!

The Norman Rockwell painting that was a fake. Breaking Home Ties is one of America’s favourite illustrations.It was created by Norman Rockwell in 1954, originally for the cover of the Saturday Evening Post. For years it was exhibited and admired by the American people but there was just one minor detail – it was a fake. More than fifty years after it had been painted, it was discovered that the artwork on display was a...

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Looking at Paintings (9) David Hockney ‘The Road Across the Wolds’

When David Hockney’s Yorkshire landscape paintings were first shown at the London Royal Academy in 2012, they attracted mixed reviews. The art critic of The Economist admired some of the works, but wrote, “Others, I would argue, would not be celebrated at all if they were not by Mr Hockney, such as this ‘The Road Across the Wolds’.” But he was wrong. The painting, now on permanent display at the Hockney Gallery, Salts Mill, Saltaire,...

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Music of 2016 – Women of the Year

Designer and artist Andy Royston looks back on his favourite sounds of 2016 – Part two is all female. I’m not at all sure what it says about the year’s music that it all came down to “Becky with the good hair”. Beyonce’s ‘Lemonade’ has topped all the usual ‘best of’ lists this year including the venerable Rolling Stone Magazine, who called the album “a major personal...

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Augustus John

Augustus John: Fryern Court, Fordingbridge. Artist Augustus John was born in Wales in 1878. He became the darling of the art world and was well-known for his eccentricities. He often wore gypsy-style clothes and lived life in his own bohemian fashion. He was married in 1900 but, because he loved women, that didn’t stop him having affairs most notably with his long-time mistress Dorothy  McNeill, usually referred to as Dorelia....

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Art Matters: The Fighting Temeraire

Andy Royston talks us through his favourite painting by JMW Turner – ‘Ye mariners of England, That guard our native seas!  Whose flag has braved a thousand years, The battle and the breeze!‘  Thomas Campbell  “Ye Mariners of England” In this famous painting by J.M.W. Turner, the great old warship Temeraire no longer flies the union flag. Just a white flag flutters from the mast of the tug, showing that a ship is now...

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Tragic Truth Behind Sheffield’s Famous Graffiti

The story behind the ‘I love you’ bridge. In 2001 local residents in the Park Hill area of Sheffield saw a rather amazing piece of graffiti. It wasn’t just that it was an ‘aww’ moment, it was also remarkable because of its location. It was written on the side of a walkway bridge one hundred and thirty feet off the ground. It read ‘Clare Middleton I Love You Will U Marry Me’. Everyone who saw...

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The Clocks of Windsor Castle

The Queen’s Clockmaker. Steve Davidson has a fantastic job. He is in charge of the many clocks at Windsor Castle, one of the residences of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II. But on two weekends of every year he has a truly unenviable job – the weekend in spring when he has to put the clocks forward and then in autumn when they need to be put back an hour. How many clocks? Including the royal residence itself, outbuildings and...

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Looking at Paintings (8) ‘Tell Your Fortune, Lady’

Over 70 years after it was painted, ‘Tell Your Fortune, Lady, still has the power to stop me in my tracks. It was one of a series of paintings of gypsies at Epsom and Ascot race courses, England, by the artist, Laura Knight (1871 – 1970), created over a ten year period in the 1930s. The Artist Laura grew up in Nottingham where her strong-minded mother gave art classes to support her children. Laura showed early talent and...

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Looking at Paintings (7): The Conchie

The painting, ‘The Conchie’, by the British painter, Arthur Gay (1901 – 1958), was first exhibited in 1931 to a sympathetic public reception. A decade earlier this would not have been the case. Background In 1916, with the Great War raging unabated and the number of volunteers drying-up, the British Government introduced military conscription. The Military Service Act compelled men, aged 18 to 41 (later extended to 51 years) to serve...

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Art Matters: George Grosz

 “Come out of your rooms, even if you find it an effort, pull down your individual barriers, let yourselves be caught up by the ideas of working people and help them in the struggle against a corrupt society.” George Grosz In 1912 a rebellious young artist from north eastern Germany moved to the Wedding district of northern Berlin. George Grosz was already proving a distinctive draftsman, influenced by the expressionist...

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Antoni Gaudi i Cornet

June 10th, 2016 marked the 90th anniversary of the death of one of Spain’s most controversial architects! Even though he has been gone 90 years, his work and the mark he has made on Spanish buildings, makes it seem like he is still alive today. Gaudi was a sick child and because of his many ailments spent much of his childhood indoors. Though he didn’t get out much, he watched and learned many lessons by observing the world around...

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Art Matters: Vincent and Paul

Andy Royston takes a look at Vincent van Gogh’s Chairs of 1888, and a fraught relationship with his houseguest, Paul Gauguin. ‘At the bottom of our hearts good old Gauguin and I understand each other, and if we’re a bit mad, so be it, aren’t we also a little sufficiently deeply artistic to contradict anxieties in that regard by what we say with the brush?‘  Vincent Van Gogh –  letter to Theo van Gogh. Arles,...

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Eric Hebborn

The murder of art forger, Eric Hebborn. On January 8th, 1996,  English art forger Eric Hebborn was found in an alley in Rome. He was unconscious and had been beaten about the had by a blunt instrument. Hebborn had been living in the area since the nineteen sixties when he and his then lover, Graham Smith, had opened a gallery. He survived for days after the brutal attack but despite the efforts of the doctors, he succumbed on January...

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Zoran Music: Dachau Artist

Who was Zoran Mušic? There are hardly the words to describe what happened at the Nazi concentration camps. But Zoran Music, an artist from Austria, was incarcerated in Dachau and secretly drew the horrors of life there. After graduating after studying art, he decided to travel. He was arrested by the Nazis when he was making sketches of buildings. They assumed he was a spy. Story has it that he was tortured and then interrogated by an...

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Mobile Art is Worthless.

Photographer, artist and iPhoneography pioneer Andy Royston considers the wisdom of sharing his art online and the trials and tribulations of the mobile artist (those who create art and photography entirely on mobile and cellular devices). Today, I found a bricks-and-mortar business was using a familiar image to promote an art gallery exhibit. Three artists were featured in the show, yet there was something all too familiar about the...

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‘Stanza Stones’ (5): The ‘Rain Stone’

As I walked Blackstone Edge, above Ripponden, I could see the rain coming my way. It was falling on Manchester in the distance, but the wind was blowing it fast into Yorkshire. I was on my way to see the ‘Rain Stone’ – my fifth journey to find the six ‘Stanza Poems’, all carved on rock, and all bearing poetry written by Yorkshire poet, Simon Armitage, and chiselled by artist, Pip Hall and her apprentice, Wayne Hart. A mile or so along...

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Looking at Paintings (6): Self-portrait of William Shackleton

This is a self-portrait of the artist, William Shackleton, born in 1872 into a prosperous Yorkshire family. The oil painting, 54 x 40 cm in size, is part of the permanent collection at Cartwright Hall in Bradford. William Shackleton was the son of a prosperous Bradford paper manufacturer and merchant. He was educated at the local Grammar School, studied art at Bradford Technical College, and in 1893 won a scholarship to study at the...

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City Girls

Think football (or soccer) and you think men: men shouting, waving, cheering, chanting, booing. But here in my home city, Bradford, West Yorkshire, many female fans of all ages attend both home and away matches. They come with their male partners or spouses, they come in female pairs, they come with their kids or grandchildren, and some come on their own. And they can be as passionate as the men about the game. In 2015 a local...

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Dada : Buffoonery and a Requiem Mass

Andy Royston takes us back one hundred years to the very birthplace of meaninglessness. The Cabaret Voltaire, opened on 5th February 1916 in a back room of run down old cafe in the city of Zurich, Switzerland. Freedom: Dada Dada Dada a roaring of tense colours and interlacing of opposites and of all contradictions, grotesques, inconsistencies; LIFE. Tristan Tzara : Dada Manifesto 1918 “What we are celebrating is both buffoonery...

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iPhone Photography 101 – Silhouettes and Sunshine

iPhone Photography 101 – Silhouettes and Sunshine. As a beach photographer I find that I’m constantly looking for new ways to make my sunrise shots memorable. I take photographs every day, regardless of the weather, and I try to find different ways of capturing the moment. Silhouettes have become an important part of my workflow and have played a part in creating some very dramatic photographs. Here in Florida a bright sun...

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Illustrating ‘Alice’

Alice – and Her Illustrators. On one hot summer day in 1862, a shy, introverted mathematic professor, Charles Dodgson, told a story to three young girls whilst rowing on the River Thames. One of the three girls, Alice Liddell (his favourite) begged Dodgson to write it down and give it to her. He did. And ‘Alice’s Adventures Underground’ was born. So too, was ‘Lewis Carroll’, the pen name adopted now...

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What’s the Point of Art?

Have a look at this painting of South Bay, Scarborough, by Yorkshire artist, Arthur Kitching. Do you like it? Yes? OK, why do you like it? No? Why don’t you like it? Or are you indifferent to it? Same type of question – why are you indifferent? I guess these questions go some way to answering the one posed in the title of this article. A work of art inevitably provokes a response from the viewer. You are drawn to it – or not...

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How To Hang Your Artwork

The best placement for your wall art. So many little things make up the difference between a professionally designed interior and one that has not had the benefit of the expert eye. One huge giveaway is how artwork is placed on the walls. Luckily once you know the secret your home will not be like so many where artwork is hung haphazardly and there’s something about the professional way that subconsciously makes your home look...

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Looking at Paintings (5) – The Big Skies of Yorkshire

Painting skies successfully in oil or watercolour is tricky. Not many artists can capture successfully the range of colour, grandeur and rapidly changing nature of Yorkshire skies, which, as you would expect a Yorkshireman to say, are the grandest of them all. And, thus, only a Yorkshire artist could do justice to them. But here are four Yorkshire artists – two now dead, and two very much alive – who have done it. Bertram...

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Four Faces of Stress

Four Faces of Stress Here are just four causal faces of stress, as seen by artists (photographs taken by me from books in my collection). (1) Fear Hilary Paynter’s wood engraving, titled ‘Stress’, catches the anguish of the rats as they cower together. The rats express their fear in individual ways. Some sink to the bottom of the pile, their eyes closed or glazed over in submission, whilst others huddle together for protection. One...

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Art Matters : Paris Street, Rainy Day

Andy Royston meets an old friend unexpectedly on a Chicago street. I thought I knew Gustav Caillebotte. I know that he was a rich man who was able to retire from work as a lawyer and indulge in his love of art and of impressionism while still in his 20s. Freed from having to worry about the bills, or even sell his work, Caillebotte lived in the newly developed 8th arrondissement district and painted realistic and impressionistic...

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Looking at Paintings (4) – ‘Trenches’

On the 1st July 1916, the Battle of the Somme was launched during World War One. By the end of that day alone 60,000 British and Empire troops had been killed or wounded. It should be remembered too, that the overall Somme campaign led to over half a million German casualties. Among the advancing troops on the 1st July 1916 were 2,000 members of the ‘Bradford Pals’ – men drawn together as volunteers at the start of the war from the...

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Decor: Selecting Frames for Your Artwork

Choosing frames and mats for your artwork. Changing the look of your room can be expensive. But you can dramatically alter the way your space looks simply by switching out the artwork. And similarly, you can change the look of your favourite paintings, drawings or photographs simply by the way they are  framed. See how framing options can change the look of just one artwork. Let’s take this fabulous black and white framed...

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Berlin’s beloved Ampelmännchen

Andy Royston tells the story of Berlin’s best loved street characters – the Ampelmännchen. Angels over Berlin My own first visit to the city of Berlin came after the re-unification of Germany, at a time when the city was going through a period of great changes. I wanted to visit the city before too much of the ‘old’ east had been wiped away, and see some of the city that I knew from my favourite film of the...

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Four Faces of Happiness

Four Faces of Happiness What makes us happy? Here are just four faces of happiness, as depicted by artists whose work I admire. (Photos taken by me from books in my collection) Friendship The late, Beryl Cook, one of my favourite artists, captures a night out: a group of women friends unwind and have a good laugh together. The woman in the foreground, cracking-up with laughter, makes me happy every time I see it. To be able to relax...

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A Splinter of Wood Engravers

Wood Engravers. My aim in this article is to introduce you to the art of six contemporary wood engravers whose work represents all that is inspirational to younger engravers and collectors of this art form. I hope that this article will inspire you to find out more about modern wood engraving, particularly as book illustrations – the most readily accessible way of collecting wood engraved illustrations. A splinter of wood...

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Higher Than The Sun – The Art of Paul Cannell

Andy Royston remembers one of London’s wildest artists, Paul Cannell, London’s Basquiat. “Like all great dyslexic artists Paul Cannell pants” JEFF BARRETT Jeff Coons? Do me a favour! Gilbert and George! Fuck off and die! The Grey Organisation?? In three years time if Paul Cannell is not a superstar artist with constant exhibitions in every main city throughout the world come and find me… EDWARD BALL...

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Saucy Seaside Postcards

Saucy Seaside Postcards Growing up in the 1950s, a visit to the seaside with my family was always a treat. One day, I was walking along the promenade when I saw a group of teenage girls giggling over a rack of postcards. I asked my mum what they were laughing at. “Mucky postcards”, she said, “And you stay away from them!” I didn’t, of course, and I still have a soft spot for the bawdy humour on seaside postcards in Britain,...

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The Art and Craft of Wood Engraving

Wood Engraving. I want to share my attraction for wood engraving with you. My retirement profession now is book seller and I make a point of selling books with wood engraved images. Some are so sublime it is difficult to part with them – although they pay my bills when they go. The aim of this article is to highlight the work of some talented wood engravers, past and present, and to share the beauty of their work with you. My...

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Faces on Wood

Grained by Life. Wood engraving can be a fine medium for capturing the dignity of the human face. The grain of the wood can be utilised to emphasise the age of the sitter – and the contrast between light and dark, in both the background and facial features of the subject, can be highlighted by the engraving process. Let me share some of my favourite ‘faces on wood’ with you. I hope this may encourage you to seek out...

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Looking at Paintings (3): ‘The Emigrant Ship’

‘The Emigrant Ship’ This is the third in my ‘Looking at Paintings’ series of articles. This painting is titled ‘The Emigrant Ship’ by the Yorkshire artist, Charles Joseph Staniland, and is exhibited at the Cartwright Hall Art Gallery, Bradford. Each group of people in the painting has a story to tell – or perhaps gives us the opportunity to tell it for them. (Image: Copyright – Bradford...

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Interview with Andy Royston: The Ft.Lauderdale Sun Project

When we first interviewed photographer, Andy Royston, about his iphoneography, he mentioned the Fort Lauderdale Sun Project.  Since I was curious to know more about it, we thought you might be too.  As luck would have it the day he chatted with us was the day he reached an amazing milestone, that of 20,000 Twitter followers. As you can see from the photographs included here, Mr. Royston has mastered the art of photography using a cell...

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Looking at Paintings (2): ‘The Dole’

Looking at Paintings This is the second of my articles on 19th century paintings in art galleries in Yorkshire that caught my interest. This one, ‘The Dole’, painted in 1867 by the Yorkshire artist, James Lobley, is an example of ‘narrative’ painting – one that tells us a story. In ‘The Dole’ the story is about social class, dependency, poverty, charity, and the impact of charity on others....

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Looking at Paintings (1): ‘Signing the Marriage Register’

Looking at Paintings. I enjoy visiting local art galleries, finding a painting I like, then learning more about the painting and the artist. This one is called ‘Signing the Marriage Register’, painted around 1895 by James Charles. It hangs in the Cartwright Hall gallery, Lister Park, Bradford. It is typical of 19th century genre paintings, which were very popular at that time. I like it for its close observation of people,...

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Art Matters – Nocturne in Black and Gold

Andy Royston takes a closer look at the painting that sparked a notorious libel case, Nocturne in Black and Gold – The Falling Rocket by James Abbott McNeill Whistler Nature contains the elements, in colour and form, of all pictures, as the keyboard contains the notes of all music. But the artist is born to pick and choose… that the result may be beautiful – as the musician gathers his notes, and forms his chords, until he brings...

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Book Sculpture

Books as Art. Every day thousands of old books are sent for recycling. Nothing wrong with that, you might say, and I would agree. But there is another use for discarded books: as book sculptures. The image in this introduction is by book sculptor, Justin Rowe (used with his permission). Other photographs in this article have been taken by me from books in my collection. New art from old I came across Justin Rowe’s work when...

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Beautiful Bookbinding

Designer Book Bindings. Let me introduce you to the wonderful world of bespoke or designer book binding. These are bindings commissioned and made for a particular book and are fusions of craft and creativity. The finished works are often beautiful – often exquisitely so – and highly collectable items. In a world of standardised mass production, they stand out for their uniqueness and individuality; there will be only one...

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The Street Characters of Bradford

The Street Characters of Bradford. By the mid 19th century, Bradford in West Yorkshire had become one of the most affluent cities in Britain. It had become a world centre for the manufacture of worsted textiles and its population had rocketed from 47,000 in 1831 to nearly 108,000 by 1851. The rapid growth of mills had created work for thousands, great wealth for hundreds – and misery for many who fell between the social cracks....

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The Art of the Location

Since summer 2009 I have developed an extraordinary photographic habit. I’ve been capturing images at what I sometimes call “the same old beach” each and every morning, arriving unfailingly at the same parking spot on Sunrise Lane and walking out onto the sands to watch – and photograph- the sunrise. Today marks a run of over 400 consecutive days pounding the sands here in Fort Lauderdale, which amounts to many...

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The iPhone Art of Andy Royston

If you happen to be in the Ft Lauderdale walking on the beach in the early morning, you have probably seen photographer Andy Royston. He’s been walking along that stretch for six years now.  Using only his cell phone he has taken well over 25,000 photos to share on Twitter, Flicker and various other sites. We caught up with him this week—though not on the beach.  This is the first in a series of interviews with the award winning...

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Art: The Beauty of Birds

Seabird artwork by Andy Royston Even ancient man was fascinated by birds.  Prehistoric cave paintings often feature birds and other winged creatures and since ancient times,they have been used symbolically in many cultures. And we still continue that fascination to this day. It’s hardly surprising – birds represent a freedom that we don’t have; the ability to soar into the air, go anywhere, fly to their dreams (or...

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iPhone Photography 101 : Low Angles

Every day I take a walk along Fort Lauderdale’s North Beach. I’ll be there rain or shine as I have been for many years. The reason I like this stretch of shore is that in the early hours it is quite deserted. The width of the sands there is quite narrow, so it is quite easy to step away from the shoreline should the skies become photogenic. I like to frame the sunrise with silhouettes of palm trees if I can, and the palms...

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Throw pillows as art

Can throw pillows be considered art? There was a time when I was quite snooty about it.To me, art was seen on walls. I was tolerant enough to think that sculpture was art and that some ceramics, jewellery and so on could be classed as art but household items? I didn’t think so. But I’ve changed my mind in recent years. Product design went through a quiet revolution some years ago. Suddenly items such as lemon squeezers...

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Sunrise artwork: Style and serenity

How does the artwork you have in your home or office affect your mood? To a very great extent, according to experts. For psychologists to Feng Shui consultants,  they all agree that surrounding yourself with positive images has an equally positive effect on our mood. What could be more uplifting than daybreak? Here we have the start of a new day, full of promise and potential. The dawning day is artwork provided by Mother Nature...

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