There’s so much inspiration to be found in discovering and appreciating other people’s creations. Art invites other to admire, comment and challenge what is being seen or experienced – the ideal environment for creativity to flow.

This month, take yourself to an exhibition to see what ideas you get that could influence and improve your photography. The next image you take could become a photo canvas…

Abstract Expressionism

Where: Royal Academy of Arts, London

Cost: £10 to £16.50

If you are near London in the coming weeks, be sure to pop in to the Royal Academy of Arts for the Abstract Expressionism exhibition. It explores an “unparalleled period in American art” associated with the energy of 1950s New York.

A new confidence was found by artists like Rothko, de Kooning and Pollock who broke from accepted conventions. It was the “age of anxiety” regarding WWII, as well as the years of Beat poetry and free jazz.

The Academy describes the works included in this exhibition as “intense, spontaneous and deeply expressive”. The use of colour is expansive and immersive, giving plenty for you to think about in terms of your photography.

Other artists from the last century featured include:

  • Still
  • Newman
  • Kline
  • Smith
  • Guston
  • Gorky

Abstract Expressionism is also a chance to shine the light on lesser-known figures who contributed to the development of the movement. There is also photography and sculpture to see.

The exhibition is curated by the art historian Dr David Anfam, alongside Edith Devaney, contemporary curator at the Royal Academy of Arts. It is organised with the collaboration of the Guggenheim Museum Bilbao.

Facing the World: Self-Portraits Rembrandt to Ai Weiwei

Where: Scottish National Portrait Gallery, Edinburgh

Cost: £9 (£7) or free for ‘Friends’

Head to Edinburgh by 16 October for this fascinating look at the self-portraits of artists. The Scottish National Portrait Gallery presents Facing the World, which looks at the creator becoming the subject in various media (from paintings to Instagram posts) and spanning six centuries.

Artists represented in the exhibition include:

  • Simon Vouet
  • Rembrandt
  • Hyacinthe Rigaud
  • David Wilkie
  • David Octavius Hill
  • Edvard Munch
  • Henri Matisse
  • Oskar Kokoschka
  • Andy Warhol
  • Marina Abramović
  • Tracey Emin
  • John Coplans
  • Ken Currie
  • Alison Watt

The exhibition is a collaboration between the National Galleries of Scotland, the Staatliche Kunsthalle, Karlsruhe and the Musée des Beaux-Arts Lyon. It is also part of the Edinburgh Art Festival.

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories

Where: National Museum Cardiff

Cost: Free

This exhibition is based in Cardiff and celebrates the work of one of the world’s most important and best-loved illustrators, Quentin Blake. Best known for his illustrations in the books of Roald Dahl, Quentin Blake: Inside Stories gives a unique insight into the origins of some of his most iconic creations (The Twits, Danny the Champion, The Boy in the Dress for example) – work that is recognised worldwide.

You can expect to see roughs and storyboards including some that have never been seen before! The exhibition shows how ideas evolved, often in close collaboration with the authors, as well as his different techniques using inks, watercolours and pastels depending on the nature of the story and the characters being drawn.

Quentin Blake: Inside Stories was co-curated by Quentin Blake himself and Claudia Zeff for the opening of House of Illustration, the UK’s centre for the art of illustration. It is supported by the Welsh Government and forms part the Roald Dahl 100 Wales celebrations taking place throughout this year.

See how you can combine photography and illustration with our guide at Parrot Print. There’s also lots to see exhibition-wise no matter what the occasion with our tips on what to see this autumn.