Looking Forward to Spring- Featured artist Claire Hankey
Updated: Mar 10
'Wait No more' by Claire Hankey 15cm x 15cm Giclee print on Aquarelle paper From an original painting with digital overlay
Our lovely gallery in Rectory Grove may have been closed for over two months, but as a group we have been actively planning for our reopening and working behind the scenes to build our online presence. It's actually been a really exciting month for us on Instagram, as we have shared more of our lives as artists by posting videos and photos of our studios and sketchbooks. For those of you that follow us, we hope you are enjoying our new way of sharing; the response has been incredible and it's been great to connect with our followers. We have also updated our website. If you have a moment do take a look, we are really pleased with it! We are also delighted to announce that the jewellery designer, Annie Scales is joining us. Annie creates unique and bespoke jewellery. To see some of her work visit our online shop via the link at the bottom of this newsletter.
This month, Susan Allen interviews yours truly! Talking about myself rarely feels comfortable but Susan's questions helped to put me at ease.....
Above are a series of textured paintings exploring surfaces in land and sea. 25cm x 25cm on cradled wooden panel.
Who and what inspired you to start painting and tell us your journey to where you are now? I studied Art at A Level and was completely bowled over the weekly Art History lessons delivered by my teacher, Mrs Taylor. She opened my eyes to the world of art and inspired me to do a degree in Art History at University College London. It was a far cry from the quiet village of Upholland in Lancashire, where I grew up. I had a wonderful time and have had a love of art ever since. I went on to train as an art teacher which I enjoyed for many years until I took time out to have a family in 2006. When my father passed away in 2014, he left me all his art materials and after a while I decided to use them and start painting again. I joined Peter Smith's art group and found him inspirational. He taught me how to hold my brush differently and within the first month of joining his group I had completed my first large painting. This year, I have reduced my teaching hours so that I can focus on developing my artwork and finding my artistic voice. Which artists inspire you and how has this impacted your work? I've always loved the work of the Japanese artists Hokusai and Hiroshige; there is something gentle and beautiful about their work. I created a little series of Japanese influenced artworks earlier this year in response to a book I bought on the Ukiyo-e artists, I love the story telling element in their artworks. I also admire Miro, my husband and I visited the Miro Foundation in Barcelona and we were mesmerised by his colourful, humorous art work. The contemporary artists who are inspiring me at the moment are Andy Goldsworthy, the American floral artist Bobbie Burgers and the wonderful Pamela Bates, who gave me a tip on how to remove fear when starting a painting. Basically, I scribble lightly on the paper or canvas first and that way I can't ruin anything! Your work is full of beautiful and interesting textures, how do you achieve these? My recent textural work is created using layers of plaster and crackle glaze, I then apply inks, water and glazes. It's quite time consuming but I've enjoyed experimenting and I love the effect. I also use layers of vintage ephemera and printed tissue paper to get different textures in my work. You were selected for the prestigious Society of Women Artists 159th Exhibition. What has been the impact of the exhibition? I am part of a very supportive artists membership group run by the British artist Alice Sheridan and I was encouraged by them to enter this exhibition. I put forward a little watercolour I had painted after a walk on Two Tree Island and was delighted to be selected. The impact has been so positive and confidence building. Now when I doubt myself, I try to think "I can do this'' and just get on with it! What are your plans for 2021? I am beside myself with excitement at the moment as I've just signed up to the Creative Visionary Program, an intensive 12 week art course run by the American artist Nicholas Wilton. I hope it's going to help me achieve more freedom in my paintings and I have a dream to create a large body of work, 10 to 15 paintings exploring a theme. I don't know what yet, but that's half the fun of it! I've also started to sell prints of my work and hand made cards at one of my favourite shops in Leigh on Sea, Bonivee Hardware on Leigh Road which is a new venture for me! Visit Claire's studio below.....