Artist Interview: Claire Cansick

I'm a curious type; I like to know what informs an artist. Who or what do they look to for inspiration? How do they work? Each month I will be asking an artist I admire a few questions, this month is Claire Cansick.

 Gentleness Clears The Soul, 100cm x 150 cm, oil on canvas

Gentleness Clears The Soul, 100cm x 150 cm, oil on canvas

Claire, your work deals with landscape and the human form, what is it about these two very different subject matters that fascinates you?

I love to draw  and this was ignited when I was very young but when I began life drawing at art college I realised how much the figure interested me. There is an instinctive human connection that we feel when looking at figurative art and when I explore the figure in my work it is that I try to tap into. It is very much about looking inside myself and takes an immense amount of energy to produce. 

Landscape is almost the flip side of my work- looking out, connecting with the environment, feeling my presence as part of the whole. I practice meditation and this helps me cultivate the connection, be mindful of it. My landscapes have developed over time to an interest in the trees and woods around where I live, their diversity, atmosphere and colour.


Painting and drawing appear to be your favoured methods of creating, what do you love about painting in particular?

I have never been taught 'how to paint', as I concentrated on printmaking and drawing at art college, so there is a real element of experimentation involved- you could say I'm making it up as I go along! I really enjoy discovering ways to use oils and they are beautifully deep and rich to work with and provide the best depth of colour.

 The Poachers, 76cm x 51cm, oil on canvas

The Poachers, 76cm x 51cm, oil on canvas

 Trespassing For Art V, 90cm x 60cm, oil on canvas

Trespassing For Art V, 90cm x 60cm, oil on canvas

You are a member of The Arborealists, an artist collective who deal with trees and the landscape, do you find being in an artist group helpful?

Tim Craven - founder member of The Arborealists - is a wonderful advocate for art and conservation and is one of the most enthusiastic and inspiring people I've had the pleasure to work with. The group is so professional and works very hard providing opportunities to exhibit all around the UK and Europe. I find being a member exciting, rewarding and am so looking forward to the programme this year.


I adore the vibrancy in your paintings, is making work with a lot of colour important to you?

Colour really interests me, especially since reading Joseph Albers' 'Interaction Of Colour' and I use the landscapes in particular to explore it by using limited palettes to see what I can achieve. I tend to look for recessive colours which allows me to abstract whats in front of me and when looking at other painters work I like to try to to decipher technique and colour layering. 

 Whenever, 40cm x 50cm, oil, ink and pencil on gessoed wood panel

Whenever, 40cm x 50cm, oil, ink and pencil on gessoed wood panel

You're based in Norfolk, how does the local area influence your landscape paintings?

There is a lot of open land in Norfolk and it is so typically English- fields lined with old oak trees smothered in ivy, copses and woods all over the place. I live opposite a small wood so I see it every day, changes in light and colours occur minute to minute and that is a big influence. My mother was raised in a very rural village and her enthusiasm and love for the countryside has been passed on to me. An artist friend and I often go on drawing jollies, go out in the car around Norfolk to wander, draw, take photos and warm up after with a pub lunch! And we visit galleries, we call it working!!

 Trespassing For Art, 40cm x 30cm, pastel and pencil on painted paper

Trespassing For Art, 40cm x 30cm, pastel and pencil on painted paper

 Cawston, 40cm x 30cm, pastel and pencil on paper

Cawston, 40cm x 30cm, pastel and pencil on paper

What artists (living or dead) inspire you?

Where do I start?! The list is so long and includes Victor Passmore, Milton Avery, Edvard Munch and Henri Matisse as some of the biggest influences for their use of colour, line and pure imagination. Contemporary painters include Billy Childish- who is one of my major influences, his work completely fascinates me and I also love his writing. Luke Hannam is another painter who is a relentless Instagrammer, incredibly prolific and imaginative and inspires me every day with his extensive exploration of ideas, wonderful drawings and love for art.

Tell me about your studio or creative space?

I work in an open plan studio space with 30 people with a massive array of creativity in the heart of Norwich. It is in the Norwich Lanes which is a wonderfully diverse area of independent businesses. The spaces are not enormous and there's no heating but I find going there allows me to switch off from other parts of my life and really immerse myself into my work. I wouldn't be without it.

I love learning random facts about people, tell me three things about yourself. 

  • I have three gorgeous children who are really encouraging and supportive of their slightly weird mother.
  • I'm fiercely loyal but I don't suffer fools!
  • I'm a ridiculous cat person, I have two maincoons and adore them, they often pop up on my instagram feed.

Finally, where can people follow your work online?

@clairecansick on Instagram
@clairecansick on Twitter
clairecansick.com

You can sign up for irregular emails at www.clairecansick.com/contact and I promise not to bombard your inbox!

Thank you to Claire for taking part in my artist interview series. I'm sure I'm not the only one that would like to join Claire and her artist friend on a 'drawing jolly' with a pub lunch included, that sounds like the best kind of day. Claire has several exhibitions coming up this year and also sells her work in her online shop. Please click the following links to learn more: Claire Cansick Exhibitions / Claire Cansick Online Shop. #clairesunite

If you'd like to take part in my artist interviews series then please do get in touch at claireleanneleach@gmail.com. 

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