Art began at school for me with an art teacher full of encouragement. Armed with confidence I completed my art studies which then lead into a career in the clothing design.Painting has always been my first love and I returned to it when I lived in the southern lakes of the Central Otago.Having been born and raised on a Southland farm I’ve always been drawn to gather inspiration from my natural surroundings.
The inertia behind my current body of work is the mutation that is taking place in our rural farm landscapes. The metamorphosis that is our land is undertaking from the dairying business is evolving in my work. Seen from the sky the engulfing pivot irrigators that crawl like caterpillars around from our once angular paddocks have become an overwhelming aspect of my paintings.Cellular, Circles of colour, Stock lanes, the sourcing of water evidently more crucial. Old ways against new ways.
Each piece begins with an image, moving through its development with design, colour and texture. I work in response to each new component as it appears, finally encasing the work to create a tile/glass like image.
These days I live in North Canterbury with my husband and two daughters, and paint from my home studio. I can proudly say that my paintings have sold throughout New Zealand and Internationally.
An interview with Clare Wilcox
Meet Clare, a local artist whose striking works of New Zealand landscapes has gained international recognition...
Originally from the Southland, Clare Wilcox has been painting all her life. Encouraged by an enthusiastic art teacher, she found the confidence to pursue painting, and is now an internationally-selling artist.
After a decade in Queenstown, Clare left to North Canterbury, where she now lives with her husband and two daughters. Whilst her art studio can be found near Christchurch, her paintings are displayed in the heart of Queenstown, in the Central Art Gallery.
We catch up with her to find out how she creates such striking pieces
Why do you like exhibiting your artwork in Queenstown?
It gets such a diverse range of people through it - people are on holiday, so its a nice time to buy art as a memory. I love the idea of my paintings travelling around the world, Julia is great at sending anything overseas.
All my life I have loved art. I fell back into the art form after taking a life-drawing class in Queenstown. Its just my passion, I am happiest when painting and its how I express myself creatively. Its the added bonus that someone else might like it too and want it on their wall.
Describe your style...
Its abstract and contemporary... Ill have symbols and shapes to signify rivers flowing through different things in it, but I don't force the viewer how to interpret it. Its open.
Colour seems to play a huge part in your paintings, why is that?
I love working with colours, as well as texture and form. Colour evokes memory and I use it to express emotion.
What do you paint?
I am focusing on aerial landscapes - looking down from above to see how farms are changing. Theres an evolution of farming, particularly the dairy industry and their use of water, that is changing our landscapes and shifting from square to circle forms.
Sometimes I fly with my husband who is a pilot, other times I look at a landscape and imagine it from above. Google earth comes in handy too!
What do you try to achieve with your art?
I like to make people feel good when looking at my art. Art should make people smile. I know if a piece makes me feel good I have achieved what I set out to do.
How do you create your paintings?
I use an acrylic paint and mixed media to create lots of textures, then cover it in a resin. I like to use colour that evokes emotion in people and makes them feel uplifted. Some are laboured, others happen very quickly.
I often have about 3 on the go and do them in different layers. I will leave them sitting on the easel until I know whats wrong with them - usually either the balance or composition.
Do you plan or just go with the flow?
Plan! I have a book and get down the initial idea behind a work there, starting with the colour palate. Ill stray a bit, but its mainly intuitional.
What do you like to do outside of painting?
Anything creative! I love needlepoint and like to keep active, skiing is good here, I often go to Mount Hutt with my daughter who snowboards.
What advice would you give those starting as a painter?
Just paint. Paint from the heart and do more - the more you do the more you find and the more you want to do. The hardest is thinking about it is starting.