Clare is an artist, writer and visionary, with a colorful career in various countries with her paintings, books, projects and pop-up events. She’s now based in a magical arthouse in an Italian hilltown, from where she inspires others to reach their immense creative potential, through her art, writing and art school.
She holds a strong belief that we are all born to be deeply sentient and creative, but that we have to work at unblocking our power, as conventional life dampens it significantly!
Carrie: When did you first realize the importance of art in your life?
As a teenager – drawing detailed studies from nature – it brought me to a place of peace and clarity, when everything around me was chaotic and terribly stressful. I found relief from manic depression, in particular, and so delved deeper and deeper into art as a practice.
Carrie: How would you describe your art?
Folk art, intuitive or spiritual art. I work completely spontaneously and rarely pre-plan a piece. When I’m painting, I enter a particular quality of focused attention, a more-than-the-sum-of-the-parts space, where it feels like I’m channeling something into being.
Carrie: How have your goals and vision for your art evolved since we last spoke?
I’ve had some major breakthroughs in confidence around what I’m doing, which is a strange process of just becoming more peaceful and sure of my mission.
I’ve had some incredibly fulfilling quiet adventures, creating my new business platform – my online art school – and am super-enthused about having a load of students signing up for it – it feels fulfilling in a very different way than with my painting, as it is bringing me out of solitude and connecting me directly in a new way with others who want to free themselves creatively.
Carrie: What does your workspace look like?
It’s an old chapel – it has a big stucco arch in the middle, and some simple furniture to keep my paper and materials neat. I have two easels, and usually a few big paintings on the go at any one time. A big mixing palette on a box-cabinet with wheels, so that I can move from easel to easel, and to the wall, where I have a canvas nailed in place.
I have a day-bed in the corner, for contemplation breaks, and there’s a balcony from where I can see across the valley, and hear the nearby waterfall and birds singing. It’s a pretty atmospheric place!
Carrie: Can you describe your artistic process to readers? For example, do you follow the same pattern and track when you develop an artwork from idea to product?
As I mentioned before, I paint completely intuitively and spontaneously – and almost always have done.
I enter a kind of a lucid state, a waking-dreaming, where something simply flows, and I simply follow it. It’s similar to what I do in my art school videos and my writing: I am passionate about what spontaneous creative flow is, and how we can access it and ride it – this mysterious and yet absolutely tangible connection with the bigger creative flow – that profound being-in-the-now. Perhaps the collective consciousness comes into it too.
My work usually contains archetypal figures that also have a biographical echo, and/ or landscape ‘felt’ from having absorbed the imagery around me where I live. I paint from the inside, and from thinking-feeling-knowing, rather than from life, as a rule.
On a practical level, I begin with unrehearsed mark-making, often with pencil or oil pastels, and I allow my subconscious (or greater consciousness) to take over, bringing out whatever form or atmosphere seems to ‘want’ to come. Sometimes it takes a long time (years) to complete a painting, but as I’m maturing as an artist (I graduated with my first degree in 1996) it seems to be a more methodical process.
Usually the meaning of a painting might come on completion, or at a later date. I work hard to avoid any contrived-ness or stagnancy in the painting – if something becomes too much like a superficial-logical interpretation, I tend to use some wild mark-making again, to bring the purity of uncontrolled energy back into it.
Carrie: What do you hope viewers take from your artwork?
I hope that they take insight of some sort; that they feel something, or identify something within themselves, which they hadn’t acknowledged or felt before.
Carrie: What do you wish you knew that you now know about your creative process?
That it’s a form of truth – a means of connecting with the divine creative flow, and that I should trust it fully.
Carrie: What has been one hurdle you’ve overcome as a creative and how did you navigate that problem?
The biggest hurdle I had to overcome, or rather to integrate in my being, is high-sensory-sensitivity. For the first 30+ years of my life, I was tightly bound into coping mechanisms, and had no concept of the level of overwhelm I was consistently immersed in.
When I learned about sensory overwhelm and high-functioning autism through Temple Grandin’s story, my life changed completely: I was immediately able to recognise and thus avoid what was overwhelming me, and so to step out of energy-depleting dynamics of every sort.
Before that point, my life was a series of chaotic reactions and accumulating super-tensions, and my art was an anchor in that stormy sea, but I was still being thrown about by life, rather than sailing on it.
My awareness of how different my sensitivities make me from the average person, this helped me step much more confidently into my work and purpose as an artist – previous to this, I’d held back a lot, and lost a lot of energy trying to fit my work into boxes where it didn’t want to be.
Carrie: You have a new course out. Tell us about it!
My Real School of Art vision is a comprehensive course in creative transformation: yes, drawing and painting practical skills, but much more; a dense, vibrant package of tools and inspiration, to help dismantle the limiting mythology that stops us being the unique artistic beings that we are MEANT to be!
There’s a full ‘first edition’ course already published, with over 70 lessons; videos, worksheets and podcasts – and I’m working on an even more in-depth version.
Ultimately, I want it to support artists and non-artists alike, to use art as the expansive, harmonizing tool that it should be – using primal practices like drawing and painting to shift energy in every area of our lives: using art to know ourselves, and to find our meaningful place in the world.
In creating the school, I’ve found a new love of spoken word, and am creating further series’ of podcasts around how we can live much more creatively and fulfilled as human beings.
Carrie: What is one creative resource you can’t live without?
My deepest instinct.
Carrie: Who/what inspires you?
Everyone who is seeking to be a better person, and loving life for what it is and for what it can be. I love passionate people who take positive risks, and enjoy simple things.
Carrie: What does the word artist mean to you?
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