Claire Burke – Acrylic Artist – paints from a cabin in her back garden in Beaconsfield and tells us here how she started painting and what it means to her.
In a familiar story, once my youngest child started school I returned to work part time and also treated myself to a low key, workshop-based acrylic class on a weekly/term-time basis. I was thrilled to finally have some time to create again, and found acrylics an ideal medium to stop, clean up and start again when I could grab an hour or two here and there. My confidence grew, and although I have no formal art qualifications I was encouraged to show some work in a local art fair in 2011 and I haven’t looked back. I sold a couple of animal portraits, working meticulously hair by hair in monochrome and now have a series of prints of these quirky expressive creatures.
Still part-time in a regular job, I now focus properly on painting 2-3 days a week and although it can require discipline to get started and be difficult to squeeze in time, it balances the other busy aspects of my life. I have always loved having something to show for my time and other people’s positive feedback is rare in an office or domestic situation. Almost all of my inspiration is from nature – whether landscapes, skies, coast or woodland. Trees, grasses, clouds – there’s something in every day I’d like to try to capture but there’s just not enough time!
I usually start paintings in pairs – working on one while the other is drying, seeing whats working best and adding it to the other, playing with colour and contrast to improve both. At the end of a day I will try to keep the work in view (while I cook the dinner or clear up etc) so I can get a better perspective on it from different angles and distances. I usually check it in a mirror a few times a day as well – funny what the eye can see from a fresh perspective that it can’t get past if you look for too long! For the same reason I quiz my family and find that my three children are my best critics.
Sometimes I am asked to create a piece for a client and that’s inevitably where my boundaries get stretched, once I painted two 2m x 2m panels for a guest bedroom – quite literally the most daunting blank canvas I’ve attempted so far. On a smaller scale a large abstract for a dining room led me into new territory which I found that I love, so I now have a body of dramatically varying styles and themes.
At this time of year, like Bespoke Framing, I am madly finishing work for the beginning of Bucks Open Studios – my fourth year exhibiting with fellow artists in a fantastic community event. It is so interesting meeting a great deal of other creative people and, although daunting, being on the spot to see and hear people’s reactions to something I have painted is immensely rewarding.
For the same reason I’m always happy to invite people round to the cabin for coffee and a chat: people can contact me about my work on 07922 949489 or
Continually inspired by the beauty and drama of an ever-changing landscape I am challenged to capture the essence in my often tranquil paintings. Come and see my latest work in our central, spacious new venue in the Old Town.
18th – 26th June
Weekdays 9.30am-4pm Saturdays 10am-6pm Sundays 12Noon-5pm
Open until 8pm Thursday 23rd June
Beaconsfield Rugby Club
Tel: 07922 949489