Claire J Kendrick has launched a contemporary body of work that brings a fresh, modern approach to figure painting. She credits time and experience working with Anne Packard and her daughter, Cynthia Packard, for the growth in her work. There is a freedom and energy in the way she applies paint and builds the paintings in this series as she pushes the boundaries towards abstract.
Study of the human figure has long been at the heart of traditional education in the arts as it shows a real commitment to painting. As an artist, it is possible to break free of strict rules and express more than just a form. There is an opportunity to express energy and vitality in your subject without drawing every detail. Bringing expression and a heartbeat to the painting that is two dimensional, these paintings want to speak.
“The dialogue is something I strive for–what is spoken and what is left unspoken–it’s the tension and energy between the painting and the private dialogue–the interpretation of the viewer(s)–their need to fill in the gaps.Body language is the unspoken dialogue.”
Claire paints landscape, still life and figurative paintings. Originally from Ireland, she worked in the fashion industry in Europe before she relocated to Florida in 2006. From a family of architects and designers, it seems that artistic expression, a love of design, and an eye for detail have enriched her life as a painter.
Claire J Kendrick is an artist whose paintings reflect Florida landscapes with bold, rich, beautiful colors. Collectors respond to the contemporary style and the expressive way in which she paints. The big open vistas and the marsh views that stretch for miles are amongst her favorite places to be.
“This is a hot climate and colorful coast it’s a joy to live here. I love the expanse of the marshlands, the big cloudscapes, the scenery is dramatic and I try to express that in my paintings. When you’re out painting in these isolated places it feels like you have the world to yourself. The subtle shifts of light can in a moment calm or energize the environment. The paintings on exhibition are color sensations, passionate responses, and magical experiences.”
She grew up in the Irish countryside and as a child explored painting “en plein air” with local artists. One of her first exhibitions of landscape paintings was at the age of fifteen.
“Artists need to have a vision, they have to be fearless and sometimes challenge uncharted territory. It’s having the strength of character to forge ahead with an idea or concept way before the consensus of approval. It’s about taking time to see the beauty and potential in a fast paced life.”
Living on the east coast of the United States I look out on the Atlantic Ocean and I’m challenged as an artist to capture its vastness. The high seas and big storm fronts remind me of my native home, Ireland, the North West Outpost of Europe. Those memories combined with the ferociousness of the weather fronts brings a depth and passion to my work, yet the stillness and peace of the southern shores is a soothing calm and is both a joy and quest to capture as a plein air and studio painter.
Symbolically the ocean is a sign of power and strength, due to its immensity. Observing and painting the great power of the ocean and its weather fronts is much like having a front row seat at the theater. As a plein air painter there is an urgency and need to capture the essence of your vista – it’s sparked by emotion and energy. Then the atmosphere and weather of the outdoors adds to the paintings aliveness. All this –- the vigor of life is to be conveyed onto a canvas. It is a love, and a challenge.
“The vistas of possibility are only limited by the shortness of life.”
When we think of botanical paintings, traditional, detailed paintings come to mind. This series of paintings explores the delicate, radiant, beauty of plants and flowers in a contemporary style.
“It is my practice to always work with reference. I like to buy fresh flowers and set up the arrangement and start with a strong composition. This is always my foundation. As I begin painting, each brush stroke has to say something. Putting down a mark and deciding to keep or remove, I try to ask myself if this mark adds something to the painting. The results are dynamic, energetic forms–they show the energy you put into the painting. The still life floral paintings have a life and vitality.”
Pushing boundaries, Claire takes the paintings outdoors and uses a blow torch to melt wax mixed with oil paint, giving a free-flow effect which she then decides to manipulate or leave. This is a process of constant editing, painting, taking away then reapplying paint or wax, building the image slowly in layers.
“You should paint as you live life; expression should be in your work. See the things of beauty you enjoy and fill your life with that energy.”