In the run up to the 10 Parishes Festival, the blog will feature various artists or craftspeople from the 10 Parishes area. Many of them have exhibitions and events throughout the year, so take a look at their websites to find out more – and please Tweet and post on Facebook about them, in celebration of the vibrant artistic talent in the area.
In this blog we look at popular Wiveliscombe artist Claire Rice (see her website details below).
There was a time when Claire Rice never dreamed she would show her paintings – let alone sell them.
A friend, fellow 10 Parishes artist Trish Perrin who works with textiles, encouraged her to join in a previous 10 Parishes Festival, and she’s never looked back. Now she works full-time as an artist, earning her living from it.
“It’s still a thrill every time I sell a painting. I always think the bubble will burst and people will find out I’m not a ‘proper’ artist and I’ll have to go and get a proper job,” says Claire, only half-jokingly.
In fact her work is extremely popular and to be found in galleries throughout Devon, Cornwall, and most recently Whitby.
“I’ve been very lucky, in the right place at the right time and found a style that people quite like at the moment,” says Claire.
“It’s cheerful and in times like this of economic depression, people like something that’s not wildly expensive and that cheers them up.”
Claire’s paintings, many of them delightful townscapes, are bright and fun. “I’m interested in the way we inhabit the landscape and I want them to be accessible, a bit of fun with some artistic license!”
Originally trained as an electronic design draughtswoman – hence “my love of straight lines” – Claire used to give away her paintings as gifts, never thinking of showing or selling them.
“I’m absolutely privileged, able to play for my work.”
Actually she is very disciplined, working full-time all day both from her home in Wiveliscombe and as an in-house painter in some galleries. “I have an area and sit and paint, and people love to come in and watch and chat. Classes and all sorts of things have come from that,” she says.
Claire paints in mixed media but mainly watercolour, line and wash, and in her cityscapes even includes bits of local publications, capturing an image in time.
She had seen Wiveliscombe on the map, having previously lived in Bedfordshire, and when she came this way and saw it, it just felt right. “It calls to you – I think Wivey finds you, rather than you it.”
Now she has been in the town for ten years, and although many places delight her artist’s eye, Wivey is definitely home.