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Claire Harkess RSW RGI

Claire was born in Ayr in the 1970s, and studied at Glasgow School of Art between 1988 to 1993, specialising in Environmental Art. In 2005 she was elected a member of RSW (Royal Scottish Society of Painters in Watercolour) and in 2017 she won the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation Artist of the Year. She now lives and works from her studio in Perth.

The inspiration for her work comes from the natural world, with birds and wildlife being of particular interest. Since being a resident artist at Edinburgh zoo, Claire has embarked on journey of over 20 years, visiting wild and fragile environments and observing nature where it belongs. Whilst she's travelled further afield to places like Antarctica, Greenland, Svalbard, St Kilda, Australian Outback, The Galápagos Islands, Kenya and India, she also spends time closer to home. Each place and encounter offer her different experiences to draw her inspiration from.

Claire works in an immediate and intuitive way and paints from materials she has gathered from location in addition to her memories of her experiences. She looks for her paintings to be reminders of what and with whom we share this world - the essence of the natural world distilled and brought to life in another form.

"Working in watercolour offers a directness and energy that suits the subject matter. The balance of pigment, water, paper, brush is key. Sometimes a calligraphic brushstroke is enough to convey the dynamics of flight. Others, it's the joy of unlimited paint pouring, uncontrolled and unpredictable, taking days to dry. The excitement of seeing the results, which pigments have pooled or separated and the puzzle of how to develop and complete a painting continues to feed my passion for the medium."

The Strathearn Gallery | 32 West High Street | Crieff | Perthshire | PH7 4DL