CLAIRE HARKESS studied Fine Art at Glasgow School of Art where she specialised in Environmental Art. This involved site specific work with an emphasis on public art, art in the community and installation work. Since graduating in 1993, she has chosen to concentrate on painting. She draws inspiration from her immediate surroundings and animals and wildlife are a dominant theme in her paintings. In 1998, Claire worked as artist in residence with The Royal Zoological Society of Scotland. While at Edinburgh Zoo she was filmed as part of the BBC "Ex-S" series and a fascinating documentary about her work was broadcast in November of that year.
Since graduating, Claire has travelled widely. Her study visits have taken her to Australia, travelling the Eastern and Central regions for three months, Mexico to follow the migration of the Monarch Butterfly, the Caribbean Islands, Dominica, Barbados, Trinidad and Cuba. She has also recorded Highland deer on the Letterewe Estate, Wester Ross. In 2004 she travelled by boat around South Georgia and Antarctica and, nearer to home, in 2005, she made a trip to St Kilda.
To travel in hope of magical glimpsesto a natural worlda moment in timepassingfluidthe flash of an emerald green underbellya low flying flock at sundownthe cry of a thousand nesting seabirdsa sense of a before and afterof coming from andgoing toof movementrestful or spiritedof freedomlife.
Painting in watercolour offers a unique directness. The essential qualities of light and energy ever present in the natural world are the very essence of the medium itself. In search of a simplicity and beauty through the painting of a line, shape, colour, the process is immediate and instinctive. Remaining true to both medium and subject, with every brush mark visible, I strive to allow the paint the freedom to speak for itself – thus creating a dialogue between myself, the viewer and the ever evolving work.