Friday, May 27, 2016

Wired Portrait Gallery & 
Acrylic Portrait Sketch Opportunity, June 2016

Currently the Wired Gallery in High Falls, NY, is hosting a portrait exhibition in which I am pleased to be included. My contribution is a portrait installation consisting of 42 portraits, the result of a six month residency at the Woodstock Public Library - a painted "snapshot" of Woodstock in 2015.

During the run of the exhibition I have offered to paint small portrait sketches onsite in the gallery for a special price of $100 + tax. The original dates are fully scheduled and, because of the interest the offer generated, I am adding another date: June 25. One slot is already booked but there are two slots available: 11:30am + 1:10pm. Here's the scoop: the works will be painted on canvases that are 8"x8"x 1.5" deep that can be hung unframed, or stand on a shelf.   Each sketch will take 60 to 90 minutes, and it will be on a first come, first served basis. If you are interested in being painted, or having a family member painted, please contact me via the comments box below - if no comment box is visible, email me direct to, or message me on Facebook HERE  (where you can also "Like" my page!)

If you don't have time to sit or can't (maybe you're two years old), I can paint you from a photograph that I can take at the Gallery. If you wish to surprise  a friend or family member, I can also paint them from a photograph you provide, however, it must be a clear, sharp photograph and not too small. If Paintings from photos can be done in my studio and made available the following weekend or by arrangement with the artist. In all cases, works will need to be paid for in advance.

Please note, the works will be sketches, not finished to the degree the works are in the installation, each of which took between seven and nine hours to complete. Following are examples of what to expect.

While you're here, do visit my Website where you can view my other artworks. Gallery 1 contains portfolios of recent work done in Costa Rica, and Gallery 2 has my portrait portfolios including the work currently on view at Wired Gallery (note the drop-down menus).

Monday, September 21, 2015

Back from Ireland

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at the South Tipperary Arts Centre (STAC)

So my trip to Ireland (England and Scotland) was a blast. But the main reason I went: my portrait exhibition "Home Towns"  in Clonmel, my original home town, was the bomb! It took place in August at the South Tipperary Arts Centre (STAC) to no small amount of enthusiasm. Click HERE for a review piece about the show in the local newspaper. There was also a nice review/interview piece which isn't online, alas. 

The opening on August 4th was packed - having left Clonmel mumble mumble years ago, I expecting and would have been happy with ten people and a dog (maybe two dogs). As it was, the exhibition broke the record for the most visited solo exhibition in the history of the venue. The exhibition which consisted of 50% portraits from Woodstock and 50% from Clonmel, was opened by Mayor Patrick English, on August 4th. Most of the paintings were in the 12 x 12 inch format but there were a few that were larger. The subjects of the Clonmel portraits remained a secret until the actual opening so that was a lot of fun.  Above is a video of the launch with the introduction by the mayor and following are some photos of the artworks with their subjects:

 Painting of Patricia O'Sullivan, nee Keely, Clonmel's first woman mayor (then and now) and also Ireland's youngest (to date) - she was only 19 when elected to office. This painting is now in the care of the South Tipperary Museum.

  Portrait of Maureen Purcell, one of the founding members of the South Tipperary Arts Group (STAG) of which I was a member as a teenager. Maureen has continued to shine a light on art in the area over the years and is a constant volunteer at STAC (the Arts Centre). This portrait is under the care of the Museum also, but on long-term loan to STAC. Photo below includes John Fahey, the chairman of board at STAC.

Below are some of the subjects with their portraits.
 Joe O'Sullivan (2014/15 President of the Clonmel branch of the Rotary Club)

Mrs. Peggy Kennedy

 Michael Kieley (hall manager of Banna Chluain Meala - Clonmel Marching Band)
  Tony Barry

Patrick (Paddy) Cashin

 Above and below is portrait of Seamus Healy - oil on linen, 20 x 20." Mr. Healy is a TD (Teachta D├íla, Irish equivalent of an MP or Member of Parliament) for the district of South Tipperary. 

 And finally, the two youngest subjects, Lilyrose and Maria. 

That's it for now. To see the rest of the Clonmel group, and the Woodstock group too, visit the Portrait Portfolio in Gallery 1 (note drop down menu) on my website or just click HERE

[And remember to like my Facebook page to keep up with my arty shenanigans - Emoji]

Friday, November 21, 2014

Call for Clonmel People

Calling Clonmel, South Tipp, Ireland
I need you to be participants in my Portrait Project: Hometown

I am thrilled to be returning to Clonmel next August (2015) to exhibit paintings at the Arts Center. I am working on a portrait project called "Home Towns" - one part is of people from my adopted town of Woodstock and one is of people from my original home town of Clonmel. For the Clonmel project, I am inviting people from the town to be my subjects for the portraits. The idea is that the project will be a snapshot of  the Clonmel community in 2015, so it is important that that every age-group is represented from the very young to the very old, female and male. 

To participate, you need to be living in or near Clonmel now, and you need to e-mail me two/three photos of you and/or a friend or relative that I will paint from. The paintings will be a little over 30 x 30 cm, so the heads will be close to life-size. To keep it mixed up, I'll use a different hat for each gender and age-group and take turns picking from them, so don't just send photos of the grandkids.

The photos - unfortunately, often great snap shots don't make great sources for paintings, therefore I am going to ask people to take new photos with this project in mind. A fancy camera is not a requirement - a mobile phone camera will be fine, and then you can email me the pics from there.
Best is if the person being photographed is standing next to a light source, for example, a window or a lamp - best of all, is a reading lamp directed at the face from the left or right side (see tips below). I just need head and shoulders only. Feel free to wear whatever you like - if you usually wear a hat, then wear a hat. There are a few additional tips below.

Email the photos to:, and please include the following info about the person in the photo(s): name and approx age + one particular thing that they like, that is 'them' -  perhaps it's soccar, dancing, basket-weaving, or cats, for example: Jack Jones, age 8 - dinosaurs, or Mrs Jill Jones, age 70s - flowers. Also, please put the name(s) in the subject line like this: Clonmel Jack and Jill Jones.

Tips for the photos:
(1) Ideally two or three pictures for each person – one with a serious expression and one in the same pose but smiling.
(2) Head and shoulders only. The whole head is best.
(3) No flash please as it tends to flattens the features; 
(4) If the face is lit from one direction it creates interesting shadows – this can be done with a reading lamp, or if the person being photographed is next to a window with strong sunlight coming in. Following are examples of photos taken with a lamp

These are photos of my young friend, Chloe - the light-source is a lamp. But standing next to a sunny window will have a similar effect. I like the clearly defined shadows and that there are areas of light on the "dark side" of the face. And I can see the whole head, so this ideal.                                                                                                                         

In the photograph on the right, see how there are light areas in the dark side of the face? This makes for a very interesting picture - often it is just a case of turning the head a little more towards the light.

Here are a couple of things to avoid.

This photo on the left is typical of a cell-phone format and part of the head is cropped so I am missing information, so better to move back a bit or get someone else to take the picture.

The photo on the right is almost great, but just a bit too close up. By being a few more inches back from the camera, both of these would be perfect.

Below, just for fun, are some examples of what are useful and not so useful expressions. If you were to send me three photos, the three I've marked are the ones I'd like best. If you can only send one, then send me a version that fits the photo I've made #1.

But don't let fussiness over the "perfect photo" put you off participating - the photos are only source materials for paintings and I can work with what I've got, including deepening shadows, making stuff up, and performing plastic surgery. That's why they call it 'artist's license'. Seriously, I am not going to be painstakingly painting in wrinkles and liver-spots - like, who has the time... Emoji

Who will be painted? To begin with, it will be first come, first served. If a lot of people respond, it will be a kind of lottery. I am aiming to complete 15 - could be more (or less). Again, my personal email to send stuff to is: and sooner is better. Maybe you, or someone you nominate, will be one of the people whose portrait is in the exhibition in August!

What happens to the portraits after the exhibition? The portraits will be for sale for a nominal amount with the subjects getting first refusal. I am thinking in the region of 100 - 150 Euro.  This is not a profit-making exercise and any funds made from sales will help allay costs - that's it.

However, whether or not people eventually buy their portrait is irrelevant to the project and is not at all a factor in qualifying to participate.

To see examples of my work, especially my portraits, please visit Gallery 1 on my Website

For Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about the project, click HERE

The Small Print
The images may be used for promotional and publicity purposes, and they will be published on my 
website, social media (Facebook, Twitter, and Pinterest, etc), and possibly in a book. By agreeing to 
participate in the Project, it is taken as read that people agree to such usages of the images produced. 

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Exhibition at the Uptown Gallery, Kingston, New York.


Exhibition at the Uptown Gallery from August 21 - Sept 30, 2014 L & R: Trey Kay

Installation shot

I've been so busy lately that I haven't had a chance to update the blog, including even  to blog about the exhibition I had in Kingston that just closed, so posting some installation shots here + images from the opening and also a discussion on the Place of Portraiture in the age of the Selfie with introduction by Carey Harrison - photos were taken by the galllery curator Gloria Waslyn (GW), Charlotte Mandell (CM), and Carey Harrison (CH) or me, Claire.

Also included below are some press pieces from the Kingston Times and the Woodstock Times.

Above is an extract from a review by Paul Smart - see also
at the bottom of this post for more press.
Left is the Exhibition Flyer
Kerry Henderson - Gallery co-owner - welcoming guests (GW)
Penny Webber & poet Robert Kelly (CM)
Claire and fellow-artist Douglas McGuire
whose landscapes were also being shown
in the Gallery

Claire at the Opening (CM)
Above, my daughter Chiara at the opening (CM)
Above - people arriving at the gallery (GW).
Marshall Boris, John & Ann Porter
Carey opening the exhibition (GW)
Installation shots

Lief and Lief - cell phone photo by Carey Harrison

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Finished Zoe - Yay!

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Here is a piece in Roll by Jon Parrish that mentions my piece at the Road Kill show in Athens, NY - yes I know I write for Roll too - spoil sport - but I don't know JP from Adam. Aside from "moi" the article is good on the exhibition in general:
                       So, I finished my painting of Zoe - Yay!
Scroll down to the previous post to see the work in progress. I am very happy with it as it is one of the few pieces I have that was begun from life and finished from a photo. My worry is that most portraits that I've seen that are done from photos suck - sorry! They are lifeless and even more so when the subject is smiling or laughing. In this case, my concern was to keep the sense of immediacy that I caught in that first sitting - approx 2.5 hours - through the process to completion and, I think anyway, that I've been successful. This is very good from the practical POV that people are often not available to sit for up to 14 hours - yes, crazy huh!

Zoe, oil on canvas, August 2014
So now am in a new quandary - I have this painting of Lief Grund that my husband, Carey Harrison, insists is finished - the head is finished - and I ought to just leave it as is (Carey has, at times, been known to run away with my paintings and hide them). But I am not convinced:
    Lief - Oil on canvas - July/August 2014
                                                            Lief - Oil on canvas - detail

Friday, June 27, 2014

Zoe in progress

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This is my latest writing effort for Roll - an article highlighting art shows in the Hudson Valley:

So I've finally gotten back to Zoe's portrait - started it in April 2014 when my daughter Zoe was visiting from London, and am finishing it from photos. I am making headway on it - following is the progress so far. (BTW, I just discovered that if you click on an image you get an enlargement, but then you can further enlarge any section of the picture by moving the curser to what ever area interests you, and click again - this is pretty cool feature for looking at paintings.)