Kent Artist Profile: Lucy Clayton
Lucy Clayton is a nostalgic kind of artist. The smell of a summer’s day, the memory of time spent with family, the feelings she had growing up, fantastic meals had with loved ones – they all go towards making her the artist she is today.
How would you describe your art?
My work has a graphic quality and combines watercolour with printmaking techniques. The subjects I paint are all connected to personal memories or experiences. One of my favourite memories is linked to the painting of the crab. During our summer holidays my daughter and I often go rock pooling. One year we found a beautiful edible crab and she decided to name it Bernard. From that moment on we have always gone looking for Bernards. A friend told me that my work feels like it is a memory of a good day, represented as a single object. I have never analysed why I choose my subjects but I like the fact that they are linked to happiness.
What is your background?
I have a degree in textiles and became a lecturer in art and design. After the birth of our second child, my husband and I moved from Purley to Tunbridge Wells where we live with three cats. Over the last few years, I volunteered at a local primary school and ran an art club. I also attended an illustration course at the Adult Education Centre, taught by Jamie Ogilvie who introduced me to the blotted line technique that I currently use in my work.
What is the most difficult piece you’ve undertaken?
‘Seafood’ was quite a challenge to complete as it was so large, and I had to find a way to print it in sections. Each element begins as a tonal study that I then transfer onto tracing paper. With a dip pen and ink I go over the tracing paper in small sections and then print onto watercolour paper. It’s a gradual process that gives interesting and unexpected results that add a texture to my work.
What is your favourite piece?
‘Seafood’ is one of my favourite pieces as it combines my interest in sea life and food.
What is it about food that makes it particularly interesting to work with?
I associate memories of food with celebrations or spending times with friends or family. I love the colour, shape and textures of food. I find it fascinating how smell and taste affect the memory. Whilst painting sweets, the smell would transport me straight back to our local newsagents where I would spend my weekly pocket money.
What has been your proudest artistic achievement to date?
Earlier this year I had two pieces of my work accepted to exhibit at the Society of Graphic Fine Art Draw16 exhibition at the Menier Gallery. I was also selected to exhibit at the Kent Painters Group exhibition at Sevenoaks School.
Where can we see your work?
Dark Water Gallery, Brighton: www.thedarkwatergallery.com
My Etsy shop: www.etsy.com/uk/shop/LucyClaytonArt
Pantiles Market, Tunbridge Wells 19th November, 4th and 10th December
My website: www.lucyclaytonart.co.uk