Michelle Hero Clarke
I am a painter who finds inspiration in nature. Fortunately I live in a place where nature is abundant and easily accessible. When I moved to Maine in 1991, it was after living in Boston and New York City. Everyday I still respond to the beauty of this state, as if seeing it for the first time. I frequently find myself awestruck by some scene, whether it is witnessing the changing moods of the sky or the way light illuminates and casts unexpected colors in water, trees or snow.
It is experiences like these that inspire me to paint.
My preferred method of working is to paint from life and on site rather than from photographs. The biggest challenge for anyone doing this kind of painting lies in the artists ability to adapt to rapidly changing conditions. When working outside, light, color, and subject are always in a state of flux. Water is never still. Clouds move. Light changes from one moment to the next. Responding to these changes gives a sense of urgency and immediacy to the act of painting which I find very satisfying. I like to emphasize elements within the subject matter that strike me, such as the interplay of colors, the movement of water or the contrasts between areas of light and shadow.
My media and art materials consist of alkyd and oil paints on handmade wood panels which I sometimes layer with primed canvas but more often just seal with an acrylic wood varnish. For larger work, I often use stretched canvases as they are lighter weight and easier to carry in the field.