Artist Profile: Claire Kendrick
Artist Profile: Claire Kendrick
Looking outwards onto the blustery Atlantic Ocean amid a storm from both America’s easterly outcrop and Europe’s westerly outcrop brings a sense of home for artist, Claire Kendrick. “Cape Cod is America’s most easterly outcrop and whenever I go back to my homeland in the Northwest of Ireland, Europe’s recognized northerly outcrop, I’m right on the other side of the Atlantic. They’re really not that far.”
“I was always a painter,” Claire J. Kendrick explains that she grew up surrounded by creative influences; her family consisted of architects and designers, and she often found herself drawn to spatial awareness. Her artistic skill set was instilled in her since childhood, as Kendrick reminisces, “My parents were very creative, and they would send us out into the Irish countryside landscape to observe and paint, even if it was raining, we would sit in the car and paint.”
Kendrick formed a connection to Cape Cod through renowned Cape artist, Anne Packard. Twelve years ago, Packard first saw Kendrick’s work in a gallery in St. Augustine, Florida. She recalls, “She saw my work in a gallery, and said to the owners, ‘This girl can paint,’ and then the owners of the gallery asked her, ‘Would you give Claire a critique?’ Anne replied, ‘Oh well I don’t really do that, but I could give her 15 minutes tomorrow. Tell her to be here at 10 in the morning.’” Kendrick got to the studio early the next morning, and got along so well with Packard that, “we found ourselves still chatting an hour and a half later, Anne played the role of a mentor to me. She was hugely influential and helpful to me early on in my career.”
The two artists forged a distinctive bond as Kendrick reflects, “She invited me to stay with her personally. So, I stayed with Anne for 10 days and worked alongside her daughter Cynthia.” Kendrick’s first visit to Cape Cod was in 2011, while staying with Anne and Cynthia Packard. She ended up returning in 2016, when she was awarded residency at the “C-Scape” Dune Shack, located in the Cape Cod National Seashore, by Provincetown Community Compact, Inc.
A coveted Cape Cod residency, one of the Dune Shacks, Kendrick was accepted the first time she applied—she was ecstatic! A hideaway amidst the dunes of Provincetown, Kendrick drew inspiration from the beauty of the Cape coastline and the natural landscape that surrounded her. “It’s very remote and you really get to center yourself and live out in the dunes to find inspiration,” which complements the four types she primarily works across; seascapes, landscapes, still life, and figure work. Her still life paintings of all things coastal hydrangeas and florals can be found in Tree’s Place Gallery.
Kendrick explains her artistic niche, “I’m mostly known for really large-scale seascapes or marshscapes because it’s kind of that drama and wow factor when you walk into a room, art is like the icing on the cake, pulling everything together.” Both the sea and sky are incredibly inspiring for Kendrick, “With seascapes I always keep a sketchbook in the car and I’m always getting ideas from the sky, even on the ride to school.” Her large-scale pieces accolade any room and Kendrick believes, “The piece of art is really reflective of the person owning the home.”
Despite her fondness for her source of inspiration, Kendrick doesn’t conform herself to the parameters of any certain sketch. “I do a lot of studio interpretations of those sketches. I allow the painting as abstract expressionists would, to take its own journey and if it stretches somewhere else, away from the scene, I allow that to happen.” By permitting this form of abstract art to take place, Kendrick finds herself not tightly committed to the original sketch, landing her with stunning large-scale oil paintings.
Although Kendrick’s artwork is displayed in galleries spread across Florida, she will be returning to Cape Cod this summer to live out her dream of spending summers painting the blustering waters of the Cape. On Saturday July 8th, she will be hosting an art demo at Tree’s Place Gallery in Orleans from 2pm until 4pm where she will showcase her technique of how she builds a basic painting and the tonal values and how to apply color and texture.
Some words of advice for aspiring artists according to Kendrick, “My advice is to paint feverishly. Set up many canvases. If you’re tackling a scene, attack them with gusto and then finesse them because working across three or four paintings at a time allows you to be free and not get too tight. Because if you do, a lot of artists just get too caught up in the details.”