Claire Alexander is a London-based portrait artist and illustrator who has many years experience working in the design industry. In 2003, eight years after obtaining her Fine Art honours degree from the Kent Institute of Art and Design, she started exhibiting her portraits successfully. Claire has been a member of the Association of Illustrators and AXIS for the last two years and is also a children's book author and illustrator. Her first book will be published later this year.
Claire's painting style is colourful, fresh, vibrant and happy, showing her fascination for observing people. Her contemporary approach to pose, dynamic composition and colour produces paintings that are modern and uniquely individual. She believes that a good portrait painting, "expresses the artists attitude towards their subject, an important element in creating a work of fine art as opposed to simply taking a photograph".
When painting portraits, Claire tries to convey a person's character and often their sense of humour. She paints using mainly oils on canvas, and portraits can be commissioned as a surprise gift, as Claire works frequently from good quality existing photographs. However, she prefers to take her own photographs of each subject for visual references.
Working from photographs enables Claire to produce a more playful portrait that captures a split-second pose or quirky expression, as a smile or an adventurous pose cannot be held over a period of time. She will work from live sittings where feasible if a different result is required, concentrating on the relationship between the artist and the subject.
Claire considers it important to build a relationship with both the commissioner and the subject. She follows a simple commissioning procedure that ensures she quickly identifies the expectations, wishes and concerns of her clients and encourages open and honest communication between both parties at every stage. Initially Claire requires a short meeting of 1-2 hours in which to gather information about the subject, take photographs and make sketches where possible. She will then produce a preparatory drawing of the final composition to be approved by the commissioner before embarking on the finished piece.
Even though she enjoys painting both men and women, many of the commissions Claire has had recently have been very positive representations of women laughing and having fun. She finds it refreshing to hear women tell her they would like a portrait they can keep forever to remind them of a happy and contented time in their lives. She has also been told by her clients that they find the commissioning process to be a very special and exciting experience.
To view more of Claire's work please click here