CLAIRE EASTGATE  PROJECTS, COLLECTIONS & NOTABLE SITTERS: CLICK HERE For information about the BP Award at the National Portrait Gallery and to see my portrait of the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, please click here

                          CLAIRE EASTGATE

 PROJECTS, COLLECTIONS & NOTABLE SITTERS: CLICK HERE

For information about the BP Award at the National Portrait Gallery and to see my portrait of the Poet Laureate Carol Ann Duffy, please click here

I was born in a small town in  Nottinghamshire  in  the late sixties. Moving to rural Shropshire, my childhood was spent in meadows and alongside rivers, a deep connection with nature and the place where I began making my first drawings. 

Studying art foundation at Shrewsbury College and a BA in Fine Art at Birmingham School of Art, my path to becoming a painter was by no means a linear one. Spending my early adult life in London, I soon found my fellow artists and models in the then empty buildings in Spitalfields. It was here I discovered my love of the human form. The life drawing sessions were many and the real lessons began when I met Eric Morby, a wonderful teacher of Cornish origins and the only man I’ve ever met who could tuck his beard into his belt.

Portraiture was the natural progression for me. A challenging discipline and one that perhaps evokes thoughts of tradition and history rather than one of contemporary art. The portrait, however, is as popular as ever, using all manner of media, I believe it demands its existence more than ever before. 

For a portrait to be successful it requires several elements that must balance in harmony, a sometimes elusive proposition. More often  than not the  sitter will desire the outcome to have a  strong physical resemblance. As the artist I am looking for much more and it is only through the communication between sitter and  artist  that this can be found. It  is  the story that generates the painting, not just capturing the characteristics but what is being invoked and communicated  emotionally.  As the painter my  interest lies  in the portrait also being successful as a piece of art. How  others  will respond  to  the  painting  is very  different to  how the sitter responds. Balancing these elements challenges me in every painting I do. 

Alongside commissions I work on my own projects. After working almost exclusively as a commission artist for the last 10 years, this personal work is now demanding more time. People  remain a  centre point in my work, however, there is a narrative, added dimensions that generally a portrait does not have or require. 

What interests me most is the telling and retelling of a story. Themes that are interconnected over time but changed in perspective. A timelessness that is both seductive and questioning. Inspiration and ideas are sourced from many areas including fables and mythology, early renaissance - it’s excitement and free flow of reinterpreting humanism, and finally, the endless picture book of poetry. All these and what life gives me, keeps the doors of my creativity open.

For more information or if you'd like to write to me, please click here.