Discussing J.M.W. Turner: A Chat over Char with Artist Claire Podesta

“To select, combine and concentrate that which is beautiful in nature and admirable in art is as much the business of the landscape painter in his line as in the other departments of art.”  ~ Joseph Mallord William Turner.

I recently had the good fortune to get to know artist and designer Claire Podesta, through my membership of the Athena Network. I plan to have one of my photos immortalised in watercolour by her soon…

The Two Claires - After Frida (mixed media)

The Two Claires – After Frida (mixed media)

We met up earlier this summer at Rumsey’s in Thame to drink tea and talk about her love of Turner and art.  As I love Turner and I admire anyone who can create a work of fine art, (my skills in that arena are confined to badly proportioned stick men), I was in awe of her skills…

She is an incredibly talented lady, and I wanted to share her love of Turner and art with you in this mostly visual blog post.

“I can’t remember a time when I didn’t want to be an artist.”

You could say that Claire started young. Drawing and painting has always been at the forefront of Claire’s life, she was fortunate to have been encouraged by her parents in exploring her passion. She took an art foundation course at Cambridge followed by a degree in Graphic Design and Illustration at Leicester Polytechnic, now De Monfort University.

Claire worked in graphic design on ‘High Life’ the British Airways in-flight magazine for about a year and then spent a few years with various design consultancies in London for clients such as Microsoft, BP, Hewlett Packard, Johnson & Johnson and other blue chip companies and organisations.

In 2002 Claire helped her husband, Matt, start up Podesta, a bespoke furniture business, and was responsible for the branding and marketing of the company, a role which she has recently taken on again part time.

Recently, Claire and Matt were inspired to start The English Tuck Box Company after their eldest daughter started at boarding school – they realised there was a gap in the market for fine quality tuck boxes. Claire also spent three and a half years in the challenging position of Marketing Director at Godstowe School in High Wycombe.

Throughout her career, Claire has always continued to paint, especially during the time when her three children were small, and it led her to the realisation that making art was what she really wanted to do with her life.

In 2014 the family moved to a small village near Thame in Oxfordshire and Claire took the plunge and set up in business for herself as an artist.  Her many years in graphic design have given her a creative edge in the type of art that she produces. Claire paints in her home studio.

When I asked her who her main influence in art had been, she smiled and replied immediately: “Turner.  He is timeless; he was ahead of his time. His art still looks modern.”

Claire confessed that seascapes are what really floats her boat! She loves to add her own unique flair and touches by making them abstract.

“I find inspiration in the landscape of the Chilterns, the drama of the sea, handmade objects, old family photographs and the vibrancy of the southern Mediterranean.”

I saw some of Claire’s work in the art shop/gallery ‘From’ in Thame. I particularly love her Turner-esque seascape that has been used in the header of this post.

To be able to draw and paint like Turner is an unbelievable gift!  With Claire’s permission I have included a gallery containing a selection of her work. If you would like to commission a Turner style landscape (acrylic on canvas), or if you have a favourite photograph of a beloved family pet or other memories you’d like to see on canvas Claire can accommodate you.

Claire specialises in paint, ink and mixed media pictures, as well as more ‘hands-on’ creations such as ceramics.

You can contact her via her website and on Facebook.

All images in this gallery are the copyright of Claire Podesta:

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