After completing a foundation course in Cheltenham, Claire Sandars graduated in Fine Art from Reading University. She worked briefly in the film industry and as an art consultant before moving to South Africa in 2002 for several years to pursue a career as a full-time artist and get closer to one of her major sources of inspiration: wildlife.
All the animals Claire paints she has seen in the flesh and studied at close quarters. She tends to paint big, short-haired beasts as she is inspired by the smoothness and sheen of their coat and by their muscle structure. She works either from photographs she has taken or from sketches she has made in the wild.
This year’s lockdown gave Claire, as it did many people, time to focus on the smaller things and to appreciate her garden. Her attention was drawn to the fragile beauty of the only living beings allowed near her family’s house – birds. “Hours and hours of time outside in the sun was broken up by birds coming to rest nearby and felt like a tiny respite from isolation.”
Claire combines traditional oil painting and glazing techniques with an unorthodox use of colour to give her work a dynamic and contemporary feel. An interest in film and photography is integral to her work, demonstrated by her panoramic and close-up shots of animals and birds in movement.
Now living and working in North Wiltshire, Claire is also recognised for her portraits and is frequently commissioned. Her paintings are selected for gallery exhibitions around the country, including most recently for group shows at Quiddity Fine Art and Forton Fine Art.