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Digital Subscriptions > The Artist > Dec-17 > Intuitive responses

Intuitive responses

Susie Hodge talks to Claire Harkess, winner of the David Shepherd Wildlife Foundation’s 2017 Wildlife Artist of the Year and The Artist Award, about her passions for watercolour and wildlife


Grey Wolf, watercolour on Fabriano Not, 640g, 201⁄2x281⁄4in (52x72cm). ‘I wanted a moment of calm to create a setting. The interlocking heads give balance and harmony to the composition and the range of siennas add warmth, while the cauliflower tide marks appeared as happy accidents – so I left them in!’

Claire Harkess is rapidly gaining a name for herself for her unique and atmospheric paintings. She has travelled extensively in order to observe and paint wildlife and the natural world in her fluid, intuitive watercolours, including to Antarctica, Greenland, and the Gálapagos Islands. ‘It is addictive and unpredictable and my fascination only deepens’, she says. ‘The thrill of an encounter more than makes up for the sometimes long and uncomfortable waits. There is no worry of running out of source material or subject matter – there is always more to discover. The need to document the natural world visually is nothing new; I document and record but hope to offer a different interpretation.’

Luminosity and immediacy

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About The Artist

Welcome to our December issue, packed with inspirational workshop-style features from our team of top professional artists and tutors. This month David Curtis demonstrates an oil painting of a corner of his garden, Graham Webber shows how to paint boats in the landscape, Judi Whitton shares her 'creepy crawly' drawing methods to help you produce unique sketches without a viewfinder and Penny German reveals her tips for setting up and lighting a still-life subject. Watercolourists will love learning how Claire Harkess paints her prizewinning wildlife paintings, and how to paint a successful botanical subject using just three primary colours following Jarnie Godwin's advice. Writer, broadcaster and painter Andrew Marr discusses his thoughts about abstraction with reference to the development of one of his own compositions, as well as much more to keep you inspired, informed and, of course, drawing and painting!