Dandelion and fly

I am inspired by the landscape around me and much of my work is based upon the plants in my garden that I have grown from seed. I have never grown out of the wonder of plants appearing in bare earth. I encourage insects by tending a wild area of garden which grows many indigenous plants that have self-seeded from the local landscape.

My work consists of large brightly coloured oil paintings, highlighting the miniscule on a large scale. I am passionate about colour and emphasise those that I see, which are created by the changing light during the day. I want vivid colours to glow from the canvas, because I want to show that the tiny wildflower or bright beetle in a grass verge is like a jewel amongst the undergrowth. I explore the miniature, miniscule and microscopic, of both the floral and insect world, and I will often attempt to crawl under the smallest wildflower and photograph from below as if I am an insect looking up. I am fascinated with camouflage, and I often hide insects within my work by using tone to conceal these little creatures. Just as you need to search to find mini beasts in a field, I want the audience to pause to find all the hidden dimensions in my work. This is because the bright colours are merely the surface; I want to combine both impact and detail.

I include a lot of texture in my work; I like the underlying surface to disrupt the outward appearance of the painting. It is a metaphor for the real landscape; we see calming rolling hills or ordered equally spaced trees. There is so much that we do not see, for example, the fragile intertwined relationships between all creatures in the ecosystem.

My fascination for patterns is shown in my intricate ink drawings and watercolours, where I often depict the many spirals found within the centre of daisy-like flowers. Having studied plants under a microscope for many years, I attempt to show that they are not all that we perceive; instead I draw the intricate detail from both the microscope and the naked eye. I want to show that nature however small is magnificent, and important. Nature is not just a vista, or a landscape, it is the interdependent relationships between all creatures, flora and fauna. Nature is a perfectly ordered mechanism that we dismiss as an overgrown landscape full of creepy crawlies, where in fact it is a complex, beautiful ecosystem of each organism reliant upon another.

© Claire Harrison, May 2017