Artist Clare Maria Wood

I want to look at the work of Clare Wood, specifically her paintings of woodlands. Her use of paint and abstract subject will help me to explore how I can paint abstractly in my work yet still give the viewer a sense of the subject and atmosphere of the scene.


Her day begins with an early morning dog walk in the woods, where she can immerse herself in the landscape. Then she returns to the studio:

Back in the studio, Clare works intuitively, to begin with, usually on several pieces at the same time, which allows her to see what is working and expand on ideas.She builds layers of paint, drawn marks and collage and scrapes back into the surface to reveal flashes of previous marks and colours, allowing the history of each piece to take centre stage. As paintings develop she then takes a more critical approach, refining and resolving areas while striving to keep the energy of the initial marks.

From Wood’s website.

This idea of working intuitively is an important part of my working process as well. It’s interesting that she works in the studio to create her work. It makes sense, since the paintings suggest a general experience has been captured, instead of a single moment in time. I get the sense of a general experience through the application of paint; the colours and marks generally blend into one another, with broad sweeping statements.

If the paintings were to be inspired by a more specific, single moment, the paintings might have more distinct form to them.

Interestingly all the pieces I have included in this post have names that support the idea that she paints inspired by general experiences. Since the names of the pieces are ‘Winter Woods II’ and ‘Woodland Secrets’ etc. However there is one piece I’ve included here – the bottom, portrait in teals and oranges, which is called ‘Crowing Glory’. As she mentions on her Instagram this piece is inspired by some woodland flowers, a less general subject. And you can tell her subject is more specific because the piece is busier, with more defined shapes and more contrasting colours.

The contrast between general experience and single moments is something I have witnessed in my own work as well, with the colour pieces in my A3 sketchbook.

Perhaps there is a way of playing with this contrast in my work? By layering general experiences and single moments


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