14" x 22"
Lesley Clarke is an acrylic, encaustic, and collage artist. She has been painting for many years and has a studio at the Torpedo Factory in Alexandria. Many of her acrylic abstract landscapes are inspired by the Highlands of Scotland. She was born and raised near Glasgow and visits her family once a year traveling to the Highlands to capture the colours, light, mountains, rivers, rain, rugged terrain that show up in her work. She often embeds found objects (rusted metal, nails, paper) that help create a sense of history, age, and surprise to her work.
More recently she has been working on an encaustic series. The ‘paint’ is beeswax, mixed with damar resin and pigment. The natural damar resin gives the wax strength and durability. Beeswax encaustic painting dates back 2000 years ago to ancient Greeks.The Fayum tomb portraits from the Roman Egyptian period testify to the archival durability of this encaustic material. The word encaustic means ‘to burn in’. Each layer of wax needs to be fused to the layer beneath. Lesley fuses each layer using a propane torch.
Her latest work was inspired by watching the documentary “My Octopus Teacher’ where the filmmaker Craig Foster spent a year snorkeling in a kelp forest in False Bay, near Cape Town, South Africa. He documented his time swimming among the kelp, marine organisms, sea urchins etc., and forged a friendship with a young octopus. The slow movement of the underwater flowers, leaves, and fish really intrigued Lesley and she tries to capture that same movement in her artwork. Sometimes the colors are so bright and vivid you think they are unnatural, but the natural world, particularly the underwater world, is full of surprisingly bright, even garish, colors. These colors and the flow of the water are what makes the exciting but also peaceful environment the ocean is known for. Lesley hopes that her work evokes the same feeling of peace and unexpected surprises.
In summary, most of Lesley’s work is inspired by nature in one or more of her forms.