Claire Cansick, abstract stylized female nudes


Claire’s figure work depicts lone female figures, bent and stretched through the defines of perspective, flattened and elongated in a moment of stillness or captured in movement. Their faces are largely hidden and so the narrative remains ambiguous and their intent is difficult to read. However they are intriguing to unpick; every one has an interpretation waiting for the viewer to decide upon. They use abstracted shapes, colouring and particularly the development of line to represent the figures; lines are repeated over and over, contouring beyond the bounds of the forms, evolving in the process and are a reverberating theme throughout this series of work. Using wet on wet painting Claire experiments with the line and it becomes blurred, dragging the definition in and out, defining and softening all at the same time. The line is drawn quickly and then obliterated and the rest of the time is a battle to get it back; the struggle of retaining a drawn line within each painting is the objective.

Claire says,

“Through the exploration of the perspective of the figure I am trying to push my limits of knowledge, of understanding and never really feel I find the solution, which is why I return to draw it over and over again, sometimes within the same piece of work. The lines come and go and I like to play with the flow and tension and experiment with techniques. I am impatient for them to come together quickly and push myself to work a drawing into more than just a fast sketch”.

Claire uses coloured pencils, pastels, oil pastels, compressed charcoal and scratching tools to define the linear content on a variety of grounds. Wood is a favourite ground to work on but she also uses a variety of papers and makes her own gesso boards. This work is exhibited in various shows and galleries around the country and sells internationally.

Her influences come from diverse sources such as Egon Scheile, Alberto Giacometti, Victor Passmore, Gary Hume, Jean Dubuffet, Cy Twombly and Andrew Pope, Katherine Bradford and Luke Hannam.


Claire Cansick’s figure drawings are an insight to how ideas are realised before more detailed paintings are undertaken. Claire feels great freedom in her creativity when drawing in her sketch book, letting her mind wander. The importance of drawing can not be underestimated as it is the default artistic medium for Claire and accompanies everything she creates. Drawing strongly influences the way Claire paints as her paintings remain linear, stylised, and flattened as in her drawing style.

She likes to use soft pencils, ink, chalk, charcoal, Wolffs carbon, and sometimes will cover a drawing in another medium such as oil paint or ink to knock the image back, leaving ghost lines. Her preferred choice of grounds includes wood panels, paper, gesso boards and card as she enjoys the feel of a hard ground which makes the creation of a line more challenging.

Achieving an interesting line is often the objective; accurate yet blurred, rubbed back, drawn over, including ghosts of previous content, and repetition. A common theme in Claire’s work is the repetition of line, often translated by viewers as concentric rings or finger prints, as they echo the line of the body over and over, morphing as they go. For the artist they are a simple love of figure drawing, a meditative experience, an obsession of the line. This obsession translates into her figure paintings where she sometimes scratches or draws lines into the paint surrounding the figures or directly paints the lines with her brush.
Claire Cansick
May 6, 2017

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