Can you tell us a little about your artwork, artistic process, and what types of artistic materials you use?
I mainly work figuratively with women and animals and I suppose my work can be considered symbolic realism with some surrealistic tendencies. I have been working almost exclusively with oils for the past 20 years now. I use Gamblin professional artist grade oil colors and Galkyd #1 sometimes mixed with cold wax to reduce shine along with Gamsol odorless mineral spirits. Gamblin offers a wide range of 'less' toxic alternatives, so I try to stick with them. I like to go straight to the wood panel or canvas with an idea after I do many hours of thinking about the subject or concept I want to paint and work out details in my head, sometimes they come in dreams.
I then draw my final idea with graphite directly onto the wood or canvas and then seal it with clear acrylic medium before I add all over color washes of reds or blues, sometimes umber. Lately I have been enjoying painting on birch wood and letting some of the wood show in the final work, I love the look of the wood showing through in places and sheer washes of color beside more solid flesh and hair and storm clouds.
What inspires you as an artist? Why do you create art?
I was inspired from an early age by my Mother. She was always drawing and painting something and taught me a lot about seeing. My extended family is very creative and talented both visually and musically and I was surrounded by that feeling. Music has always inspired me, and it was almost constantly playing in my house growing up and that continues in my own family. I think I create because I have to, there is no choice for me and I feel the need to say something with the skills I have.
What types of themes, ideas, or concepts do you explore within in your artwork?
The idea that ancient pagan cultural roots are at odds with more modern religion and culture and how it has shaped us in the western world is fascinating to me. I explore how and why our western culture has evolved the way it has and why we keep making the same mistakes over and over. The women I paint are strong and connected to the earth. They are also sure of their sexuality with no apologies and a take no prisoners attitude.
"The Morrighan" 2011
Are there any artists that inspire you? If so who would they be and why?
Yes! Since I am fascinated by culture, I was always into art history. I love the masters of the Renaissance of course, and any time I can find a woman painter I am thrilled. Artemesia Gentileschi was a wonderful and dynamic painter from that time. I am influenced by the surrealist women Dorothea Tanning, her style and her technique are unparalleled and Frida Kahlo really made painting personal. Every day I find new artists to love and admire for different reasons, not only talent and technique but work ethic, their message and if they aren't too full of themselves that is endearing to me. There are a few current artists that I think fit that bill… Michael Shapcott, Dean McDowell, Pamela Wilson and David Stoupakis are some that I admire for their talent and their message.
"Stay with me" 2011
What do you think the role of the artist is?
The role of the artist has always been to create a commentary on the current culture and chronicle what is happening in society at that moment. I am a very political person and quite outspoken and I try to use that in my work. Some people paint flowers or abstract squiggles, I paint hot women with a pro feminine message.... It may not always seem that way on the surface but if you look deeper we are reflecting humanity.
What do you want viewers to walk away with when they view your artwork?
I do not want them to walk away at all, but when they do, I would like them to think about their role in society and how to be kinder to each other.
And finally, what advice would you give to other artists?
I think one of the most important things besides 'Practice makes Progress', is Promotion. Use the tools we have now in modern day society. Facebook, Tumblr, your own blog or websites are all invaluable marketing tools. I spend time every day, updating my sites and sending out submissions to galleries, magazines and blogs. Oh, and you have to grow a thick hide... This business is tough and rejection is a regular part of it, take it with grace and learn from it. Finally, Make art not war!
For more information about McClave and her artwork you can visit her website, Tumblr profile , Facebook profile and Etsy shop for more details. You can also follow her on Twitter as well.
All images provided by Laurie McClave.