Studio Visit with Fiona Barrett-Clark
Fiona Barrett-Clark is a Sydney based contemporary landscape painter. Her current series focusses on the land and skyscapes of the Central West, and the ever-familiar clouds we find gracing our skies. Each scene Fiona has captured transports you right to that place, I for one feel a strong nostalgia for the late Autumn sunsets driving from Orange to Bathurst.
Fiona works from home in her newly renovated garage, with polished floor boards and large bright windows, it's the perfect painters studio. Her works come in many different sizes to suit all spaces and tastes. There is something serene and comforting about her landscapes, the sky fills most of the composition creating a sense of endless space and fresh air.
I caught up with fiona at her home studio in sydney for a brief chat about her latest work.
Tell us a little about your background, how long have you been painting?
Art has been my thing since I was a kid. Having parents who really appreciated and brought art, it allowed me to view it as a valid career option. After leaving school in 1995, I studied Fine Arts at Meadowbank TAFE and had my first solo show in 1999. I put the painting on hold and went off and did the London thing and when I came back found a “sensible job” with a regular income. I began painting again in 2008, but then started having kids in 2010, so it was a slow process over the next few years. In 2014, I got my own studio and it’s been getting bigger and bigger since then.
Your work is very distinctive, how would you describe your aesthetic?
I would describe my works as graphic, pared back landscape painting. I like them to have eeriness about them. If they border on looking pretty, they need to be imbued with a feeling of being alone in this ancient, yet changed land. There is also a strong theme of travelling that runs strongly through my works. It not just a representational view of the landscape, it’s about memory, fleeting moments, and sometimes a conglomeration of memories.
The use of plywood as my canvas is a large element to my paintings. It’s important for me to allow the texture of the wood grain to leave its mark on the work.
What do you enjoy most about your work?
It’s hard to choose just one thing. I love travelling and finding those beautiful little moments, when the light and the colours are just prefect. I love rediscovering those moments when you scroll through the images on the camera. I love those paintings that come together right away and I love it when a work I have been struggling with is some else’s favorite. And I love it when a complete stranger gets what I was seeing.
When did you realise landscapes and skyscapes were your muse?
In my last year of TAFE I started painting clouds and sky and I basically haven’t looked back. It has taught me to appreciate the world that passes by every day and takes me back to those long drives we went on when I was a child.
What are your plans for the future?
Painting, painting, painting, more shows, entering more prizes. As I get older I feel an extra confidence, which I lacked when I was younger. Now I feel like I must do it, it’s like a calling.