Clare McIntyre is a classically-trained artist and designer who lives in Toronto. The daughter of a professional singer, Clare spent her life around creative energy and the arts. Her combined talents in painting and interior design give her work a unique style that is centred around sensory observations. She invites the viewer into a world where they may get the sense of a slight breeze, the warmth of dappled sunlight, or notice the tactility of a smooth, damp leaf. Clare adds her own touch to realism by incorporating brushstrokes that give her art a sense of movement. She is particularly drawn to florals because the subject gives her an opportunity to bring things to life by exaggerating objects and using colour to play with light, depth, and transparency. Clare loves working with solvent-free oil paint, watercolour and gouache, and has recently taken an interest in experimenting on nonstandard papers and other substrates. Clare believes in using natural materials as much as possible when she works, and feels there is a strong connection between materials and subject matter.
You will see the influence of 19th and 20th century British and French design in Clare’s work. Time spent living in London informed much of her style, inspiring her to take a bold approach to colours and patterns. Clare’s love of antique textiles is an extension of her fascination with the story of used, found objects and the opportunity to give them a second life. Clare began honing her craft as a youth, taking courses at the Art Gallery of Ontario and continued her education as a young adult, earning a BFA from Concordia University in Montreal, Quebec. When Clare went back to school at Sheridan College for a degree in interior design, she found that she could bring artistry to the spaces she designed through impactful focal points and features. Clare now uses this background to design fabric and wallpaper for residential interiors.
When she isn’t painting in her home studio, she can be found exploring different corners of Toronto, collecting wildflowers with her daughters for their next project, or hunting for vintage picture frames.
My art is an extension of my connection to nature and my physical surroundings. The two go hand-in-hand. My process rarely begins in my studio — I spend time exploring my neighbourhood, a meditative practice that grounds me. Watercolour and gouache paints provide me a range of transparency to complete opacity which works well with my floral subject matter. I love to experiment on different surfaces and papers. Most recently I've been using heavy, handmade papers in different colours and even paper-backed silk. I often have unpredictable results using water-based paints on these different substrates to which I adjust with a playful approach. I am drawn to floral work because it involves so much light, depth, and transparency. I am able to make my paintings come alive by adjusting perspective, using lively brushstrokes, and incorporating deep jewel tones. I love the juxtaposition of the temporary nature of cut flowers with the permanence of what I paint. While my work may be considered still-life, it is never inert. I aim to breathe life into each piece. In all of my work you will see the influence of period homes, antique furniture, and textiles. I celebrate classic style by placing time-worn objects in many of my paintings while also trying to keep viewers in the moment by appealing to their senses. I see myself as a person who could float through time, finding joy and inspiration in many eras. By blending nostalgia with elements that compel people to stay in the present, I hope to rouse feelings of hope.