For this Scottish artist, magic comes in small packages
It’s not often that I see something genuinely beautiful on Twitter.
When I first saw F.E. Clark’s work sparkle brilliantly amid the slush in my feed, I knew I had found something special.
As a writer and artist, F.E. takes inspiration from the world around her. It shows in every piece she creates—some of them as tiny as 3″ x 3″.
“I live in the North East of Scotland, where I was brought up on a farm,” she says. “Here, I paint and write and take inspiration from the world around me, both my outside environment. I am very lucky to live somewhere so magical.”
One look, and I think you’ll agree: magical is the perfect word to describe her work, which takes the form of acrylic paintings or words, or both.
Making magic has always been a part of Clark’s life. “I have always ‘made things’ or wished to make things,” she explains. “The saddest times of my life have been when I could not.”
And for Clark, “making things” is not just a matter of using paint or words.
“I have collected insects from under stones, sewn the skeletons of holly leaves into spheres, documented barbed wire and glass rusting in fluid, carved owls and spirit spears from wood, written and journaled,” she says.
Clark’s current series of atmospheric paintings began in one of those times when she was most frustrated with “not making things.” Previously, she worked in sculpture. So she challenged herself to try a new medium, painting, by tackling just one three-inch square a day.
Here is what her first year’s stack of squares looked like:
Gradually, she found her groove again.
The small squares grew into larger pieces. Soon she started sharing them with the world through social media. (Which is where I first encountered her work.)
“If fell in love with texture and colour,” she says. “I paint half from my imagination and half from remembered places.”
Personally, I’d say it’s precisely this combination of memory and fantasy that makes her work so magical.
And I’m not the only one who thinks so.
Clark’s visual art has been featured on Tumblr Radar, and in magazines like iArtistas Issue 9, ArtAscent March 2014 (blue-themed edition) and Inspirational. Her writing has appears in Volumes 2 and 3 of Flashdogs and the anthology Light Lines. She also happily reports that her favorite musician has reblogged her work. (“Yes of course!” she smiles. “This makes me happy!”)
Looking ahead, she foresees the ever-present challenge of art-life balance remaining at the forefront of her concerns. “I believe that creativity ebbs and flows, surges,” she says. “To fit this [artistic expression] into a life . . . this truly is a magic trick: I am still learning.”
But learning hasn’t stopped her from making plans. Clark says she wants to increase the size of her paintings again and continue to find inspiration in the land and skies around her.
She also seeks more opportunities to bring words and images together.
For Clark, getting back to creativity was all about creating things that are “achievable in short, intense bursts of ‘making’.” She says that these smaller chunks enabled and emboldened her to take on the larger projects—which will fill her time going forward.
To her fellow artists, she offers this wise advice: “Do things when you have the energy and inspiration to do them. Keep going. It is a wave. Sometimes you will be high, sometimes low. Hang in there.”
To close, I’ll step away and let you hear F.E. Clark read some of her own words, set to rhythmic images of her paintings: