Claire Rose is a Cornish artist based in magical Falmouth. Her work focuses on linear documentations of Cornwall and Devon landscapes. She also dabbles in colourful digital illustration when the Cornish elements encourage her indoors.
Claire, can you tell our readers a little bit about yourself and your art please?
I grew up in a magical historic valley in Kent called Loose Village, in an idyllic stream-side medieval house that I had to cross bridges to access, and which my parents still own. When I left for Falmouth University to study Graphic Design (and then three years later Illustration: Authorial Practice) I was worried that I would never live somewhere as beautiful again. When I arrived in Cornwall I was blown away by the ruggedly romantic landscapes, rich Cornish culture and beautifully diverse wildlife. These three subjects have continued to inspire my work ever since, and have been the main focus behind my practice. If I were to describe my artistic style in three words I’d choose: delicate, organic and romantic.
When did you first know you wanted to be an artist?
My dad was an artist before I was born and always gave me and my sister sketchbooks to work in whenever we went on holiday. We used to park up (or moor up) somewhere scenic during our trips to Italy, Spain, France and Greece and sit and draw the view together. Whenever I flicked back through my sketchbooks after returning home, my drawings immediately brought me back to the moments we were sitting together in the sun, absorbing the view. From this point I knew I always wanted to keep drawing, to provide myself and others with a window to a different time and place.
What are your medium/materials of choice and why?
My favourite way to create my work is en plein air, in one of my many sketchbooks, while i’m wandering the coastal path or exploring Cornwall villages. I primarily work with pencil, ink and fine liner so that I’m able to include miniscule plant details and textures. My favourite way to present my work is through letterpress printing. I love the tradition behind this printing method and the added texture that it brings to the paper.
Can you describe what your studio space looks like?
At the moment my studio space sits inside my flat in Falmouth. Although small, it has beautiful huge sash windows which look out to Falmouth’s sparkling harbour. I love watching the big yachts and ships come in and out of the docks, and the people pass as they head into town. My studio is populated with plants, pinch pots from my workshops with Hannah Lawrence, organic treasures that I’ve found on my Cornwall adventures, and my beautiful hand crafted drawing desk that my partner built for me during the first lockdown of 2020. I have plans to move into a new studio by September 2021, but for now I’m very much in love with my jungly home atelier.
How has lockdown affected your work?
Like most artists that I’ve talked to, lockdown has granted me more free time to focus and work on my practice. In the middle of 2020 I got in contact with John Howard who was able to prepare etching plates, which I then illustrated on and he printed in his print room. Although restrictions meant I couldn’t practice printing, I was able to see how my illustrations compliment etching. I also found time to experiment with digital painting which has resulted in me finding a new style for my landscapes.
Where do you typically find inspiration for your work?
Inspiration is easy for me to find in Cornwall, whether in the form of my sunrise runs around Falmouth, exploring local villages at the weekends, at cultural events and celebrations, in Cornish gardens or just by talking to the chatty locals. Embracing the outdoorsy Cornish lifestyle always provides me with endless inspiration.
Is there a running theme to the work you create?
Yes definitely, my practice focuses on Cornwall’s magical landscapes, wonderful wildlife and rich culture, while including as many little details and natural embellishments as possible.
What kinds of ideas and things are you working on at the moment?
Currently I’m working on something super exciting with my partner that we’ll be properly launching in May. We’re starting a Cornwall Wedding Studio that offers destination wedding photography and bespoke fine-art wedding stationery inspired by and based in Cornwall. For the stationery we’ll be specialising in letterpress printing, handmade botanical paper and linear illustrations. The photography will be led by my partner who has over 10 years experience in the wedding industry. We have already secured a studio space on the Old High Street in Falmouth which we’ll be occupying from September. You’re the first to hear about this officially and we can’t wait to let others know more soon!
Who are some of your favourite fellow artists?
Oh, so many; i’m constantly in awe of the amount of amazing artists that are based in Cornwall and feel very lucky to be a part of such a creative community. Some of my favourite local artists include Andy Pearce, Imogen Bone, Martha Holmes, Emma Carlisle and Andrew Tozer.
What advice would you give to budding artists?
Keep practicing, stay awake to your surroundings, the small details and what inspires you, don’t be afraid of failure, network with local creatives and businesses, and always be curious.
If we were visiting Falmouth for a day, what would you recommend we do?
Let’s fast forward to June 22, the weather is gorgeous and all of Falmouth’s wonderful eateries and shops are open for business.. I’d recommend waking up in time for sunrise, and walking the coast path towards Pendennis Point which leads down to Gyllyngvase Beach. After watching the sunrise I would head through town and have breakfast at Good Vibes (who do the best breakfast bagels and cinnamon buns). I would then take a short stroll to Espressini for a yummy takeaway oat milk coffee and head back to Gylly Beach for a serene paddleboarding session with WeSUP. For lunch I would head to The Old Highstreet and pop into Stones Bakery for one of their gorgeous savoury tarts or pastries. While in town I would spend the afternoon exploring Falmouth’s many gorgeous independent businesses and galleries, some of my favourites are: Botanical Atelier, Willow & Stone, Parade, Cor Gallery, Jam Records and Ondine Ash. For dinner I would head to Mine Restaurant for an intimate meal inspired by and made with local produce. And I’d end the evening with some terrace cocktails at IndiDog!