THIRD SOLO EXHIBITION AT THE OSBORNE STUDIO GALLERY
FROM JUNE 22ND TO JULY 9TH
A TRAVELLER’S TALE
Clementine spent the past two years setting up her outdoor studio in some of the most cherished destinations in the world.
When she finds an inspiring scene there is a vigorous freshness in every brushstroke.
‘I have, over the years, learnt to compact my kit to capture any hill or manic street scene. My rucksack has many an added strap. Through trial and error, I acquired the lightest and strongest tripod. I choose a box from my collection to secure a wet painting for the journey home, leaving hands free to clamber over rocks or navigate the Underground.’
There is nothing I love more than pushing through the undergrowth, walking for miles to find a view, a landscape or scene, then working at speed before the light goes.’
Clementine’s original plan was to follow the great Silk Route where merchants journeyed from China through India, Persia Greece, and Italy from the 2nd century BC until the 15th century. She covered parts of this legendary trade road, but thanks to Covid, Pakistan, and India were out of bounds.
She was enthralled by the Nile, the cities of Florence and Venice, and in the British Isles, a return to places of outstanding natural beauty such as Daymer Bay in Cornwall and Durdle Door in Dorset.
Much loved views appear new to her each time she puts up her easel, a ‘different theatre performance’. ‘There is joy in the fact that I can work out the composition before I arrive.’
In February and March this year she travelled on S.S Sudan, a Belle Epoque steamer, where Agatha Christie wrote ‘Death on the Nile’ One of the sumptuous suites is named after her. Clementine painted from the boat, the shoreline, and then amongst the pyramids and tombs.
‘I usually work in oils on board. In homage to Egypt, I added papyrus scrolls and gold leaf to my materials’
Exactly one hundred years ago Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamun where he saw ‘wonderful things.’
She has been a traveller since her first visit to Kenya with her parents as a child, a gap year in Botswana and South Africa, and a long sojourn in Uganda and Kenya.
‘The African bug stuck, I worked in the Maasai Mara for a riding safari, filmed wildlife documentaries for the BBC.’
She often paints favourite scenes in Cornwall and the Lake District, but unique each time, for changing effects of light, tide levels, and clouds in motion.
These new paintings express her pleasure in horses and camels, beaches and deserts, fiery sunsets, tiny sailing boats, and stately gondolas.
In 2020 she came to know Florence while studying Old Master techniques at the Florence Academy of Art, founded in 1991 by Daniel Graves, an American artist determined to teach his students the traditions of Velasquez, Titian, Rembrandt, and Sargent. In 2021 she marvelled at the deserted streets of Venice during the lockdown.
To end her journey, she spent Easter at Giffords Circus, a place of childhood enchantment. This magical village circus (founded by Nell Gifford in 2000) with its company of equestrians, clowns, and acrobats, travels in England for six months every summer. They pitch their tents in the gardens of historic houses in market towns of the South West.
Clementine St John Webster
The youngest of four, she was born in 1989 and grew up in the deep countryside of Wiltshire and Somerset. It was a world of horses, ‘hunting and racing around with ‘picnics on horseback. Her paintings of Arab horses express the joy of seeing them in a new environment.
After a formal education at Cheltenham and St Hilda’s College Oxford University, concentrating on art, maths, and sciences she studied classical painting and drawing at the London Fine Art Atelier from 2014 to 2016, becoming a full-time professional in 2016 Every painting was sold at her first solo show, at the Osborne Studio Gallery, in 2018
Her own words express a personal vision: ‘I adore the outside world, and the relationships within it, between man and animal, plant and soil, sky and earth. My paintings reflect my love of nature, and attempt to document the environment.’