The Heroine’s Journey of Claudia Araceli

What is the best thing that I love about my work?

I have a passion for painting en pleinair (insitu), so the best of my work is painting outside working from direct observation and experiencing the sounds, smells, atmosphere and often hilarious episodes with the wildlife and people. Watercolour is challenging and is exactly why I am attracted to it, it is working the fine line between letting the water have its own way and having a level of control over it.

What is my idea of perfect happiness?

I guess it would be painting together en pleinair with a good artist friend and taking a picnic.  

What is my greatest fear?

Following two unrelated cancers I developed degenerative disk and bone disease of the spine and a growth in my spinal cord called a Syrinx. My very real fear is possible paralysis and not having control over my own life and when I want it to end should I ever reach that point

What is the trait that I most deplore in myself?

I underestimate myself too much, and my inability to understand numbers, and finding everything to do with writing and reading hard. I have dyslexia and dyscalculia and go into a deep panic over having to fill in forms, enter competitions, purchase anything online, or write an email. I deplore having to ask others to do these things on my behalf.

Which living persons in my profession do I most admire?

As this is all about supporting female artists: Kate Kos. Lana Matich Privitera. Molly Jones. Frida Kahlo. Zhou Sicong. Anitra Lucander.

What is my greatest extravagance?

Art supplies, but especially watercolour paper, I get through reams of it due to all the experimentation I do!

On what occasion would I lie?

I would only lie in order to protect someone, or to keep a promise of a secret. I will take a secret to my grave.

What is the thing that I dislike the most in my work?

Most probably that I am never ever satisfied with anything I do and am forever striving.

When and where was I the happiest, in my work?

Oh gosh without a doubt I am the happiest in my work now! It took some years to allow myself the artistic freedom to paint what inspires me rather than what sells, but having made that decision I am at my happiest.

If I could, what would I change about myself?

My health as it affects and restricts everything I can and cannot do. I am very demanding of myself, highly critical and a perfectionist, so I would also like to have more faith in myself.

What is my greatest achievement in work?

My next painting!

I exhibited at The Royal Academy in the early 1980’s, and I am extremely honoured to be one of the artists selected to represent the UK at the World watercolour exhibition and convention in Fabriano in 2018 and again this 2019.

Where would I most like to live?

No hesitation it would be Ireland. I have made a lot of artist friends there, and there is a big movement to meet up to paint en pleinair which I would love to be part of. It also happens to be the most beautiful country with the best people.

What is my most treasured possession?

My teddy

What is my most marked characteristic?

I’m a listener, a doer, and I pick up others’ feelings even if I don’t want too which makes me a loner and introverted. I am determined, stubborn and brave with an occasional touch of madness or eccentricity, though I am sure some might say as mad as a bag of frogs.

What is my most inspirational location, in my city?

My art studio

What is my favourite place to eat and drink, in my city?

My favourite place to drink would be my local pub as this is where I am most likely to meet neighbours and friends. My favourite place to eat is relaxing at home with a takeaway because I am a dreadful cook.

What books influenced my life and how?

Without a doubt The Third Eye by Lobsang Rampa. My mother gave it to me to read when I was in my early twenties and trying to accept the death of a close friend and questioning what life was all about.

Who are my favourite writers?

Gosh there are so many so I can only name a few, however fiction wise I like a good thriller by Sidney Sheldon, James Patterson, John Grisham.

You Only Die Once. What music would I listen on my last day?

I used to play the electric guitar and my hero is Gary Moore, his music touches my soul

Who is my hero or heroine in fiction?

A difficult question, can I choose two? Harry Potter and Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh because he is a manic depressive but still manages to deal with life.

Who are my heroes and heroines in real life?

My mother for raising me alone and keeping us both in very difficult circumstances.

Which movie would I recommend to see once in a lifetime?

The fastest Indian in the world.

What role plays art in my life and work?

I am compelled to paint, much like breathing! My mother would say I was born with art supplies in my hand and have not stopped drawing and painting since. It encompasses all areas of my life, how I design the interior of my home, the garden, my studio and the shops I like.

Who is my greatest fan, sponsor, partner in crime?

Without a doubt my ex-husband and best friend, he cares for and enables me to follow my passion.

Whom would I like to work with in 2019?

I was lucky in the early days to have several years mentored by William Bennett ROI, he retired to France and is probably not with us anymore, but I would love to work with him.

Which people in my profession would I love to meet in 2019?

I run the Facebook group Artisthour Wednesday evening live with my co-host and artist friend Anne Blankson-Hemans. We live a long way from each other and have busy schedules so have yet to meet which is crazy. Also any and all of the valued FB artist friends I have made through running the group.

What project, in 2019, am I looking forward to work on?

I am beyond excited to be returning to paint in Venice again, the light is astounding, and I can only dream of being able to capture it. I am also working on a big solo exhibition which is very exciting, and I look forward to returning to teach and paint at pleinair festivals in Ireland. There is also a very exciting project I have just agreed to, I can’t talk about yet so watch this space.

Where can you see me or my work?

I have an exhibitions and events page on my website where I am always updating and posting my schedule. Visitors are always welcome to visit me at home, but by appointment so that I might arrange for a tidy up and get some biscuits in first. Just email me to arrange.

What do the words “Passion Never Retires” mean to me?

It means that the true passions in our lives never leave us because they are part of us, we are born with them and die with them. They are not a job with an hourly rate and retirement age.

Which creative heroines should Peter invite to tell their story?

I have long list of female artists! However, as I can’t post them all here, Dee Crow, Anne Blankson-Hemans, Nicki Heenan, Vicki Norman. I’m happy to email you all the others.

How can you contact me? Instagram: claudia_araceli_artist

Facebook: Claudia Araceli

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