Neville Clarke

Home: Ajax, Ontario
Title: Self-Exposed
Media: Watercolour
Dimensions: 112 x 76 cm

Artist Statement

This portrait came about when I met Amanda at the local post office about a year ago. Her multi-coloured dreads, numerous tattoos, piercings and outrageous attire were immediately reminiscent of numerous creative challenges that I have visualized over my career. I am fascinated with the potential found in subjects that are unconventional but arresting, independent but still with echoes of fragility. Amanda, in her Gothic plaid, was a story that needed to be told. First and foremost I wanted to capture Amanda’s larger than life unique personality and individuality by pushing the subject towards the outer edges of the picture plane and by employing strong chiaroscuro. With the focal light further embellishing not just the tangible colours of the external but also directing us towards reassessing societal expectations, the subject invites the viewer to examine how she presents herself but not to judge, hence the title Self-Exposed.


People are the essence of life; their dreams and aspirations become the platform from which a myriad of struggles lead to indefinable goals. The intrinsic values and characteristics within us define the evolving human condition; these are the elements significant to my work. My artistic practice often consists of depicting the female form. Choosing the figure as my communication medium allows me to express feelings of hope, dignity and courage which reflect the burning desires within humanity.

Typically, as my work progresses, my painting becomes more direct, in a manner similar to working with oil paint – moving from fluid washes to thicker opaque applications – constantly building layers through additive and subtractive manipulation of the watercolour medium while pushing light intensities and tonal variations to achieve the rich luminosity and expressive qualities of the subject. The challenge for this painting was to convey the simple underlying structural masses and dynamic movements within the forms and to establish harmonious relationship between subject and background. The drapery within the composition assists in grounding the subject while letting her move forward into our sub consciousness. My hope is to create meaningful works of art that are relevant, engaging and promote dialogue.