Claire Frances Peasnall, Lincoln 2000 (detail), 2000, watercolour on paper, 172 x 432 mm
Claire Frances Peasnall, Valentine Sky (detail), 2001, watercolour on paper, 140 x 560 mm
New funding stream announced for our Arts Award programme in 2018
We are very pleased to announce that, with the generous support of the Claire Peasnall Trust, we will make the first Claire Frances Peasnall Memorial Award in 2018.
Claire Frances Peasnall (Trinidad, 1943 — London, 2016) was a watercolour painter who lived in Lincoln for the larger part of her professional life, making pieces that reflected her love of plants and landscapes from the cultivated rural to the urban and industrial.
She worked outdoors and in the studio from sketches made on the spot, travelling widely to find subjects that interested her. In the last decade of her working life, she evolved a procedure of ‘letting go’, working on paper flooded with water and courting the effects of chance. Captivated by the topography of the city at night, she made a series of fluid paintings executed in half light, including one of fireworks exploding over the Lincoln skyline.
In 2000 she received a Millennium Arts Award from the St Hugh's Foundation for the Arts to visit the Huntington Desert Garden in San Marino, California. This resulted in a series of joyous, innovative works, capturing perfectly her lifelong enthusiasm for horticultural spaces of all kinds, from the domestic garden to the microcosm of the glass house:
“My principle hope for this project was that exposure to such an extraordinary garden would produce the kind of handling in landscape that I had already begun to employ in a series of night paintings. In twenty-one days I produced five paintings, each of which was more fluid than the last, ranging from closely observed studies to fast notation. In a bid to sum up the wider sweep of the garden, I made two panoramas: in one I included a posse of parrots-with-attitude that had recently escaped from a film set and now lorded it over the garden; in the other I painted the heart that appeared in the sky on Valentine’s Day, a witty vapour trail that to an English eye seemed incredibly good fun, quintessentially ‘California’.”
Claire said that the experience of painting in the Desert Garden, made possible by the Award, exceeded her expectations in every important respect and substantially extended her practice. The California paintings formed the core of her first solo exhibition at Bend in the River Gallery, Gainsborough, in the Autumn following her return.
Claire taught adults for many years and had a particular sympathy for those returning to a career in art or starting later in life. She was a longstanding member of the Lincolnshire Artist's Society committee and organised trips to London galleries, visits by speakers and watercolour courses in her studio. Her friends and family hope that the Fund in her name will support other artists from the local area to travel and experiment as she did.
WIth thanks to Claire's family for preparing the content of this article, and for their generous contribution to the Foundation's work.
For more information about the Claire Frances Peasnall Memorial Fund and our other funding streams for 2018, please visit the Awards section of our website here: http://www.sthughsfoundation.co.uk/awards .