Sans [ceuticals] | Claire Oswalt, Painter

Claire Oswalt, Painter

Images by Leigh Patterson

30 - 05 - 24

Steering away from some of the hullabaloo that goes along with living in a city like Los Angeles, Claire recently decided to move back to her hometown of Austin which has allowed her to indulge in yet another sense of relief. In this interview, focusing on Claire's most tried and tested practices, we find that Claire applies this notion of refinement to not only her work but also to her everyday.

Images by Leigh Patterson

Sans Woman

On reenergising creativity:

Chuck Close once told a close friend of mine that Inspiration is for Amateurs, implying that making art is work just like anything else. I fully relate to that. One of my few rules in my studio is just to show up. Even when the work is sub-par, I just keep working, shifting, painting. I like the idea that I am gathering knowledge or tools regardless of whether I am completing a piece.

On reflection of one’s own work:

I find one of the greatest tools for analyzing work is the iphone. I take pictures of my work as I move through the collage process, but I never finalize a piece until I sit with it for a full day. So before I go to bed I will review my photos and see what’s working and what’s not. It’s also an easier way for me to gain perspective. I work in a small space, so I can’t always find the ground to step back. The phone gives me this ability to see the work on different scale, rotate it, invert it.

On getting into a great creative space:

Music sets a tone in my space to which I am not mentally attached but almost acts as a buffer between my studio and the outside world. From punk, to African, to classical – I will listen to it all (albeit good music). I need a work song, ya know? Which brings to mind Maria Muldaur’s Work Song. Geez, I will even to listen to campy music such as that.

"If I haven’t had enough vegetables in my day, I scoop some awful green powder into my water. And I make sure to spend a spell of time with my husband at the end of every day. If I don’t get to any of it, I make sure to get to this one. Human connection makes a giant impact in shaping my life."

On family traditions:

I’m really excited about making up new traditions with my family. I recently read Jonathan Foer’s email interview with Natalie Portman in the New York Times Magazine. He mentioned a family tradition of his own called “clearing the Wonder Line”, where his children recounted noted events in their day. If they made their parents express a sense of wonder with a raise eyebrow, or a “hmmmmm”, then they cleared the Wonder Line and then rightly got to choose how they ended the night.

On general wellbeing:

I make sure to spend a spell of time with my husband at the end of every day. If I don’t get to anything else, I make sure to get to this one. Human connection makes a giant impact in shaping my life.

Sans Woman Claire Oswalt Leigh Patterson

"I am constantly moving when I work - shifting, uncovering, correcting, replacing, repainting… and it is the feeling of relief that lets me know when I’m finished — it is as though the painting says, "finally", and I can breathe again."

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