Thursday, October 19, 2017

DPW Spotlight Interview: Claire Henning

Each week we will spotlight a different DPW artist who will give away one of their best paintings. To enter to win Claire's painting, "Teal Cow" go to Daily Paintworks and click on the link at the top of the page announcing their interview.

From Claire's DPW Gallery:

I am Claire Henning and I love painting. I aspire to be a "daily painter", but sometimes life gets in the way of that goal. So I am an "almost-daily-painter" working in oils, mostly on small canvas. For several years, our family's circumstances have prevented me from painting for myself much, especially our youngest daughter's bout with childhood cancer. As part of her recovery, we became involved in art therapy. Art has transformed her life and mine. I am so grateful to be painting again now and excited to share my work with you.

Tell us a bit about how you first started painting.

My background and college degree is in Interior Design, so I've always been creative with color and fabrics.  I first started drawing and painting when I was homeschooling my three children. We started keeping nature journals, and I was hooked.  My youngest daughter and I painted together as part of her rehab after a brain tumor. I found that painting was healing for both of us.

Did you have any stops and starts in your painting career?

Lots of them.  I was painting regularly and selling at art shows and online when I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2014. Then there were weddings and a big move to the country. I was painting sporadically at best. Now that the dust has settled this year I've begun painting again with fresh eyes and renewed enthusiasm.

Teal Cow
(click to view)

Enter to win by clicking on the link at the top of the DPW home page announcing Claire's interview.

What mediums and genres have you experimented with?

I began with watercolor and colored pencils, tried acrylics and landed on oils. I've begun teaching kid's art lessons so I also get to have fun with pastels, chalk, tempera and paper collage. I am drawn to still life, animals, florals and landscapes.

Which ones have "stuck" and which ones have fallen away?

I was not a fan of working with acrylics, because there are inevitable interruptions and the dried paint and ruined brushes made me crazy.  I love oils. I love the creamy texture. They are more forgiving when I walk away from them and you can just wipe anything you are not pleased with!

White Cottage
(click to view)

Which ones are you looking forward to exploring?

After a recent trip to southern California, I came away with a plein air obsession. My husband is working on a plein air setup for me. I can't wait for the Alabama weather to finally cool off so I can take it out and see what I can do. Stay tuned.

Who or what inspires you most?

Light inspires me . How it catches objects around the house. How the morning or evening sun changes my garden. There is such beauty in every day life.

Umbrella Reflections
(click to view)

What does procrastination look like for you?

Pinterest, Instagram and Spider Solitaire. I'm a full time caregiver to our disabled daughter, so sometimes when I'm physically tapped, I just can't get inspired to paint.

What techniques work to ensure that you make time for your art?

I have studio space (a spare bedroom) but recently it occurred to me I might have fewer interruptions if I was in the same room with my daughter. So for now I'm set up on the kitchen table and logging a lot more painting hours. She's even been inspired to draw more at the table with me.

(click to view)

How do you generally arrive at ideas for your paintings?

I do work from photos, so I'm always collecting ideas with my phone's camera. I love looking at other artist's work (yes, pinterest) to get different ideas for subjects, techniques and color palettes.

How do you keep art "fresh?" What techniques have helped you avoid burnout and keep your work vibrant and engaging?

Working with my young art students really stretches me to think in different ways. I usually come away from class with a fun take from the kids that I can use to vitalize my personal art.

Mission Wall
(click to view)

What do you feel you are learning about right now as an artist?

I've been immersed in plein air demos on youtube lately. There is a lot of great info on simplification of composition, color mixing, value and color temperature.

What makes you happiest about your art?

I feel such joy in the process of painting. I also find hope and healing as I use my creative gifts for God's glory.

Thanks, Claire!

© 2017 Sophie Marine


  1. Claire is one of my favorite people and new favorite artist. I am finding new paintings from her collection and I am more than a little jealous! SHL

  2. A few friends & I meet at Claire's home for bible study once a week & we have the fun of seeing her work in process on the kitchen table! We all want "Peaceful" above! We're gonna have to wait for something similar since that one's taken. But we don't mind-the anticipation is part of the fun. We love rubbing shoulders with Claire in our community, our church & our lives.