Bernie Clarkson moved south after completing a BA and an MFA at Newcastle University, her home town, and has a studio close to her home in East London. She works primarily as a painter. Her work has covered a multitude of styles with shifts in style often coinciding with surroundings and circumstances. The American artist Richard Diebenkorn continues to be a huge influence on her and her attitude to her work.
Bernie works from photographs; recently her focus has been the North East coastline. Land, sea and sky offer a backdrop to an anonymous figure or figures, which are often painted in a semi-abstract style. The beach as a place of arrival or departure, suggest notions of home; Bernie uses small totemic images of cottages and lighthouses as markers of home.
In 2015 Bernie won the Academy Studios Abroad Prize for the painting ‘Looking Back.’ This painting was a signature piece exploring autobiographical elements of home, relationships and the empty nest. The prize gave her the opportunity to paint in the French countryside, en plein aire, which in turn created a new shift in her work. [Magazine Article]
“Do search, but in order to find other than what is searched for.”
“All paintings start out of a mood, out of a relationship with things or people, out of a complete visual impression.”
“When I am halfway there with a painting, it can occasionally be thrilling...But it happens very rarely; usually it's agony...I go to great pains to mask the agony. But the struggle is there. It's the invisible enemy.”