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  • Clare Morgan

Why portraits?

I get asked this quite frequently at events and when people first encounter my linocut portrait artwork at shows.

The work began as reduction linocut portrait artwork in 2020.

All artists feel called to a specific subject matter from the landscape, urban spaces or complete abstraction. My obsession with the human face is pretty obvious but perhaps something I don't often talk about.

The portraits are a given for me, they are always part of the work and I can explain many things about the purpose of the work with ease, but not necessarily why portraits it just feels like it ‘just is’… so this question sometimes catches me off guard.

Every portrait that is painted with feeling is a portrait of the artist, not the sitter.’

Oscar Wilde.

Over time other elements have become part of the work, such as the florals in the 'Bloom' series 2021 depicting humans in nature, celebrating new beginnings.

So here are 5 reasons…

  1. My work is about capturing a ‘sense of being’. The portrait seems a perfect way to capture that human experience.

  2. We are biologically wired to connect to faces, we can read emotions, feel empathy and relate. Looking at a portrait can have the power to make us feel something, something so deeply human.

  3. Connection is the most valuable thing we have, using portraiture I can create a narrative, and capture a moment that the viewer can relate to, we see each other as we are; the work helps us to reflect on ourselves.

  4. Even though the image is often of another human, it isn't about pure representation. The artist's hand; my hand; is woven into the image, through the choice of marks, colour, and arrangement. The portrait is a vehicle for me to communicate as an artist.

  5. It celebrates life. Having to focus on the human image, I have to consider it. Consider what it is to be alive.

I hope that gives a little insight into the themes behind the work, as I am sure that the human form in one sense or another will be a key feature in my work for a long time to come.,

Currently in, the studio I am working on a summer series, inspired by the energy of the Fire element. These pieces incorporate portraits and Birds. You can see insights into this on my Instagram page and you can get bonust first looks and offers on the new collection when you join the sneak peeks list.


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