Claire Basler has always been inspired by nature ever since she has been a child.
Growing up with a father who besides practising Architecture had a wealth of plant knowledge and the “botanist spirit” as Claire phrased it. With her dropping out to of Art school she was going against the conceptual art movement to stay true to herself and to paint what she loved and was inspired by most: Nature
Depicting complex beauty became what Claire was fascinated most by. Picking and foraging fresh plants she studies them, observes their lifecycle and paints them with their innert sensuality bringing her art to life. It is that vibrancy that pulls the spectator into a glimpse of Claires own nature and sensibility.
As one of the first artists she wanted to push open the door to the public showing her process and sharing her craft at her studio through her now infamous open days and her sense of self has carried through all her work until this very day.
Her depictions of delicate flowers moving gracefully from one end of the frame to the next and brushstrokes imitating the wilderness found in nature itself have become loved by many. Besides painting large murals she uses her sense of space to create fabrics and materials for interiors strongly believing that decoration is not just artificial but enhances the way we work, live and breathe in our environment as she herself breathes through her artwork.
I had the pleasure to ask her a few questions about her inspirations for her contemporary paintings and her link to the broad field of horticulture with her studio and gardens at the Chateaux de Beavouir .
Have you had a connection to horticulture before choosing your sujet?
The link is not precisely with Horticulture, but a link with flowers and nature.
As kids my brother and I spent our vacations in the stunning Jura landscape with our parents and my father shared his interest in nature with us. I kept the sense of observation ever since because I have visual memory and for a painter that is not bad.
How are you inspired to paint?
Colors and form, sensuality, the relationship of strength and fragility are my sources of inspiration. It is the emotion that is always the guide and the learning tool of my subject.
What is the process of composing your work?
The equilibrium or balance of the composition is dictated by the observation of nature. Sometimes I have a very specific intention, but most often it's the play of light and shape that make up the composition.
At other times it is the peculiarity of a branch, of a stem that crosses the canvas creates fullness or emptiness: a conceptual translation of the composition takes place then.
In all ways I am always interpreting nature and composition plays a very important role.
Do you garden yourself. If so what are you enjoying most in your space?
I have almost no time to garden, but I compose the garden with Anne who is now the gardener of the castle where my studio is based and always saw gardening as a life lesson:
The relationship of fragility and strength of flowers, trees, grasses and the relationship of time, being ephemeral, embracing resistance, patience, all of nature is a great teacher.
What has influences the techniques you are using to express what you see?
Nature itself dictated a lot of my technical research as well as the work of other painters of old or modern periods. It is therefore mainly observation that gives me the means to express myself.
A unique interpretation of the observations I make.
Is there a favourite bloom you like to portrait?
Definitely the oriental poppy, it expresses particularly the relation between strength and fragility, its reflection of light and the papery wrinkles make it ephemeral.
The iris that is powerful and bright as the soul of the garden,
Besides these there are many like the Margeurites, these flowers are reminding me of my childhood, luminous and tender or even Cosmos because they dance, Anemones that embodie the wind, Peonies that are the very best as the heart of the flowers has such a natural charm when I paint it.
I approach the leaves of Nasturtium with the idea of nature being suspended in the movement of water, with it´s green so joyful and deep. Then there are the water lilies, magical forms, spots of light on the water and I often forget to mention the Sunflowers and the Delphiniums,
The more I live and paint the more I love them all and then there are also the flowers that I rarely paint but that I love so much like the Gauras as a mist of flowers, all the small flowers of the edges of the pathways but to be frank:
I could not all quote them even if tried.
What has been a highlight in your career so far?
It's hard for me to name one but I would have to say: Living with a flower garden. But so was the first flower I painted too: the emotion and exhaustion that comes with it. It became a decisive step in the world of color.
I am embracing the change of studios spaces and places of life including its own landscape that each time changes the way I paint.
Do you have any future projects coming up?
Taking more time to paint the amazing trees around me and continuing to illustrate the garden and the park of the castle of Beauvoir. One thing that will always come up is the need to progress in the rapid study of the landscape around me.
I would like to add something that is dear to my heart: “Never forget to dream and watch”
If you would like to dive into more of Claire´s work you can explore her Art here: https://www.clairebasler.com/en/
and keep an eye peeled for one of her open days at the Chateaux de Beauvoir
You can also follow Claire Basler on Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/clairebasler/?hl=en
and learn more about her Books: https://www.clairebasler.com/en/book/