Clara paints in the spirit of Wordsworth

New work by the artist in residence at Rydal Mount will be going on display soon.

Clara Li-Dunne is aiming to capture the romantic atmosphere at Rydal Mount’s house and garden where Wordsworth nurtured his poetic works and published a great many masterpieces. 

Now her first series of work at the house describes how nature changes in four seasons, “and to find romance, the audience will find a heart shape within the painting, for which I used a heart shape stone that I found outside the tearoom of Rydal Mount.”

Clara is more familiar than most with Wordsworth, his life and work, and the beautiful house near Ambleside, having worked there as a guide for the past nine years. Originally from Hong Kong, she has a degree in fine art and is a qualified teacher.

Clara became interested in ‘camera-less photography’ while studying for her BA (Hons) and MA in Fine Art in the 1990s, and was inspired to develop her current practice in painting.

‘I was always fascinated by how nature evolves in its own time; and also the unnoticeable mutation within nature,’ she says. ‘The creations of the images of abstract landscape were from my memories of colours and shapes while out walking, hiking or cycling.’

She uses pigment powders, graphite and sand to build up layers of the mediums like the formation in nature.  ‘A subtle change of the perspective caused by the refraction of light between the colours symbolises the mutation of nature. I also photograph shapes and forms created by natural light to create a new landscape.’

Clara follows in the footsteps of Helen Johnson, from Alston, who was artist in residence at Rydal last year. A former head teacher who is now a full-time artist, Helen produced pieces of work on five themes which match the writing and ideas of Wordsworth: spirituality, family and relationships, emotions, nature, and excursions.

Curator at Rydal Mount Emily Heath said that Clara’s work as an artist brought a new dimension to the place. “Clara’s art is really beautiful and she has some fascinating ideas. And of course, she is a true expert on Wordsworth and his work.”

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