Born in Zaragoza (Spain), Clara Sancho-Arroyo graduated in Fine Arts at the University of Vigo and the University of Castilla-La Mancha. She is currently studying a Diploma in Portraiture at Heatherley's School of Fine Arts in London.
She demonstrates a deep interest in the diversity of people as a result of combinations between them, looking both at the inherited physical traits as well as at lifestyles that develop and carve personality and psychology. These variables make each individual unique, complex and mysterious, thus worthy studying.
With the human figure as a constant source of inspiration, Clara translates images of people into unpredictable configurations of bold brushstrokes, colour, textures and lines.
Q: You capture the expression of your subjects in an extremely sympathetic manner. What do you look for in the subjects that you choose to paint?
I don't actually look for anything specific in the subject itself, let's say I could paint anyone. What I am interested in, is what happens to this subject through the painting process. I take people as a reference to create and explore new languages of expression engaging with shapes, colours and textures.
Q: How do you go about producing your portraits? Do you work from life or do you prefer to paint away from the subject?
I paint both from life and from an image as a source of inspiration. However, the experience is completely different. Painting from life is quite magical since the time available to accomplish the painting is limited and that obliges me to accept what I consider errors or mistakes. I call them "accidents" and in many cases they end up being good moves. My painting experience has been more about unlearning rather than trying to get things done in a "correct" way.
Q: What draws you to paint the human subject?
I guess I need to see life on my paintings, a kind of life that I understand, that I have also lived. I could paint animals but I don't know how an animal feels within themself. That is probably why I paint more women than men.
Q: Do the illustrations that you produce also influence your painting practice?
Definitely. It was because of my old drawings that I was influenced towards distortion in my paintings.
Q: Has growing up in Spain influenced your painting practice?
I was unable to say so until I moved here and found myself surrounded by English peer artists painting portraits. They often say I have a very Spanish style, most of all because of the use of colour I do. I have grown up in a very luminous country and that probably has had an impact in how I translate colour and brightness.