Claire Christie Sadler

Drawing has always fascinated me and lies at the heart of my work as an artist. I enjoy the directness of approach, the simplicity of means and the seemingly inexhaustible ability for a mark on a surface to convey an idea or feeling.


There are recurrent themes in my work: looking for the extraordinary in everyday objects; exploring the preciousness and fragility of life; trying to convey a sense of being in a landscape – especially the West Coast of Scotland, (cold air on the skin, silence, the play of light on water …); change; and the passing of time.


My initial training and work was as a cellist which I maintain in a reduced capacity. Perhaps the transient nature of musical performance is evident in my art work and could also explain why I work with a keen awareness of the performative aspect of making art.


Since gaining a B.A. (hons) in Fine Art in 2004, I have exhibited locally and nationally, undertaken business and ecclesiastical commissions, led community art projects in the UK and Tamil Nadu, India (2010), and teach experimental drawing at the Oxford Summer School.

The Language of Music and Words - Art Jericho, Oxford


… there it was the clear, clean line that divides earth and sky and also unites them. That line was constant…..

Sara Maitland (The Book of Silence)


Perhaps the title of Sara Maitland's book is as appropriate as the quote. I often think that it is the silence or at least the lack of man made sounds, that I am trying to capture in this body of work. In the landscape of the West Coast of Scotland, sound seems to take on a new significance. In music, silence is as important as sound and the same seems true here. It is as if the silence is a canvas on which the sounds of the natural world make their mark.


But it is also that 'clear, clean line' that is my focus – and also the light. It is the light, which defines, illuminates and transforms that line from it's ever changing play in the sky, onto the surface of the water and land. Mesmeric in it's restless drift over the surface of the water or breaking through stormy rain clouds to highlight the contours of the land and hills, it arrests the gaze and plays out a narrative over the landscape. The transient nature of this continuous 'performance' surely has parallels in music.


It seems to me too that it is a place full of contradictions; that the vast scale of the landscape heightens our sense of perspective and raises an awareness of how small we are, and yet there is an increased sense of self; that the ancient history of this place highlights the brevity of our own lives; this place which has such a sense of physical permanence appears to be constantly changing as we look at it, the rain, wind, snow, sleet and light disguising, enhancing, concealing and revealing the mountains, hills and water.


This body of work is an attempt to convey a sense of being in this place, what I hear, see and feel. My means are simple; charcoal, graphite and pencil on paper. Informed by personal experience of numerous trips to Scotland's West Coast this is a visual response to a unique and special place.

This year I won the 2019 Artweeks Mary Moser Award. Please CLICK HERE to read an article about my work by Ester Lafferty, as published in OX Magazine 2019.