Biography

Writing

She is currently crafting a Young Adult series of novels, 'The Saharan Spirit'. Some of her poems are included in another work in progress; ‘Island of Feathers’ an eclectic collection of lyric verses, poetry, journal entries and paintings delving into the writing and painting life of a wildlife artist. She has two collections of poetry, which she intends to publish after the aforementioned books.

Art

Art and nature have always been passions for Marie-Claire. As a high school student, Marie-Claire won the 'Most Pro

Art and nature have always been passions for Marie-Claire. As a high school student, Marie-Claire won the 'Most Promising Artist' section of the Mosman Bicentennial Awards, judged & presented by Australia's internationally acclaimed Ken Done. Marie-Claire also won her sections for two consecutive years in the Merriwa Art Awards, attracting entries from around Australia.

After moving to New Zealand, Marie-Claire exhibited and had her work displayed in Orewa, Puhoi & Whangaparaoa on the Hibiscus Coast, Raumati South, Paraparaumu Bch & Waikanae on the Kapiti Coast, plus Waimauku, Auckland & Wellington cities & was covered in the local & national press.

Commissions include a painting of a Brown Kiwi for the Tawharanui Regional Park TOSSI committee, plus paintings for an investment art collector, a multinational businessman & numerous private collectors. Her Australian Grevillea paintings were featured in a restricted release series of calendars. Sales include to Malaysia, the United Kingdom, Australia & New Zealand.

Marie-Claire specializes in wildlife & nature inspired acrylic paintings plus watercolour / pencil studies. Her passion for nature is expressed through a number of series including New Zealand & Australian birds & botanical watercolour / ink drawings of Australian Grevilleas.

Works may be viewed & purchased by visiting Marie-Claire’s website www.mccolyer.com or her New Zealand representing galleries; Next Door Gallery, 132 Hinemoa St, Birkenhead, Auckland, Artel Gallery 76-78 Main Road, Waikanae, Kapiti Coast and Kiwi Art House Gallery, 288 Cuba St, Wellington.

An Artist's View

'Whether it be a spider or a leopard, there is a beauty inherent in nature. It is this that I strive to capture; to connect with the essence of my subject. To wrest the spirit of the animal from blank canvas and watch it manifest like the quickening of a candle flame to a blaze of light.

I work primarily from my own photographs, taken in the wild or when necessary at Zoos and animal sanctuaries. I find studying the animal first-hand better infuses my work with a sense of its movement and habits. This knowledge comes across in the paintings in the way an animal might sprawl or the direction its feathers might lie.

Likewise, I like to have touched the animal, to feel the sleekness of its pelt or the crevices in its hide. Things like that do make a difference in the way I paint. For instance you would expect north island brown kiwi feathers to be soft; however they are bristly. This is in contrast to great spotted kiwi whose feathers are downy at the base. Yet they are both kiwis. When painting these birds I now know to create this distinction, which I would not have done had I not felt these plumages for myself.

Once back in the studio, I sketch onto archival watercolour paper or canvas. For a full painting I block in the animal with a solid colour. Next I paint the background before returning to the animal. I like to capture the details of the eyes as early as possible. I find it is not until the eyes come to life that the animal breathes. If the eyes connect with the viewer then I know the painting will work. Often I will have an animal that is barely represented but the eyes are done and the animal is alive.

My favourite part of painting is the final details; the highlights and shadows that give a work that extra dimension. I strive to bring a realism and life to my work. My hope is that the viewer will bond with the painted animal the same way I do while painting it.

The natural world is fascinating and precious. It is both enduring and fragile. When the song of a bird is lost forever we have lost a part of ourselves. In some small way I try to reclaim that part. We have a duty to preserve what we can. The seed of my work is a profound desire to shed light upon the eyes of those that pass each day sightless, those that miss the natural world, that world which strikes awe into my heart and makes me cry out in wonder. I cannot but wish to connect. I trust I succeed.'