Most of us who take an art class on a whim end up with a print or two that, if we’re lucky, might be worthy of hanging in the walls of our own home. For Veronica B. Clark, it was a beginner’s art class taken for fun with a friend that started her on the path to becoming the award-winning impressionist, with collections housed in various galleries across the U.S., she is today.
Clark was born in the English countryside of Sussex. She lived and traveled her way through Europe before coming to the States and has since lived in the Carolinas for 35 years. Today, Clark splits her time between the Queen City and her family farm in Chester, SC. Her work bears the essence of the Carolina outdoors – its lush landscapes, nature, and the animals.
Clark has won awards from The Pastel Journal and various Charlotte shows, and she is represented by Shain Gallery, the J. Gallery, High Point and Winston-Salem, and the Rutledge Street Gallery.
When it comes to artistic media, Clark’s first love is charcoal. She uses oil and pastel as well to create her rich landscapes and to capture the soulful character of her animal subjects. A horseback rider from a young age, horses are one of her favorite animals, but she says she will try her hand at just about anything. Her commissions have included everything from sheep, to turtles, to foxes.
Clark credits much of her evolution from beginner oil painter in the late 90’s to renowned artist today to the training she did with teacher Andy Braitman of the Braitman Studio in Charlotte. She says his careful training guided her vision. From the beginning, her greatest interest in her art was always animal life. After taking a few beginner classes, she began charcoaling some of her own farm animals and noticed how much people seemed drawn to the work. She continued to do more and more art pieces of the subject and after training in Charlotte and Kentucky, her work began to get noticed on a larger scale.
“My big break was when I donated an oil painting of chickens to the Charlotte Latin School,” Clark says. Gaby Shain [of Shain Gallery] walked through, saw the painting, and said ‘I knew you painted, but I didn’t know you painted like that.’ That was how I started at Shain.”
From there, her opportunities continued to expand, and allowed her to showcase collections across the U.S.
To capture the amount of life, detail, and expressiveness unique to each animal is perhaps Clark’s greatest challenge, but it’s the challenge that drives her.
It’s her ability to capture these differences and nuances with her art that draws people to commission works again and again. Any animal lover or pet owner knows the subtleties that make up their animal, and Clark has a knack for capturing them perfectly.
“I’ve had some people cry when they get their painting, and that is amazing,” she shares. “When people bring in a photo of a deceased pet that they’ve loved, it’s really, really special.”
“It’s like a sport, you have to do more and more to build your hand-eye coordination. Each animal is so different that it keeps me on my toes constantly.”
Clark’s love of animals is a thread that runs through all she does. Not only does she paint animals, she tends her own farm life and rescued dogs, and says she “loves trying to help organizations like the Humane Society” to whom she donates.
Clark keeps busy with commissions, exhibits, travel, returning to England every year, and work on her farm.