Showcasing the Arts


Oct. 2014 Featured Artist: Clare Hirn


Clare Hirn at work in studio on 
    Osage One, a mixed media painting.Some 28 years ago, I envisioned being a medical illustrator. My drawing of the Abiocor heart even appeared on the front page of the New York Times. But, for me, it has always been about drawing and painting — more specifically, large-scale painting married with a love of detail. Interior mural painting became a way to practice my art and gain employment. As with most endeavors, there are always challenges and rewards, whether anticipated or not. After more than 20 years of mural painting, I am working more and more in the realm of public art and still discovering new aspects of a life spent making art.

Painting on a wall opens a room, creates space, and adds dimensions in various ways. There is always an element of surprise for the viewer and creator alike. The process remains fresh, as each space is unique. Projects often involve both working on site and in the studio. Many times the mural can be painted in the studio and applied to the wall, which also allows for relocating the mural in the future if needed. Other times the space requires all work to be done directly on site.

I always execute sketches before the painting process begins. When starting the painting, I prefer to do an underdrawing in charcoal so the composition can easily be tweaked or even reworked. I then begin layering paints over the drawing. I have been developing this technique to keep the inherent energy of drawing alive and visible throughout the process. At times the charcoal drawing is clearly visible while other areas are very textural with applied paint mixed with sand or other ingredients. Consequently, some areas of the painting may have many layers and some only two. This way I can achieve more abstract areas juxtaposed with highly detailed ones.

I feel that art in public spaces — and in private or business settings as well — allows people to realize and appreciate how our human nature needs, responds to, and thrives upon our creative impulse. It is gratifying to see people respond sincerely to hand-painted imagery and a joy to experience firsthand.

Clare Hirn
Louisville, Ky.

Telephone: 502-802-4744


Page last updated: June 8, 2016
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