I met Claire Giordano late last September on a hike to Melakwa Lake led by Nikki Frumkin. Not just a hike, but a hike with a group drawing event once we reached the lake. I have not drawn or painted since elementary school, and the thought of doing it with a bunch of other people for the first time in many years was a little nerve-racking. On a boulder at the edge of Melakwa Lake I gamely (albeit somewhat halfheartedly) painted for a few minutes before I gave up and returned to the safety of my camera. My rendering of the clear alpine lake couldn’t have been worse if I was upside down, blindfolded, missing opposable thumbs, and using my left hand. Claire meanwhile swiftly painted the jagged slopes of the mountains before us with an ease that amazed me.
I am so delighted with the painting Claire did for April’s postcard. It’s exactly how the forests feel to me right now. I’ve been grumbling about the long string of misty, grey days we’ve had here in the Pacific Northwest recently. But there is magic in these kinds of days too, and I know that by the time August rolls around I will be sorely missing them. Besides, that delicious shade of green in those delicately furled young ferns is only possible because of all this rain.
SIX QUESTIONS FOR CLAIRE
What did you want to be when you grew up?
When I was a child I wanted to be a botanist who created beautiful pictures of flowers that would inspire the conservation of nature. In some ways I am closer to this childhood dream than I thought, as I now share my paintings online in the hopes that they will inspire people to get outside and forge their own connection to nature. I also still love plants. When I am old, I will likely be the crazy plant lady.
Do you consider yourself an introvert, and extrovert, or somewhere in between the two?
I believe I land somewhere in the middle. I am energized by working in groups and helping people, but also need time alone to recharge and re-center. In many cases creating art is my go-to solo activity, as it keeps me grounded in the present moment.
What are your top three Seattle area restaurants?
Oh man, this is a hard one for me because I rarely eat out! I know I am probably missing out, but with a long commute to work I usually just want to get home before traffic gets horrible. That being said, the only restaurant I have been to more than once in the last six months is Square Lotus in Bellevue. Their yellow curry is delicious.
And this may be cheating, but my other favorite places to eat are in the middle of a hike up one of our local forested mountains, and on a chairlift on a powder day.
Do you have a favorite book?
Oh my, this is probably the hardest question you could have asked, as I have always loved reading. Aside from art, it is my favorite solo activity to recharge. I love fantasy and science fiction, but read and enjoy pretty much anything I come across. If I had to choose one, based on lasting impact, it would be Henry David Thoreau’s Walden. I first read Walden in high school for a philosophy class, and the book immediately resonated with me. Thoreau articulated many of the reasons I love being in nature, and the impact I believe nature has on us when we open ourselves to it. Since that first reading, I returned to Walden many times during college, and it was a big influence on my decision to pursue dual degrees, one of which was in Environmental Philosophy.
What was the last book you read? Did you like it?
The last book I read was a collection of the final short stories written by Isaac Asimov. As a child I read anything I could get my hands on, and Asimov’s books were my introduction to science fiction. As I got older I read and re-read most of his stories, and was delighted to find a collection I had never seen. I not only love Asimov’s creativity, but also his ability to make me think.
Thank you so much Claire, for being a part of Post Art Northwest!
Congratulations nmsanchez42, you are the winner of our April postcard! I will be in touch shortly to get it to you.
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