Sense of place has always been an integral part of Clarey Wamhoff’s life. From childhood drawings of cozy houses to her recreation of traditional quilt patterns, she has explored the combination of patterns and colors that evoke home.
She would describe her work as Expressionist, being influenced by both German Expressionist artists like Gabriele Munter, and the French Fauvists such as Matisse. She likes to focus on the spaces that surround an object. As well, there is a primitive element to her paintings. Focusing on spaces, shapes and patterns, she searches to find the essence of what she is trying to express, using color and form. She simplifies wherever possible, allowing her paintings to be an abstraction.
Prior to her life as a painter, she designed a line of whimsical fabric designs for children which were sold by local designers and shops. This whimsy and love of children’s art is still visible in her paintings. She often pictures her favorite children’s book characters living in her landscapes.
And most importantly, she is deeply rooted in the Wisconsin. She may visit other places and become influenced by color, but she never tires of the abundance of patterns and colors in the surrounding Wisconsin landscape. From the glaciated hills of the southwestern counties to the beautiful bays and rocky shores of Door County, the opportunity for subject matter is never ending. The simple shape of a barn set against a field of wildflowers presents endless painting opportunities.
She is excited about her recent works, in which she feels she has achieved a combination of her love for quilting and wood block printing with her landscape painting. She loves that her paintings are often described as heartfelt and happy. This body of work has returned her to the comfort of her home.