Alnmouth gallery holds solo exhibition inspired by the North Sea

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The Old School Gallery in Alnmouth is presenting a solo exhibition of beautiful sea swimming series.

On becoming a regular sea swimmer, Claire Cansick, from Norfolk, uses her art to capture her fascination with the sea, which has been embedded in her psyche since being a small child living in the coastal town of Gorleston. Taking literary inspiration from Iris Murdoch's work ‘The Sea, The Sea’, Claire’s subject became connectedness to the sea as a place of joy and comfort alongside its more foreboding nature.

Claire said: “Being in a wave is the place which is most joyous for me, the bigger the better as I enjoy the perilousness and power of nature. It commands my respect.

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She works predominantly with oils and charcoal using photographs taken whilst swimming as source material.

Claire Cansick, the painter behind the exhibition.Claire Cansick, the painter behind the exhibition.
Claire Cansick, the painter behind the exhibition.

“As a swimmer in the bloody freezing North Sea I came across an old waterproof camera which I use to take grainy images of waves trying to drown me,” Claire added “my work has now turned towards these thousands of images and I am currently embarking on making large work of aforementioned intimidating waves, with one caveat — no blue allowed. A passionate hate of sickly blue paintings of the sea and the fact that the North Sea is most definitely green fuels this series.”

As a self-proclaimed ‘messy palette painter’, Claire allows the colours to mix randomly whilst moving the paint freely to mimic the facets and undulations of the waves she was once surrounded by. This way, each painting is allowed to develop its own identity, letting the paint and her instinct take over from the original source material to determine the atmosphere, colour intensity and mood of each piece.

The exhibition will be held at The Old School Gallery on Foxton Road, Alnmouth from February 9 until March 25, 2024.

For more information and opening times, visit The Old School Gallery on Instagram, Facebook or visit