Corinne Watson: The painter of clouds and auroras
To witness a loved one battle and eventually succumb to a fatal disease can be harrowing and life-changing. Corinne Watson was no exception. But the artist took the grief and pain that fell upon her after losing a close friend to brain cancer and channelised them into creating breathtaking paintings of clouds and auroras. Today, the Adelaidean’s unique artwork is not only gaining her admirers in Australia but is also making her a favourite among art aficionados across the world.
In a conversation with TAL, Corinne talks about her life experiences, the impact they have had on her art, and her enduring love for cloud and star formations.
Please tell us something about yourself. Were you born and raised in Adelaide? And, what do you do when you are not painting?
I was born and raised in Adelaide, and when not painting, I’m a Human Resources Advisor for a large Australian corporation.
I paint and engage in creative pursuits at night; it keeps me sane and balances my left brain with my right!
I also love cooking, enjoying our divine SA wine, doing yoga, spending time with loved ones, or being active with my dogs. I struggle to relax and do absolutely nothing, so I end up doing something always!
How did the personal tragedy in your life dictate your transition from the kind of painting you did to the drawings you are now known for?
Upon reflection, there was an obvious turning point for my art - changing from bright and colourful abstract pieces into the storm clouds that many have become familiar with. We had a very close friend who was diagnosed with an aggressive form of brain cancer. It was unexpected, and heart-breaking.
This was an individual who was so full of life and vigour, and we all witnessed his life changing; even though he fought as best as he could. His journey, and how it impacted those close to him, profoundly influenced the way I perceived art, and thus the cloud series was born.
Through grief, hardships, and the hard reality of it all, I became more aware of the ripples events like this can have on us. I think of those events as waves - washing over us, teaching us lessons, and gently guide us toward the direction we need to go.
Going back a little to your childhood; were you a kid with an artistic bend of mind? Or did you develop a love for art as you grew up?
I started painting in high school and never managed to drop it as a hobby; even as my day-career kicked in and began gaining momentum. As a child I was extremely attracted to art. I remember my mother giving me a notepad and a pen for entertainment, and that was all I needed to get lost in my imaginary world, creating art and stories for hours on end.
What is it about the clouds and auroras that attracted you to them?
I think it is the inherent beauty of these weather formations, and the changes they can bring. It’s a reality we all need to live with; our atmospheres and surroundings can change in a single moment.
My art tries to capture these change as effortlessly as possible. It is also a reflection of life itself - beautiful, complex, unpredictable and ever-evolving.
What is the thought process like behind each painting of yours? How are you able to create so many different variations of clouds?
I try not to overthink about the formations themselves but aim to capture the moment if I notice something supremely beautiful. I think life is a lot like that; sometimes a single moment lets your heart skip a beat, and you know that they are the moments that are worth remembering. They are the moments worth capturing.
Given the niche nature of your art, what kind of challenges did you face when starting out as an artist?
Initially, I would spend a lot of time creating art that I thought had a market. That resulted in me creating artwork similar to what was already available; thereby limiting my creative process.
Slowly, I realised the best way to create was to let my imagination flow naturally and not to restrict it by thinking about commercial opportunities. I started creating art according to what I felt like painting at the moment, and people began responding to my work more than they had in the past.
Have you seen an aurora in real life? And, have you tried to capture that particular formation in your painting?
Unfortunately, no I haven’t seen one yet – only in my imagination! So, it’s possible that my aurora paintings look nothing like the real thing. But I don’t mind that for now; the purpose of art is creating worlds within worlds, which I hope to have done with my auroras.
Who has been your inspiration?
The list of those who have inspired me is endless. I am deeply inspired by those who have pursued their creative pursuits and have been successful doing so.
Have you held exhibitions and where can one view your paintings?
I have held a couple of exhibitions now, the first group exhibition being through RAW artists in 2016 and my first solo exhibition being through an incredibly wonderful establishment called Brick and Mortar Creative in Norwood, SA. I currently sell my artwork via corinnemelanieart.com
What has the reception been like for your beautiful paintings? And, where all do you ship your products?
I have been completely overwhelmed by the reception I’ve received so far. Most people who have seen my work love it, and are kind, supportive and honestly want the best for me!
I have shipped my artwork pretty much worldwide, from the US to the UK, and Japan, Malaysia, Singapore, Germany, Norway, Russia, United Arab Emirates, and more!
As an artist in Adelaide, what kind of space do you think the city provides to up and coming artists?
Endless opportunities are available to an aspiring artist in Adelaide. I can’t rave enough about places like Brick and Mortar Creative in Norwood. Their head creative supported me, my work and helped me become more confident about my art.
There are many similar establishments like them across Adelaide that go out of their way to support local artists – as it benefits everyone. Just get out there, ask, and discover.
Also, I think the web is an incredibly enabling tool for up and coming artists – never before have we been so connected, making the world a much smaller place, at least virtually. Technology provides a space to create online galleries for artists to display their work without any hindrances.
What advice would you have for up and coming artists who aspire to break the mould and create unique art like you?
Stay true to your imagination. Forget what everyone else is doing and develop your style. Stick with it, and improve it; then rip it all down and start again!
Only through this endless pursuit can we create art that is close to perfection. We never reach it, but we get close, and in the process create something that is more than beautiful.
What are your plans for future?
There's only one plan- to never stop creating.
Follow Corinne on Instagram.
Head over to her website.