Derbyshire woman’s painting of Crich Tramway Village is shown in Royal Society of British Artists exhibition
Denise Cliffen’s painting, entitled Yellow Silo, shows industry and landscape on the High Peak Trail.
Denise Cliffens striking painting of Crich Tramway Village is on display at the Royal Society of British Artists exhibition in the Mall Galleries.
The 58-year-old grandmother said: “I was completely overwhelmed and honestly shocked when I received the news. Only so far have I proudly exhibited my pictures at my local art group Artstand in Crich.”
“I had submitted the same painting to the Society of Fine Artists and it was accepted by them for exhibition in July, but I cannot enter it now as it is already on display in the Mall Galleries.
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The artist Denise Cliffen lives in Whatstandwell.
“I am very pleased that there will be a physically open exhibition in the Mall Galleries from April 15 to 24. The exhibition is currently also online.”
Denise also learned that another of her artwork, Ruby Chard Frost, is a semi-finalist in the Seasons Art Competition at the Kings Gallery in Stratford upon Avon.
She paints in her home in Whatstandwell, where she also runs small workshops, and will exhibit her work in the Lally Gallery of the Erewash Museum in February next year.
The tram museum painting was the most challenging work she has ever done. Denise said: “It started when Christine Shawcross took my art classes and told me how her late husband had dedicated a large part of his life to the Crich Tramway Museum and sadly passed away unexpectedly while working there. Though the Tramway Museum is only a mile away I hadn’t visited, I became a member and Christine introduced myself to the volunteers and arranged two separate tours of the workshop and grounds. I was overwhelmed, I could get a feel for the atmosphere I was from the mood, the reflective Light and especially attracted to the camaraderie of the volunteers. I wanted to capture this moment in history and show respect to the volunteers past and present. “”
Denise Cliffens painting of Crich Tramway Village is on display at the Royal Society of British Artists exhibition this month.
Denise worked on the painting for over six months and finished the canvas late last year. She said, “I’m driven by details and colors and my vision of perfection. When working with acrylic paints, I built up layers upon layers of paints (glazes) to get the finished piece. Technically, I knew it was as perfect as had to be possible especially for tram enthusiasts. “
While Crich Tramway Village is her favorite painting, Denise says Thames Barge Deck takes a close second place. Over the years she has painted landscapes, portraits, industrial and marine art in Derbyshire.
As a child, Denise always loved to draw. She said: “If it weren’t for my mother, I don’t know if I would be where I am today. She always encouraged me to draw, but at the same time was always honestly critical, which sometimes hurt a little.” Girls – “this is wrong and I think you could do better” – but I always drew and I really wanted to please my mom. My Nan always provided me with lovely drawing paper to copy poster color Disney characters onto, and I made mine, experimenting with other things like bone china painting and sculpture as well. “
At school, arts was one of three subjects Denise did well alongside French and needlework. She attended college, where she took a basic art course, got two degrees, and applied to three universities to study graphics, but was turned away.
Thames Barge Deck is Denise Cliffen’s second favorite painting.
Denise was married for a decade and had two children before she and her husband divorced in 1996. She said, “One day when she was picking up my children from school, a mother in the playground asked if anyone knew anyone who could paint a mural in her son’s bedroom. I volunteered and after seeing murals in two children’s bedrooms and one Having painted trompe l’oeil (trick of the eye) in her conservatory, I decided to pursue my dream of painting as a mural painter.I had no experience but I learned on the hoof.
“Most of the murals were intended for home use in children’s bedrooms. I have always tried to include an element of the trompe l’oeil illusion in which the painting you are looking at is real.”
One of her favorite mural assignments was the Tarrantino restaurant in Brentwood, Essex, where she painted trompe l’oeil scenes from Venice. Denise said, “Great job, paint while the restaurant is open and eat delicious food every day for lunch and use it as the background movie for The Only Way Is Essex!”
Other favorites were a private Trompe l’oeil swimming pool with scenes of the Amalfi Coast and a private commission for a mural of the Maasai Mara.
Denise has lived in Whatstandwell for three years, previously in Crich for a year and previously from Maldon, Essex. She said, “My partner made me move to his hometown Debryhsire because my children had grown up and left the house and I was ready for a new chapter in my life. It was one of the best things I did I think Derbyshire is the most breathtaking county in the UK, plus the community is so nice and friendly and I have met and made lifelong friends here in my workshops.
“My son Matthew is 30 years old and lives in Kent with my daughter-in-law Taj and my grandson Daniel. My daughter Anna is 29 years old and is delighted with fate.
met her partner Nic when she was visiting us from Essex and now lives in Chesterfield. “