Born and educated in London, Vivienne St Clair lived in Hertford, England where she worked as an archaeological illustrator producing thousands of drawings,meticulously recording various artefacts for archive and publication. It was during this period that Vivienne first began painting. Moving to Ireland in 1986 and painting professionally since 1993. Vivienne, who has held several solo exhibitions and shown in many group exhibitions, is becoming a highly-successful and regarded painter. Her subjects are often personal, such as the paintings of her son, her home, friends and children that live nearby. In these paintings she illustrates her wide range of skills, specialising in figurative work. Her painterly approach to colour and texture adds to her unique sense of style, whilst her work evokes the qualities of, and pays homage to, the work of the French, Modern English and more recently American Impressionists. She now spends time in America, and the light and colours of Washington State, Florida, Georgia and California appear in her works in a spectrum of colours, dense textures and atmosphere. Some works are built up in several layers over a period of weeks while others are painted alla prima. About her work and herself she says:-
"Painting can be many things. For me painting is about observing and learning. I paint the things I love, usually driven by the beauty of what is before me. If I look at something and it excites me then I want to put that down in paint. Each painting is different, a few would take hours as they develop with such a sureness they seem to paint themselves, with others there is a struggle involved and this may take weeks or months to resolve. It is unfortunate that these days inherently beautiful subjects like flowers, children and the landscape are perhaps considered 'nice' or 'comfortable' to paint and that to do so is a weak substitute for exploring other sides of life. I do not find them the least bit comfortable. Each new painting presents a challenge, a different set of problems to be resolved, the subject is only the starting point. When I look at a painting I look at the paint, whether it is a Monet, Rembrant, Dunstan or Freud. When I look at paintings I feel the emotion of the paint, the subject is only the means to make a painting"
"Her paintings are like snapshots; she likes that voyeuristic aspect to her work creating that evocation of a memory. It is really all about the language of painting, firmly rooted in a visual basis." Jennifer Goff, BA, MA (Art Historian)