Clova trained at the Ruskin and the Royal Academy Schools in the 1980s, winning a number of major prizes and scholarships. She has shown extensively in London: Sue Rankin Gallery, Cadogan Contemporary, Burlington Fine Art, Darren Baker Gallery and the Mall Galleries (NEAC and RBA Open) and in Oxford, where she has found many collectors. Shows in East Anglia, the Southern counties and Edinburgh have taken her work further afield in the UK; whilst overseas she has found buyers in the US, Hong Kong, France where she sometimes exhibits, and most recently in Sweden.
Always working from life, her commitment to drawing and intense scrutiny of the subject can be traced back to her rigorous training and, in particular, to the teaching of the painters Jane Dowling and Peter Greenham. Although most visible in the large, searching and rhythmic pencil drawings and life room studies, the primacy of drawing underpins all the painted work. Her paintings probe worlds of unusual and distinctive colour harmonies; whether muted and subtle as in the French interiors or rich and sensuous as in her exotic still life subjects or flower pieces, as she responds to a particular stimulus and mood.
Some of her works are sections of interiors or views from windows in her houses in Oxford or France. Sometimes her motif is a fusion of interior and still life, reflecting an admiration for the French painters Bonnard and Vuillard but also mirroring a life spent with a family of musicians in Jericho and a great love of travel and architecture. Alternatively, she sets up and paints from expansive, complex still life constructions more redolent of Cezanne, Matisse and the Scottish artist Anne Redpath, using her extensive collection of textiles and artefacts from home and abroad.
A battered 1950s tray, an Uzbekistani bedspread from the Grand Bazaar, a faded Edwardian chaise longue: each has been the catalyst for a still-life assemblage or interior composition. Whilst balancing, with care, the shapes, colours and patterns of her chosen objects, Clova also illuminates their sensory and cultural associations. Her materials include, unusually, the medium of distemper (glue size and pigment) on linen, oil paint and also gouache on paper. The resulting richly hued and textured compositions draw the viewer into a domain both complex and resonant.
Teaching has been an important, greatly valued and much enjoyed feature of her career. Initially teaching Art and Art History in the highly regarded Art Departments of St Paul’s School, Barnes and Radley College; she then diversified into the teaching of adults at Sunningwell School of Art. Currently, she balances part time work in the dynamic and adventurous Art Department at OLASS in Oxfordshire with delivering lectures, short courses and workshops in a range of contexts.
Her paintings and drawings can be viewed at www.clova-stuart-hamilton.co.uk