Clara Southern

One of the purposes of my Blog is to introduce new or relatively unknown artists to my subscribers. I came across Clara Southern when I was looking for paintings of Central Victoria, my home stomping ground. This is gold country and was settled in the 1850s by the men and women seeking to change their lives forever. For my overseas subscribers and non Victorians here are a couple of views of the area I'm talking about.

Not long after the gold rush began in this area Clara Southern (1860-1940) was born in Kyneton, Victoria to John Southern (a farmer) and his wife Jane (née Elliott), both from England. She attended school in Trentham and then Kyneton where she showed an aptitude for drawing and music.
Clara took lessons from Madame Mouchette in Melbourne and I will do a separate blog on Madame Mouchette as her story is quite incredible. But back to Clara. She studied with Walter Withers and at the National Gallery School, Melbourne with Frederick McCubbin. The influence of both of these famous Australian painters can be seen in her work.

As I have a love of painting old buildings I thought I would start with Clara's The Old Shed which is delightful.
Her background growing up in the country is very evident in The Country Washhouse.
And then for something completely different and to show her skill we have Audrey and Chicapick. What an enchanting painting and title. Here we can admire Clara's drawing skill in Audrey's body.

Clara married John Arthur Flinn and they moved to Blythe Bank, Warrandyte in the Yarra Valley (to the east of Melbourne for O/S subscribers) where by 1908 she had established an artistic community. Here is her painting Yarra Street, Warrandyte.

The Heidelberg School of our famous artist were living and working close by so no doubt Clara and her group were intermingling with not only Walter Withers and Frederick McCubbin but Arthur Streeton, Tom Roberts and Charles Conder. All great names of Australian artists.

Clara seems to have painted mainly landscapes which reflect her love of the Australian bush. Here she is painting at Warrandyte where she remained until her death in 1940.

As if it wasn't enough for Clara to be a very accomplished painter who would probably have received more fame had she been a male but she was also a violinist! In 1886 she was admitted to the Buonarotti Society, a sketching club whose members included writers and musicians.

I would love to feature artists from your home stomping ground. So let me know artists of interest and they will be featured in the Blog.

And tomorrow you are going to meet Madame Mouchette!

Anne Newman

Oil Painter in realistic genre style, predominantly buildings and people. To continue the discussion contact Anne on anewman@netspace.net.au or phone +61 407 516 522

Melbourne, Victoria, Australia

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