“Since my discovery of art came as a form of therapy, I still use it to paint out my thoughts or feelings. I will often use symbolism within my paintings to represent how I feel.”
Alana Clumeck was born in rural Margaret River, Western Australia; she moved to Santa Barbara, California in 2008 where she resides with her husband and two children. The daughter of an artist and a potter, it was no surprise that Alana eventually found herself with a career in the arts. Her childhood home was attached to a pottery and art gallery, and from early infancy, she was immersed in an artistic environment. Alana draws from her early memories of exploration, creativity, and freedom, to express in her paintings the deep connection that she has with nature.
Alana is known for her vibrant contemporary take on large game animals, equine portraits, and the cowboy culture. She enjoys capturing her subjects in their wild, raw form, portraying movement through pops of color, pattern, and texture. Alana Clumeck has been featured in Santa Barbara Magazine, Cowgirl Magazine, Santa Barbara Seasons Magazine, Inside of Santa Ynez Valley Magazine, The Santa Maria Sun, Santa Ynez Valley News, The Lompoc Record, and The Augusta-Margaret River Times (in Australia). Her work has also graced the cover of Ranch & Country Magazine three times.
Alana Clumeck's inspiration comes from things of "God made" beauty, rather than man-made items. The complexities of nature deeply move her; animals, landscapes, and, how insanely beautiful this world is. She is continually pushing her skills to express nature's beauty delicately on the canvas. Her current 'wallpaper' series is a mix of masculine meets feminine, here she juxtaposes feminine items, like flowers, against masculine creatures, like the bison. Alana continues to paint with enthusiasm, continually adding new techniques, mediums, and subjects into her art.
Alana Clumeck's art depicts a sense of serenity. The subjects in her art are delicate yet courageous, with a warmth that simply glows without hesitation. When contemplating her paintings, one can almost understand the spirit of such animals. It is as if they are personally conveying a story, expressing their innermost feelings. One is left with the realization that what we see is undoubtedly a deep connection between nature and human.
Q. What’s your best childhood memory?
A. I had a wonderful childhood. Our days were full of exploration, creativity, imagination, and nature; essentially, we were 'free-range' kids. Many of my best memories are of the weekends where my parents would load us into the car, and we would head to a rugged coastal beach to fish, surf and catch lobster and abalone. We would then build a fire on the beach and cook our freshly caught seafood. They were the best days.
Q. As a child, what did you wish to become when you grew up?
A. I grew up in an artist family; my parents owned a Pottery for 20 years, which was attached to our house. There was never a moment in my childhood where they weren’t throwing pots, decorating, or working on other artistic ventures. My mother also painted beautiful, vibrant, and abstract oil paintings. I have memories of her being lost in her paintings for days on end, and now I can relate! As a child, I was deeply in touch with nature, creating, and my imagination, I know that deep down a career as an artist was something I wished for. I was born to be a maker/creator, and what I love most about being an artist is living out a career that I was born to do.
Q. Do you remember the first art you made? What was it and how old were you?
A. Because our home was attached to an art gallery and pottery, I don’t have any early memories without art in my life. It was a part of the daily rhythm of our lives — my first memories of creating as a child was throwing pots, and playing with clay. I have thousands of tidbits of memories walking into our cool pottery workshop, and getting messy with the clay. My parents were kind enough to allow us to explore the pottery with freedom. We made a lot of mess at our leisure, and I don’t remember them ever getting mad at us. It was a fun, creative environment.
Q. How and when did you first become seriously interested in art?
A. I left home, and out of our small rural town at the tender age of 17, and moved straight into the ‘big’ city of Perth, Western Australia. The Western Australian Museum of Art became my quiet haven amongst the hustle and bustle. Perhaps being surrounded by such beautiful art made me feel closer to home. I would find myself spending hours staring at the paintings of Monet and Renoir, mesmerized by the art. That was when I first felt an intricate connection to art. However, it wasn’t until years later, during the chaos of motherhood that I became seriously interested in art as an artist.
Q. Tell us about your beginnings, how were your first steps in the art world?
A. In 2014 when I was pregnant with my son, I suffered from a severe bout of antenatal depression (depression during pregnancy). I had a deep yearning to create and find the same ‘calm’ that I felt as a child. Once I purchased some art supplies, painting became a form of therapy for me, and it was something I couldn’t switch off. Although I grew up in a very artistic environment, I did not try my hand at painting until this season of life. I had observed my mother throughout my childhood, and it was as if (through this observation), it all clicked. I no longer suffer from antenatal depression; however, painting has taken on a different kind of therapy for me as I navigate motherhood and family life.
Q. What have you had to sacrifice for this career?
A. There have certainly been many times when I have questioned whether I should get a conventional job, and give up on my pursuit of an artistic career. Being an artist is a little like being on commission. Some weeks you won't sell any art, and some weeks you will sell multiple pieces of art. On my recent six-month hiatus from painting I did a lot of soul searching and praying - to figure out if I truly do want to continue to pursue this career. I concluded that it is a privilege and honor to be able to make money from my talents. This career is not a sacrifice, it has been an absolute gift to me on so many levels, and I am grateful for it.
Q. Who are your biggest influences? Are you inspired by the work of your peers or anyone else in particular?
A. I have to admit that technically complex artworks, composition and use of color, grab my attention, and inspire me the most. Renoir, Monet, Gustov Klimt - the old greats are my biggest inspirations - brilliant is too small of a word to describe their works.
I am influenced by the American West and am captivated by the works of American Artists Logan Maxwell, Jeremy Lipking, Jeremy Mann, and French artist, Mark Maggiori. These artists are talented beyond measure and are killing it in the art world today.
Q. Is the artistic life lonely? What do you do to counteract it?
A. Until recently, I was thrilled with the quiet and solitude life of an artist. My children are 5 & 7; therefore, painting has been a place of calm amongst the sometimes chaotic world of raising small children. Now that both of my kids are in school, I do long for more social interaction in the workplace. I am currently looking for a shared art space so that I can be a little more extroverted and interactive with society. I am excited to build a community and, ‘sponge off’ of the creative enthusiasm of other artists and encourage one another.
Q. Apart from art, what do you love doing?
A. In my quest to slow down and soak up all that life has to offer; I have found myself wanting to disconnect with technology and reconnect with the land. I recently rented a plot of land and have discovered a lot of joy growing an organic garden. It’s been a real thrill to gather a bunch of friends together, and harvest the garden and then pickle, and preserve the goods together.
Q. What is your philosophy in matters of art?
A. Art is subjective. One person may love it; the other may hate it. As long as I am producing something that I love, and am proud of, then that is all that matters.
Q. What does 'success' mean to you?
A. There are so many levels on the spectrum of ‘success.’ I am a goal setter. Therefore, I set myself small goals to get to my grand goal, and each step along the way is a small measure of success to me.
In the picture of having a career as an artist; success to me is the flexibility of being able to make money doing what I love while my kids are at school... Which then allows me to be present with them when they are not at school. It’s all about kicking goals but setting boundaries, coming back to that theme of being present in life moments, and my career as an artist allows me this.
Q. What are the biggest things you've learned in life thus far?
A. Last year I was diagnosed with Paroxysmal nocturnal hemoglobinuria (PNH), which is a rare, potentially life-threatening disease of the blood. Being diagnosed with a condition such as this gave me extreme clarity that life is fleeting. In a weird way, it was a gift. I have learned the most important thing in life (apart from my faith in Jesus). It is that each day is a gift, and the time that you invest in people or projects is the greatest gift that you can give someone.
This new outlook has overflown into how I view my journey as an artist. I pour hours of my time into my paintings, and when someone acquires a piece of my art, I am humbled — humbled that they have connected not only with my art but with the time that I have spent on it.
Q. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve been given, and by who? What advice would you give to the next generation?
A. My actress friend, Moon Bloodgood, says, “Be YOU boo.” Probably the best advice I have received. We are all created with different talents, different minds, different bodies. We live in a time where social media and technology is constantly whispering in our ears telling us lies that we are “not enough,” or that we need to conform to look a certain way, or even paint a certain way. You were made to BE YOU, no one else. Your life is yours, and the world needs who you were made to be, and made to create.
Q. What personality trait has gotten you in the most trouble?
A. Recently I took a six-month break from painting to give my life and priorities a ‘reset.’ I realized that my artistic career and family life had gotten so busy that I lost sight of what is important, which is present and heartfelt connections with my family and friends. My character trait that gets me into the most trouble is trying to be perfect rather than present. This trait flowed into my career as I began to concentrate more on the marketing side of art, and the ‘image’ that I wanted to portray in my art, rather than the art itself. I also tend to be a perfectionist in my art - I’d like to loosen up and enjoy the process more. Now I face life and my art with a different outlook. I’d rather be present over perfect. I like to slow down and enjoy the artistic process and experience in general.