Clarence Porter: A Dance of Shadows and Light
As an artist, Clarence Porter believes in translating his visual and emotional moments into pieces that allow the viewer to see, feel, and be in his moments, giving the viewer pause to reflect on moments in time that he cherished, frozen in pigments. His journey in the art world began post art school when he stepped into the commercial world as a graphic designer and art director in Toronto.
For over three decades, Porter created illustrations for an array of projects, from packaging and logo designs to children’s books and magazine editorials, using a wide range of mediums. After relocating to Hamilton, he began working with pastels for his own pleasure. His work quickly gained recognition, earning him an Honorable Mention at the Pastel Artists Canada’s Purely Pastels Exhibition at the Art Gallery of Hamilton in 2006. This recognition served as the impetus needed to continue working with pastels, and he hasn’t looked back since.Image Description: (1) steelVIEWS No.13, (2) Plains Rd Sunset, (3) vancouVIEWS No.8, (4) Walk in Cootes Paradise IX, (5) The Reaching No.6, (6) The Flower and the Shadows No 4, (7) Untitled #1
One of the pieces Porter is particularly proud of is "The Reaching" series. This series was inspired by his Saturday morning walks to the local convenience store to pick up a newspaper for his wife. It was mid-March and the bare trees were casting long beautiful shadows. The shadows, reaching away from their naked trees, sparked the idea for this series. Porter's affinity for dichotomies — dark and light, turmoil and calm, death and rebirth — are the cornerstone of his work, and are beautifully encapsulated in this series.
Porter's artistry extends beyond creating masterpieces. He is an instructor at the Dundas Valley School of Art, occasional instructor at the McMichael Canadian Art Collection and the Aurora Cultural Centre. His live and Zoom pastel demonstrations and private mentoring sessions have been a source of inspiration for him, as he enjoys the interaction with creative minds of all ages. He finds collaboration with other artists using different media rewarding and enriching too.
With a unique artistic style that Porter describes as representational fauvist, his work stands out for his unusual color choices. He believes that if the values are correct, the colors don't matter. And he certainly loves color. His future plans include working larger and selling more of his artwork, and he is currently preparing for a 2-person exhibition in February 2024 at his gallery.
Porter's work has been collected locally and internationally, and he is represented by Earls Court Gallery in Hamilton. In 2014, he received his Master Pastel Artist of Canada (MPAC) signature designation from Pastel Artists Canada, and in 2016, he was elected a Signature Member of the Pastel Society of America (PSA). He is also a member of the Federation of Canadian Artists and the International Association of Pastel Societies.
His biggest challenge as an artist is keeping his artwork fresh. The tendency to get comfortable with color palettes or subject matter plagues all artists. To overcome this, Porter takes workshops from other artists who are doing different techniques or styles, which helps keep him fresh. Life drawing classes are also another way of keeping him alert and current.
The subject matter for the art Porter creates is whatever grabs his attention at that moment, whether still life, landscapes, cityscapes, figurative or portraiture. He primarily works with pastels but also loves working in oils using the glaze oil technique.
What makes Porter's art stand out in the industry are his choices of colors. He is not restricted by his color choices, only his values. His ability to connect with his audience through his artwork, his gallery representation, website, and social media accounts make his art much more accessible and relatable to a broader audience.
Even in troubled times, Porter finds inspiration for his work by simply looking out at the world. He sees beauty everywhere, and the world is filled with inspiration for him. With his unique artistic style and the emotion he brings to his art, it's no wonder that Clarence Porter's work is admired and cherished by art collectors around the world.