About Claire Reed

Claire Reed is a full-time professional artist in northwest Indiana, who was born and raised in the small city of Valparaiso, IN.  Claire began focusing on painting marine life from a very young age.  As a young girl from northwest Indiana the ocean was a far away magical place.  She became fascinated with their existence and instantly became obsessed with the ocean and every living thing in it.  Claire often frequented aquariums and nature museums to photograph and learn more about her muse. Her interest in marine life eventually drove her to pursue the opportunity in 2010 and 2012 to become an advanced open water diver and study marine biology at the Marine Resources Development Foundation in the Florida Keys as a high school student.  While there she learned to research and survey fish among other things. 

The ocean has continuously served as a mystical place that Claire has always loved to depict the beauty of.  However, it was when she dove beneath the surface that she realized the impact humans have on life beneath the waves.  Painting gave her a way to express her thoughts and teach others about the importance of marine life.  In February of 2017 Claire was granted the opportunity to have her first solo exhibition with Roots Cafe in her hometown.  Shortly after she graduated from the American Academy of Art in Chicago, IL in May 2017 with a degree in Bachelor of Fine Arts specializing in watercolor.  Since then she has won a scholarship and grant from the Indiana Arts Commission, gained recognition with the Illinois Watercolor Society, and has shown in many galleries throughout the states of Indiana and Illinois. 


When painting the aquatic world, I immerse myself into the artwork.  I use watercolor to connect the unpredictable, free-flowing nature of water to the marine environment I depict.  I am constantly inspired by the way light dances on the skin of marine species and the way they move through their habitat.  I will often use vibrant, contrasting colors to showcase their undeniable, unique beauty. I will sometimes include in my paintings mediums such as gouache, salt, and other miscellaneous materials to enhance texture, help give the illusion of depth, or even to mimic debris found in natural surroundings. 


To appreciate the beauty of nature, we must also do everything in our power to protect it and help tell their story.  To understand the interactions of marine life and how they impact our global environment, I often utilize journalistic subject topics from news media and articles to document the global impact and environmental issues plaguing our oceans through my paintings. 


Every one of my paintings intentionally exposes the layers of watercolor to showcase the bone structure and delicacy of nature. Beneath the waves lies an intricate framework of teeming life I believe needs to be celebrated and fought for.  Each design creates a one-of-a-kind painting that speaks to the fading of a treasured past. 


While there are new species being discovered every day, there are twice as many that are endangered and are being threatened into extinction.  Every detail in my paintings gives my subjects a reason to stay a while longer.  When I dive into my paintings, I am diving beneath the surface to bring these sea creatures and their stories to light.  I aim to captivate and draw in the viewer by capturing the wonders and the hardships our oceans face.