Claire Billson, artist

Claire Billson
Artist Claire Billson with the Sai Kung Magazine Christmas Cover she painted

I am an artist. A few years ago, I took it up full time. I’m passionate about my art. I used to be a barrister and as much as I love the intellectual challenge, I wanted something more peaceful and more flexible.

My husband, an architect, designed and built our house in Ta Ku Ling San Tsuen. We moved to Sai Kung 15 years ago when our son, James, was born. I stopped working whilst my children grew up. I love the normality of life here. We can live in a house with a garden. We can step out of the house and be in the hills.

I have always loved art and have always sketched and painted. I didn’t study it at school and I initially did not intend to make a career out of it as I had no idea if anyone would buy it.

I work mostly in oils and I don’t really stick to a particular style. The subject almost leads me to how I am going to paint it. My first exhibition was at the Contemporary Art Show. I sold a lot and even more encouragingly, the feedback I had was amazing.

My Ground Level series was my first serious attempt. It was done with a palette knife, which, hopefully reflects the immediacy of the objects. I loved capturing the movement of the workers and highlighting the great work that they do. Luckily people, not just family and friends, loved it.

The series I am currently working on is all about the gorgeous heavy silks of traditional Asian dress – mostly Korean Hanboks at the moment. This is done with a brush to capture the glowing richness of the fabrics.

Claire Billson painting
One of Claire’s paintings of Korean traditional dress, or ‘hanboks’

Painting is a very solitary thing to do. Sai Kung has the potential to be a great art hub but needs to avoid the ‘parochial’ label. You just have to keep doing it. Keep painting, drawing or sculpting. Knock on every door you can find to get advice and opinions.

Each time someone buys a piece I get a thrill. I am still amazed that people want to buy my work.