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About Cleur

Inspiration

I love being outdoors, going on walks, with my sketch pad and pencil or camera in hand. For me, it’s the ultimate form of relaxation and inspiration. Walking along the banks of the river IJssel near Wijhe or the Waddenzee, I can blend in with the landscape and be overwhelmed by the details of nature. A vast landscape around me, wind in my hair, sunlight reflected on the water, a feather, a path to follow.

I try to capture in images the things that inspire or amaze me on my journey, to keep hold of this feeling of wonder and to share It with others. I process the images I collect on the way in detailed pencil drawings and woodblock prints.

I create these woodblock prints using the reduction method, where one plate of wood is used for a print in several colors. It’s a constant process of alternately printing and cutting, whereby I determine in advance the number of prints I will make. I’ll start by printing the lightest color, then I cut away the parts that have to retain that light color. I repeat this process until the print is ready, each of my woodblock prints taking an average of 10 to 15 print runs.

I enjoy the slow process of making a woodblock print and the focused attention the gouging of the wood demands. They give me peace of mind, as is also reflected in the subjects I choose.

Distant landscapes

I was born in 1976 in Scheemda, a small village in the north of the Netherlands. My interest in distant, wide landscapes was likely triggered while cycling through the wide-open terrain to secondary school in Winschoten.

I graduated from the Academy of Fine Arts of Groningen in Holland in 1998. After that, I worked as a graphic designer for ten years for various architectural firms. And in 2008 I started my own company as a freelancer: Cleur, illustration & design. My fascination for printing techniques led to my enrolling for a summer course in Printmaking at the Classical Academy in Groningen in 2013 – an exceptionally intensive and informative week, during which I came to the realization that my heart lies with the woodblock printing technique. My focus shifted from design work to woodblock printing and for almost four years I was an instructor in printing techniques at the Academy of Fine Arts in Zwolle. Today I focus entirely on woodblock printing, with birds and nature as my subjects of interest.

I live with my husband in Wijhe, a village by the river IJssel, in the east of the Netherlands, where my studio looks out onto the river and birdlife, constant sources of inspiration for my work.

Member of Grafiekplatform en Holt, vereniging der Noordelijke Houtdrukkers.

More information on my Linkedin page

Claudia van de Leur