Lancashire Times
A Voice of the Free Press
Caroline Spalding
Features Correspondent
9:13 AM 10th August 2020

Artistry Of Lancashire: Maria Clancy

Family Ties
Family Ties
Maria Clancy is an artist based on the Yorkshire/Lancashire border whose work reflects the things she admires and adores. Her medium of choice is usually watercolour: she enjoys its wilful unpredictability and has come to love it despite its notoriety as being an unforgiving medium. Her subject matter are the strange bedfellows that are animals and vehicles.

She has always had an interest in drawing, beginning from a young age to draw in graphite pencils. Now, particularly for her animal pieces, she also uses pastels as they are perfect for creating the effect of fur. Her choice of colours is intended to enrich the subject and with animals, she works to capture the essence of the creature, perhaps even their characteristics, so that they are familiar to those who know them. Maria works predominantly on commission, and it was by happy accident that she discovered her talent for and interest in drawing vehicles. She was asked to create a painting of a Series 1 Land Rover for a local restorer and unfazed by the level of detail required, especially for a subject matter expert as a customer, she came to love the precision required.

Maria Clancy
Maria Clancy
This has led to her running workshops at the British Motor Museum which brings the additional benefit to Maria in indulging her love of cars. Having driven a Porsche race car before even passing her driving test, it seems fitting that in 2019 she completed a commission at Brands Hatch during the final of the Porsche Club Race Series.

Maria is not a full-time artist, balancing it with another career and her progress as an artist has been helped and shaped by timely encounters. She had initially approached a local gallery who were hosting an open exhibition, where she met the artist Sara Abbott, who had for years been Harrods’ in-house pet portrait artist. Sara supported Maria in building her confidence as an artist, developing it as a business and Maria has since broadened her network through her work on the Todmorden Open Studios Committee. The towns of Todmorden and Hebden Bridge are renowned for their creativity and together with some exceptional galleries, there is also a rich network of diverse local artists and makers with whom Maria has worked and supported as a committee member.

Two's Company
Two's Company
Having moved to the area over 30 years ago from London, Maria has come to love the local countryside and the farming community into which she immersed herself. She hopes that her paintings convey this passion. Her paintings are, as said, about what she knows and loves, which she feels renders them genuine. But she also draws influence and inspiration from other artists she admires. The equestrian artist, Sally Martin, can capture the movement of horses precisely; her pictures, Maria says, are beautiful and simple without compromising anatomical correctness. The work of Thomas W Schaller, a former US architect and now an acclaimed watercolour master inspires Maria to keep improving her own work. He says he “paints the light” to bring moments to life, Maria in turn aims to do the same in her own paintings, using a natural and serene colour palette. She too has a passion for architecture and intends to add to her portfolio a series of “gracefully ageing buildings” which for now she is constructing in her imagination.

Her own style, she says, is still evolving but her work is probably recognisable through the colour choice – she has her favourites which will unintentionally recur, but which also complement one another; creating a harmony within a collection.

She has been fortunate to continue working throughout the lockdown period, but in addition to both her jobs and her dedication to her horses, she has also found time to learn more about issues of diversity as she has been motivated by recent events to make informed steps toward building a more humanitarian future.

Maria believes that art can make personal space more joyful, that it can motivate and inspire, even provoke debate. She believes for many it gives the chance to escape from everyday frustrations, and the growth of workshops both online and offline, as well as the rising popularity of adult colouring books, show that people do turn to art in an attempt to restore some balance in life. She feels this demonstrates how art changes and evolves to meet the needs of those who appreciate it.

She says “Art connects with our emotions, evoking memories and articulating our hopes, dreams and desires more eloquently that our words ever could. Original art represents a little modern-day magic: what was before a blank space becomes a thing of beauty, fashioned from nothing in a style unique to its creator who infuses it with a little of their soul.”

Maria’s work can be viewed and purchased through her website:, her Facebook page:, in the following galleries: Earth Spirit in Hebden Bridge, and Number Ten Gallery in Rochdale and also at the Staff of Life Inn at Eagle’s Crag, Todmorden. Her work is shown in the Harbour Gallery of Jersey and she takes a stall at the annual Vintage Car event in Hebden Bridge.