Lydia Leigh Clarke




big sur300.kl


golden eagle 2015



road view

mt. hood 300

lydia-jon cyn2

los angeles:sfv

hawaii coast1

no. california

yellow mtn:elec.

venice beach


usa unterwegs

born in Los Angeles, California, USA
raised in Tujunga, L.A. County
Bachelor of Arts, Speech Communication
California State University, Northridge
1978-83 Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra Publicity Department
1983 move to Germany / Umzug nach Deutschland
1984-88 painting studies / Malschule Paul Pollock, Freiburg

since 1988 self-employed artist / seit 1988 selbständig künstlerisch tätig
mother, two sons / mutter zweier söhne

1995-2016 painting studio in the „Rooms for Art and Therapy“, Freiburg /Leiterin des Malateliers in den „Räume für Kunst und Therapie“, Freiburg
since 2016 studio located in Emmendingen
Professional Assn. of Fine Arts / BBK Mitglied


impressions… I remember snow falling once when I was four, but by the time I ran outside to inspect it, most of it had already melted. I was always delighted when the winter weather was cool enough to be able to wear a wool knit sweater and some kind of tweed, but there were some Christmases spent in 30° C heat.

I was born in Los Angeles, California to musician parents in 1954, the last of six children. Our family moved to Tujunga, a small town then praised for its fresh mountain air, four years before my birth. It was a place for odd people and people who wanted to stay to themselves. In our neighborhood there were artists, small horse ranchers, a woman who shared her two-room flat with fifty cats, the city editor of a large Los Angeles newspaper, and two ancient sisters in their perfectly kept villa. Tujunga was the home of the Hell’s Angels when I was quite young, later hippies, and briefly in the Woodstock days, the base for the traveling Hog Farm.

Our house was inexpensive and large enough for all of us. It had been built originally as an artist’s atelier – a brick room with a fireplace, which was then added on to, room by room, by the following owners. By the time we moved in, it had five bedrooms, a living room, kitchen and dining room, and a huge backyard which was the mountain. It had no proper plumbing, but it had space enough for all of us, and I loved it. My parents added one more room, perhaps for them the most important, the music room.

I knew early on that I was no musician. There was too much competition in the family to even think of it. There were three singers: my father a baritone, mother a soprano, and sister Sally was already a successful soprano doing film and studio work by the time I was 9. Charles, a brilliant musician, played french horn and piano. Jon, four years older than I and the sibling nearest in age, played his first solo oboe concerto at the age of 12.

My sister Vickie is a set designer, photographer, painter and writer. She traveled around the world as a young woman in the 1960s, starting in France on a motorcycle and following a now impossible route over Afghanistan, India, then Japan. After a year of travel, she and her friend Mary hitched a ride on a trawler from Japan back to Long Beach, California where I remember my father and I picking them up at their arrival. I was five or six years old, and could hardly contain my excitement watching that huge open-water „tug“ boat pull into the harbor with my sister on it.

Mike, my oldest brother, was 17 when I was born – apparently a difficult age to have a pregnant mother. He married young (I was the five year old flower girl at his wedding) and over the years worked in Sales for different companies, as well as owning his own computer company.

I think I spent most of my childhood outdoors, exploring the mountain, climbing trees and building forts. My memories are filled with the dry, rich smells of sage and rosemary, sticky bushes clinging to my clothes and skin, and having to brush out the burrs from my long hair in the evening. The mountain was filled with wonders. I knew where to dig for Indian red clay, where to find petrified wood, and where poison ivy grew. I knew on which rocks the lizards liked the sun best, where the horned lizards hid, and when the snakes might be out. I listened to the coyotes in winter, I had seen the great horned owl sitting on the crown of the cypress tree in our garden one or two nights every summer and heard the stray crickets in our living room. I used a clock to time how quickly my brothers could run from the peak of the mountain down to our house without breaking any arms or legs, and smelled the pungent eucalyptus tree outside my bedroom window after the spare winter rain.

During the first months spent in Europe, I ached for my family and friends, for the hot climate and the sun setting over the ocean. I slept a deep sleep and mornings, when I awoke, I could smell the earth and plants of California and feel the dry air bathing them. I still catch sight of that life now and then, held firmly in time.