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Handcrafted in Turner Valley, Alberta, Canada

Interview with the Artist: Claire Markle


  1. 1. Where were you born and raised?

I was born in Blairmore, Alberta but spent the majority of my growing up in High River.

  1. How did you first get into art?

I have always been a visual person but it wasn’t until Grade 10 art class at Highwood High School that I genuinely started to realize that I loved it as well as had a talent. My teacher K.C  Jones pushed me out of my comfort zone back then which was the perfect start.

  1. What is your artistic training?

I did 2 years at the Alberta College of Art and Design in Calgary and then took 3 years off. I recently completed my last 2 years of a Bachelor of Fine arts at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design in Halifax.

  1. How did you hear about Eau Claire Distillery?

I heard about it from a friend a couple of years ago.  Our friendship is primarily based on art and single malt whisky so naturally we had to check it out.

  1. What made you apply for the artist call?

During my very first visit to the distillery the labels instantly caught my eye.  I was with a friend who also immediately acknowledged that the artwork was along the lines of what I generally do, so when I saw the call for artists on Instagram I jumped on the opportunity.  I was working the summer up at a fly in fishing lodge on Scott Lake at the time, so it was a process to make it all work.

  1. What did you think when you had been chosen to create the artwork?

Obviously beyond excited!  I honestly figured that someone else had been chosen since it had been a week without hearing anything, so when the email did come it was totally unexpected.  I was initially nervous about how to start but then realizing I was chosen based on my current artwork the nerves subsided.

  1. How would you describe your personal artistic style?

My “style” or medium tends to vary but it does generally adhere to a common concept.  I am drawn to the feeling of nostalgia and that feeling is inherently found in images of anthropomorphized animals. Employing a certain nostalgia found within old stories and fables, my work pushes to satirize many aspects of human nature.  I have gone from small intaglio prints of rabbits to water colours such as the one you see on the whisky label, all the way to extremely large scale painting/drawings of animals in human situations.

  1. How did you decide to paint what you did?

I wanted to encompass some of the irony that is usually a part of my work as well as the use of the animals carrying out human actions.  After a number of different sketches and conversing with David and Chelsea we decided the horses were also a necessary component.

  1. Was the painting something you would typically paint?

For the most part this was something very conducive to my practice.  Having the horses in their regular roll as working animals was the only thing that I wouldn’t typically veer towards but I think it is an interesting situation having the humanized fox in the same image.

  1. Why did you use the colours you used?

I have done previous foxes in watercolour as planning stages for a larger painting.  The colour was more just a quick way of sketching that really worked out aesthetically in my favour. Using the complimentary colours such as purple and blue as the darker tones really makes the orange of the fox stand out.

  1. Can you explain your connection to Eau Claire Distillery?

My grandfather, Roger McDonald had always been involved with the Bar U , for as long as I can remember.  I thought this was a good start or at least a connection.  It wasn’t until the Bar U threshing and meeting David that I found out he knew my mom as well,  having thrown hay bails together many years ago.

  1. Where can people find your other work?

Claire Markle Fine Art on Facebook

  1. Are you excited to try the whisky?

I am so excited to try it! I have been waiting for a long time, as has everyone else that will be lucky enough to get a taste.

  1. What will you do with the bottles you receive?

I’ll definitely be keeping at least one for myself.  Otherwise, the friends who have supported my whisky habit up until this point will get a bottle as well as my parents.  I’ll be taking one bottle with me back to Scott Lake Lodge next summer.  All the individuals I worked with there were around for the process and the progress so I know they will appreciate the whisky and the art.

  1. If you were a social animal what animal would you be?

A Hare, timid but a solid personality


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