A year of wedding painting

Photo credit: Sally, Capture Weddings

I’ve been an event and wedding illustrator for over a year now, so I thought it would be the perfect time to reflect on some of the wonderful weddings I’ve painted at in 2023.

Devon wedding artist

Image credit: Lee Maxwell Photography

As a Devon-based wedding illustrator, I’ve attended some beautiful venues across the county!

One of the most spectacular weddings I was booked for was that of Murphy and Sam at Mount Folly Farm in the South Hams. Set atop a hill, overlooking Burgh Island and Bigbury, the view couldn’t have been more impressive. It was one of the hottest days of the year – the groom and his groomsmen even took a pre-ceremony dip in the sea!

Middle image credit: Sally, Capture Weddings | Right image credit: Lee Maxwell

For me, as a Devon wedding painter, the panoramic backdrop to the ceremony was a dream to paint – the colours of the water and the flowers worked so well together. I was set up right at the heart of the action, which is the best place to be! I painted guests all day, and completed the couple’s ceremony painting during the meal. After that, it was back to guest portraits, and the cool evening air was a welcome tonic while the guests danced into the night.

Image credit: Sally, Capture Weddings

“We can’t thank Clare enough. Our guests were so happy with the gorgeous paintings and we were even happier with ours. What a way to capture the day. Would absolutely encourage anyone planning a wedding or event to have Clare there!”


At the other end of the weather spectrum was Jasmine and Stephen’s wedding at Ashbarton Estate in North Devon. But despite the rain, nothing was going to dampen this lovely couple’s spirits, and the vibrancy and energy of the wedding party alone was enough to make it the most fabulous day (I mean, the bridal parties pyjamas were bright pink and they were sporting white sunglasses and matching water bottles – the fact the new Barbie film was released that week was just a happy coincidence!).

I loved being there for the whole day, starting the morning sketching both the bridal party and the groomsmen, then attending the ceremony, painting oodles of guest portraits, and working on the couple’s confetti illustration while guests ate.

The day made the most of the fantastic indoor spaces at Ashbarton Estate, with guests flowing between the old chapel, the threshing barn and ending up in the Big Barn for the meal and party… and party they did, late into the night! One thing I love about painting at weddings is chatting to everyone! Having spent so long with the couple and their guests, they felt like old friends.

“You are absolutely incredible, the guests loved you! Thank you so much for joining our wedding and sharing your talent with us, you captured our day perfectly, even better than I could have imagined!”


UK wedding artist

Image credit: Jude Photography

I only have capacity to attend a few weddings a year outside of the South West of England, but when I have done, they’ve been phenomenal!

The furthest wedding I attended this year was Olivia and Brad’s big day at Baddow Park House in Essex, five hours from my North Devon home. My parents came along for the ride and we stayed in a cute little Airbnb for a couple of nights either side of the wedding. 

The venue is absolutely stunning, and it was a surprisingly warm and sunny day for October, making the beautiful grounds the perfect spot for the ceremony. I was booked for the whole day, during which I painted the confetti throwing for the couple, and portraits of over 60 guests – more than I’ve ever painted before!

Olivia and Brad were so gracious and kind, it was a real treat to be a part of their day.

Event illustrator

Appledore Book Festival: I painted Ruth Jones (Nessa from Gavin and Stacey), author Lisa Jewell, and actor Hugh Bonneville, among many others!

I’ve had a blast at all the other lovely weddings I’ve painted at in 2023, and in addition to weddings, I’ve had the pleasure of painting at some brilliant events too! I was Artist in Residence at the renowned Appledore Book Festival for 10 days in September – I’ll go into more detail in another blog post, but it’s safe to say it was an exhaustingly busy but amazingly rewarding sprint.

“This is genuinely one of the most wonderful things that’s ever happened to me at an event! I’m blown away by how brilliant you are!”

Author Lisa Jewell, about my live painting

I’ve also been a live portrait painter at a number of other Devon events, including Bideford Water Festival and Appledore Family Fun Day.

What’s next for me as a wedding artist?

Image credit: Jude Photography

I am super excited about heading into 2024 as an experienced Devon wedding painter, and can’t wait to head out with my easel across the South West to be a part of more couples’ special days. It has been so lovely to experience such gratitude from my couples this year, and the feeling I get from seeing people’s faces light up when I give them my portraits makes it well worth all the hard work!

“I just wanted to say thank you so much for yesterday! I had so many compliments saying how amazing your work is! I absolutely loved the picture of Andy and I, it’s incredible!”


Looking for a wedding artist in Devon, Cornwall or Somerset?

As a South West-based wedding artist, I’ve travelled to some of the most stunning venues in Devon, Cornwall and Somerset in the past year, and I can’t wait to paint at even more in the new year! 

My 2024 dates are booking up very quickly and I’m already at capacity for some months. If you’re looking for a wedding artist in Devon, Cornwall, Somerset or further afield, please get in touch to secure your date as soon as possible. I am now also starting to take bookings for 2025, which is crazy to think!

I fit in my wedding painting business around my family, and my very supportive partner has been solo parenting more so I can say yes to as many couples as possible. My youngest daughter started school this year, which has allowed me to paint at weekday weddings too and expand other areas of my art business. 

Book me as your wedding painter

Please get in touch via my contact form today – all enquiries are very welcome – keep your questions coming!


    Appledore Book Festival

    Artist in Residence 2023

    I am absolutely delighted to let you know that I will be this year’s Artist in Residence at Appledore Book Festival, following in the footsteps of fabulous artist, Debs Last, who was the festival’s first ever Artist in Residence last year.

    The festival takes place from 15 – 24 September, and I will be live painting at many of the author talks. This is a really exciting opportunity for me and I can’t wait to be part of the event!

    I am looking forward to setting up my easel and painting the authors and other speakers as they talk, producing original sketches which will be available to buy immediately after the talk. Part of the money raised from these sales will go towards the Appledore Book Festival charity which supports the local community and helps run their Schools Week Programme.

    I will also be painting live portraits of members of the audience after some of the events, and during the Family Fun day on 16th September.

    As part of the festival, I will be running a couple of painting workshops, details of which are below.

    Friday 15th September: Appledore Sketch Walk | 4pm-5.30pm | £18

    Saturday 16th September: Live portrait painting at the Family Fun Day | 10.30am – 3pm

    Friday 22nd September: Sip ‘n’ Paint (Book Festival version!) | 6pm – 8.15pm | £25

    Tickets for all of these events and more are now available to book via the Appledore Book Festival website – please visit the link below.


    Sip ‘n’ Paint Workshop

    Johns of Instow | 15th June 2023 | 6pm – 8.15pm | £40pp

    I’m very excited to have teamed up with Johns of Instow to launch the very first Sip ‘n’ Paint evening workshop in their lovely cafe/deli! Fuelled by a tasty gin and tonic (non-alcoholic alternatives available) and a selection of mouthwatering nibbles, we will be painting the beautiful view over to Appledore in watercolour.

    I will be guiding you through the process step by step as you sip on your tipple, being careful not to dunk your brush in it! It will be a lovely, creative evening, and you’ll go home with a painting to be proud of.

    Don’t be shy! This workshop is for everyone, whether you’ve never picked up a paintbrush or you already love to paint. I will teach you everything you need to know to produce a painting similar to this one.

    All materials will be provided, just turn up to be inspired!

    Please book on the Johns website by clicking the button below.


    Wedding Artist

    Live wedding artist

    Last year I worked as an artist at my very first live events and absolutely loved it!

    The hottest day of the year was the first wedding I painted at, with over 200 guests. The venue, overlooking Noss Mayo near Plymouth, was truly stunning and I had so much fun capturing sketches throughout the morning, and painting guests portraits all afternoon.

    Live wedding artist

    I was delighted to have been invited to be a part of the couple’s special day, and after attending several more events as a live portrait artist, I decided to start marketing my services as a live wedding artist/event illustrator.

    Live portrait artist

    It’s a unique, and fun form of entertainment at a wedding or event, and gives the guests and newlyweds a personal piece of original art to remind them of the special day.

    To find out more about the creative services I offer, please take a look at my information page.


    Burton Christmas Exhibition

    Clare Willcocks at the Burton Art Gallery Annual Christmas Open Exhibition

    I was delighted to find out that my painting ‘Sea Glass’ was accepted into The Burton Gallery and Museum‘s Christmas Open Exhibition.

    Sea Glass

    The annual exhibition received an unprecedented number of submissions, so I’m very happy that mine was chosen to feature alongside work from other professional and amateur artists.

    The standard of work in the exhibition is exceptional, so I recommend going to have a look around if you’re in the Bideford area before Christmas.

    The exhibition runs until 24th December, all artworks are for sale.

    Address: The Burton Art Gallery and Museum, Kingsley Road, Bideford, Devon, EX39 2QQ


    Devon Open Studios

    10th – 25th September | Tadworthy Tower, Northam, EX39 1JN

    Myself and my lovely friend and fellow artist, Josie Grant, will be taking part in Devon Open Studios for the first time this year.

    We will be exhibiting our work in Tadworthy Tower*, a beautiful, historic cottage in Northam, just a stone’s throw from the Northam Burrows Country Park and beach.

    Josie’s moving and inspiring lino prints will sit alongside my original paintings, including my Wave Collection of oil paintings which will be making its debut at the event. Our curated collection of local scenes, ocean-inspired art, and emotive lino prints ensures there’s something for everyone.

    We will also have broad selection of art prints, cards and postcards featuring our work – perfect if you’re looking for a gift, or a treat for yourself!

    We’ll have the kettle on and cake at the ready, so do pop by to say hello and have a browse! We can’t wait to meet you!

    Emerging Artist Bursary

    I’m delighted to have been selected to receive an Emerging Artist Bursary Award from Devon Artist Network. This exciting award is designed to help five selected artists take the next steps in their career, and I’m looking forward to the opportunities it brings.

    Advance Viewing

    My Wave Collection will be released to my newsletter subscribers 48 hours in advance of the start of Devon Open Studios. Please sign up to my newsletter if you’d like exclusive access.

    *Please note, the venue has slightly changed from that indicated in the brochure – we will no longer be exhibiting in the conservatory of Tadworthy House, but instead in Tadworthy Tower, right next door.


    Bucks Mills Artist Residency

    Recently, I was fortunate enough to be Artist in Residence for a weekend at the National Trust’s Bucks Mills Cabin. It was a wonderfully creative and relaxing weekend spent sketching, painting and gathering inspiration.

    I’m ashamed to say that I knew little to none about artists Judith Ackland and Mary Stella Edwards, former owners of the cabin, before my residency, but finding out all about them has been fascinating. There’s an informative film about the pair, part of the ‘Out and about: Queering the Museum’ project, which takes a deep dive into their lives and works – it’s worth a watch if you’re interested in finding out more.

    During my time at Bucks Mills, I compiled a sketchbook of snapshots, views and people I felt inspired to paint. I completed the sketchbook at home, and filled it with an account of my experience.

    Below you can see the sketches and paintings I made during my residency at the cabin, and read the words I wrote in my sketchbook.

    “Bucks Mills Cabin is a tiny little stone built dwelling, tucked away on the steep slope down to the pebble beach. Once owned by respected artists Mary Stella Edwards and Judith Ackland, the cabin is now under the care of the National Trust, and used primarily for artist residencies, which is how I came to spend a weekend in this idyllic location.” 

    “Twist the key in the old-style lock, push open the door, step over the threshold and you enter a tiny room, caught in time. A little round table sits in the window, a tiny cooker to one side, and next to that a small wood burning stove. Crooked shelves hold cups, teapots and all manner of receptacles, and a small pantry is bursting with pots, pans and kitchenware.”

    “Upstairs – a little bed and a bureau with boxes of paints, paintbrushes and odds and ends such as cutlery and a jelly mould. Another wood burner would have once heated the room, and the window, like downstairs, looks out over the turquoise sea. On the horizon is Lundy, and along the coast the white houses of Clovelly tumbling down the cliffs to the harbour.”

    “My weekend here was blissful, sketching, painting, taking reference photos and relaxing into my surroundings. On Sunday, I spent a joyous sunny morning painting in gouache down on the beach before heading back up to continue in the cool sanctuary of the cabin. I had numerous visitors, intrigued to discover what was inside, having ‘walked past many times, but never been in’. It was a privilege to be able to share the space with them. It’s not hard to see why Mary Stella and Judith, who were life partners, were determined to buy the cabin when it came up for auction, and why they spent months at a time living and creating here.”

    “One man told me that his father and grandfather both used to come down to the beach as children. Their time here may have overlapped with Mary Stella and Judith. It got me thinking about the many people who have enjoyed Bucks Mills throughout history. There were certainly lots of people about the weekend I was there, stopping off while walking the coast path; holidaying at the nearby caravan park; or staying in the village. Some were local, some looking to move here, some even visiting from abroad. I sold a few prints during my residency, and I was delighted to hear that one was heading over to ‘granny’ in New Zealand, and another reminded its new owner of the ocean around her native Zanzibar. People watching was almost as interesting as chatting to the lovely visitors who popped their heads into the cabin. Down on the beach, families were swimming and sunbathing, couples were deep in conversation. I watched, listened and soaked it all in. I wonder how different the scene may have been 100 years ago. Besides fashion, for once, perhaps, it may not have been so very different at all.” 

    “Back up the hill from the cabin, I spent some time sketching in the olde-worlde village with its thatched rooves, foliage arches and the stream which fills the air with the constant soothing sound of trickling water. The dappled shade from the trees was welcome on my way back to the car.”

    “I left Bucks Mills with a sketchbook full of sketches, a finished painting and a sense of calm that only a weekend of painting in a beautiful place (and time off from parenting two small children!) can instill.”

    “Bucks Mills Cabin is a special place, and I’m thankful to Mary Stella and Judith for buying it, enjoying it, and donating it for other artists and creatives to experience its magic.”

    I will be exhibiting the above painting during Devon Open Studios from 10th – 25th September 2022, when it will be available for purchase. There will also be the opportunity to look through my original sketchbooks.