Claire Wiltsher was born in Wales. She studied at Lancashire University as a mature student (1986-89). During this time, she was a finalist in the Reader's Digest young illustrators competition, and had already secured exhibitions before finishing her degree. She later trained as a Lecturer in Art, and while teaching in Durham, completed her MA at Northumbria University in Fine Art (1999).
Claire’s oil and mixed media canvases combine layers of paint with fragments of collage. She scratches through sections of the painting to allow colours from underneath to emerge. “I want to create evocative paintings of land and sea that show a sense of place; different weather conditions are key elements”. Claire uses brushes and different size palette knives to build up layers and create depth. Paint is also flicked or carefully thrown on selected areas, evidence of this can be found all over her studio floor! . Claire's work has ambiguous elements as she believes that “total recognition inhibits the imagination” however, at the same time, she works with strong structural compositions more often than not using a square format which she feels is important in creating a balance and harmony in her paintings. Inspiration comes from the outdoors, walking and travelling, and poems often accompany Claire's work to help communicate specific ideas.
Claire’s distinctive semi-abstract paintings have received national recognition and acclaim. In 2010 her forest landscape ‘’Winter snowstorm’ gained her the Rosemary & Co Award from the Society of Women Artists. In 2011 two forest landscapes were selected by the House of Lords Works of Art Committee for acquisition by the House's permanent collection. In 2012 rising demand for Claire’s landscapes and seascapes led to her giving up her part-time job as an Art Lecturer to work full-time as a professional artist. In 2018, Claire received the Artists and Illustrators award ‘Artist of the Year’.