After Elizabeth Elkin's vibrant oil painting, “Paris Sketch” won first prize at a recent art show, she recalls the impact travelling through France had on her life.
“It was my dream to go to Paris, I wanted to go there for a very long time,” says the Oakville resident.
In 2007, Elizabeth discovered the city, visited galleries and museums, and learned more about French culture. But her trip to Paris would not have been complete until she saw the city from above.
“I started to paint cityscapes and rooftops, so when I was in Paris it was a great opportunity for me to go to the top of the town and take photos at the Eiffel Tower, Bell Tower or Notre Dame,” she explains. “When I used my camera, I chose the position because I already knew what I wanted to paint.”
“Paris Sketch” ““ an abstract depiction of the cityscape ““ was one of many she painted after her travels and the one she selected for Colour and Form Society's 61st Annual Open Juried Exhibition at the Etobicoke Civic Centre Art Gallery.
“Every year I paint Paris roof tops, especially on Christmas day. I have a feeling inside of me to paint the city,” she says, “it's very romantic.”
Currently Elkin's work is on exhibit at the Ontario Society of Artists, Members Exhibition of Selected Works until March 23, 2014 at Toronto's The Papermill Gallery, Todmorden Mills Heritage Site, 67 Pottery Road. Her artwork is also at Ottawa's Carmel Art Gallery and England's online gallery, Saatchi Art.
The Oakville artist has been painting for 35 years, but previously worked in the commercial field as a graphic designer. Her style has been influenced by Vincent Van Gogh, Pablo Picasso, Lucian Freud because of his “expressive brush stroke and craftsmanship” and Gerhard Richter's work with abstraction. Her favourite artists become subjects of her portraits like Freud, in which she reveals her skilled palette knife techniques.
Elkin's artwork is displayed in national collections including The Government of Ontario Art Collection, University of Ottawa, and University of Toronto, and internationally at Israel's Haifa University.
The artist continues to develop her techniques and branch out. “I wanted to move to a more abstract direction in my painting and it was very challenging for me to paint in an unusual way,” she explains. “I like diversity and change; I don't want to do the same thing all the time.”
This is reflected in her portfolio consisting of more than 600 representations of landscapes, cityscapes, figures, portraits and still life. Elizabeth experiments with various forms including: realism, expressionism, cubism and abstraction, and different mediums like collage and ink, and acrylics at her home studio.
“When I turned to abstract, I thought “˜before I go to canvas I need to use paper,' so I tried to experiment with all kinds of paper like Yupo. It's unique and it gives me unpredictable effects,” says the renowned artist about the eco-friendly, synthetic alternative.
An active participant in Oakville's arts community, Elkin was an Oakville Arts Council Finalist for the 2013 Cogeco Stars Among Us Arts Awards, received the 2012 Jurors' Honorable Mentions Award at Oakville's ArtWorks Annual Juried Show and in 2011, ArtWorks' Prize Award for Best Painting.
Travel continues to be a source of inspiration for Elkin. Last fall, she and a group of artists explored picturesque Killarney Provincial Park on the north shore of Georgian Bay to paint landscapes. “Killarney is amazing and the weather in September was beautiful. I plan to go again next year to see the amazing sites!”
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