Serene, lovely, full of emotion … Ela’s artwork has the ability to transport you to a beautiful place. This extremely talented local artist has her roots in Poland, but now calls Coomba Park home. Ela’s vision is to encourage young people to “paint a better world”, as she believes art can enrich lives …
Hi Ela. You were brought up in Poland … Describe where you lived and how your childhood helped to develop your creativity …
I lived in Warsaw ‘til I was 21. As a child, I always drew, painted, and I knew then that art was my calling. When I “grew up”, art went on hold … As most people do, I concentrated on family and work.
You completed a national Diploma in Design (Photography). Where and when did you complete these studies?
I moved to England, Brighton specifically, which gave me an opportunity to go to college. I do enjoy challenge, so I combined study with bringing up two young children. I practiced photography on them (portraiture, candid, set ups) and they are now “scarred” for life with a camera!
Tell us a little about your background in the world …
I had a professional studio; I did mainly portraiture, children and some portfolios for prospective models. I never made it big in this business, but I did win some prizes in national and regional photographic competitions. This was great, but photography is very technical, and I was missing the freedom you have with painting.
What then led you to turn your talent towards painting, rather than photography?
… and this led me back to my childhood passion for painting and creating an image that comes from the heart. Just some paints, brushes, and off I go. It is fantastically freeing experience; I am in a realm of creativity and imagination. “Creating” means making something new, so I do not copy anything; I take its elements, energy, colours and shades, and I add my input to it to make something new.
What is it that most inspires you about art?
Art is a communication. I love to see when artists communicate a positive message, as this powerful medium is creative; the more attention we put on positive aspects, the more positivity we will experience.
I believe this can be achieved by showing the beauty and lightness of a butterfly, the strength of a tree that grows to give us oxygen portrayed in a pleasing image like the stunning colours of a sunset, or a lily that shimmers in the morning sun.
We can be inspired by the incredible attributes of the world around us, but only if we can see it. Artists have a role to play here. They can provide some clues and viewpoints that take us away from the everyday perspective, thus leading our imagination to create what we truly want to experience.
Describe some of your artworks … What mediums/techniques do you most like to use (and why)?
I take my cue from the beautiful nature; its energy is my inspiration. You will see a painting that describes a positive energy in plants, landscapes and people. I call my artwork “Expressionism” – art that is derived from the artist’s heart and flows his or her energy into the work. I express on canvas what I feel about.
Oil paints are my preferred medium, as these produce a depth that is unsurpassed by anything else, even though that it is a lengthy process because of its slow drying. More so, as I paint many layers to produce the final image.
Many say art has the power to enrich people’s lives. What’s your opinion about this?
Yes, absolutely. We do not live on the bread alone. We have the physical needs and the spiritual needs; art goes to satisfy the human spirit. It is enriching, because as we progress on the evolution scale, we love to surround ourselves with beautiful things. These could be flowers in our garden, the view from our window (some pay millions for it), painting, sculpture or whatever an individual would consider worth looking at. Only man has the capacity to appreciate beauty; whereas, the animal kingdom is just practical. Man is practical and spiritual.
Some people tell me that they do not understand art and if they were to buy something, what should they buy? My only answer is, regardless if you have a $200 or $20,000, buy a piece that you are going to enjoy looking at – a piece that gives you a good feeling and you will not get bored with. This is not an investment advice.
What would be the use of buying work that makes you feel uncomfortable or even negative? Some great artists tend to paint dark, negative subjects. Those could be purchased as an investment, but better not hang them where you look at them every day. It’s best to surround ourselves with positive images, positive energy, and positive friends.
What are some of the exhibitions you’ve been involved with?
I took part in numerous joint exhibitions in Australia (Campbelltown Art Gallery, Camden, Canberra) as well as a few solo exhibitions mainly in Canberra and Sydney, two in the Arthouse Hotel, Sydney. One was in Vienna (Austria) that my wonderful agent, Renate, organised. There was a small exhibition in Warsaw, my birth town. Exhibiting is expensive, and profits are not always possible unless you are a “big name”.
However, I like to paint and get my work out there, and I am looking for more opportunity locally.
Possibly my biggest break just happened a few days ago, as I got in to a book project, where 100 “promising” or established artists showcase their work.
You have a website: DownUnderArt.com.au – what is the purpose of this site, and who are the other featured artists?
I have a dream to turn this website into a showplace for many artists in Australia; however, I am not a website guru, and this project is an idea at the moment. I added two friends as a start. One day soon, I will meet the right person to take this project forward.
Are you available for commission work, and where are people able to contact you/find out more?
Commissions are always welcome.
I will be sending out monthly newsletters with pictures of my latest work; if anybody is interested in receiving them, please send me an email to ela@DownUnderArt.com.au (or a simpler one is: firstname.lastname@example.org).
At the moment I am painting and studying a degree course, so this keeps me busy, but in the future I intend to have an art group in my to-be-built home in beautiful Coomba Park.
I am also open to participating in art projects, especially for young people. One of my ideas is to organise and run a major art competition for children and young people, with the theme “paint a better world”. I believe in encouraging youngsters to contemplate and illustrate how they would like to see their world and thus include them in the creative process. After all, this is their world, too. I feel that we adults did not make it as good as it should be – we are eating food that does not nourish us, drinking water that is not live and clean. We’re polluting the planet, buying a lot of stuff that we do not really need … and the politicians are squabbling like kids, corporations run the show … You get my meaning! We can do better, and I like to be involved in this process.