by Rebecca Thomson | Dec 5, 2019
We are delighted to have artist Elaine Sloan, otherwise known as @SkylarkArtist as our guest artist in this month’s Blog. She has contributed to TAE since 2016 and has deep love for art. Elaine says ‘I paint mainly seascapes and love the interactions between the elements. My style is free and uses impasto techniques as well as brushwork to convey atmosphere, from stillness to high levels of motion’. Her enthusiasm for life and art is clear to see in the following interview:
When did you know that you wanted to paint full time?
Painting has always been part of my life. As a child I sketched and painted posters for my room. A good deal of my time was spent in The Highlands of Scotland and by coasts. The sights and sounds are fascinating. Later through garden design I used water colour to describe land, plots and planting. Only after a house move did I find time and space to paint more. The easels are up and ready every day.
You talk about “bringing the positives of the outdoors to the indoors” is that one of the incentives to paint?
Absolutely. Having paintings on walls is reminiscent of windows onto seascapes and landscapes. We have to be indoors so much that we can forget the awesomeness of wide open spaces. Paintings can keep us in touch with that. Blues, greens and sunshine colours seem uplifting even in winter.
When did you realise that seascapes were a subject matter you wanted to focus on and why?
When I tried palette knife painting it just seemed to work very well in seascapes. It is easy to create a feeling of movement in air and water. I do paint other subjects but come back to seascapes. I knew the coast and learned its processes of erosion and deposition. Every day on a coast is different due to the tides and the wind, the sun and the clouds.
How did you first come across TAE?
It came up in my Twitter feed in 2015. It seemed such a good cause. My paintings already hang in a hospital twice a year to help lift moods of patients and staff. Doctors and visitors have bought them there. TAE was to be held in New York in March 2016. My card made it onto the Gallery Poster and it sold. I was so pleased!
You mentioned above that your art is displayed in hospitals, how important is art in hospitals?
Art hung, installed or made in hospitals has several positive effects. Research has suggested that art can divert patients’ concerns about their predicaments and can actually speed recovery. Subjects of artistic works are often escapes from the routine of hospital life, for staff as well as in and out patients. Woodland scenes are particularly calming and are often permanently hung in hospitals. Seascapes too are invitations to think of where is waiting to be visited. Flowers and the countryside also offer alternative habitats and locations.
Art is, additionally, actively used in hospitals to rehabilitate people after illness. It may be used to improve dexterity, say after a stroke. It is also often used to alleviate mental health issues. A patient can sometimes draw or paint past experiences or convey their current emotions more easily through art than through speech.
How do you go about preparing your TAE postcard?
They are cut from 140lb Bockingford watercolour paper which I give two coats of gesso. It is taped to a board on the easel and off we go. That is the easy part. It actually takes weeks to think about and research the subject matter and how to best express the new composition. I think I am a colourist, so the postcard is the vehicle to spread happiness, through colour. The world has a lot of joy, it just gets forgotten in the high media output that is current. Putting paint to postcard takes some courage as the scene is significantly scaled down to postcard size.
Why do you think the fabulous TAE artists keep on giving?
I think artists are motivated to “give.” They are innate communicators and spreaders of knowledge and observations in image form. The concrete circumstance of their art helping others through TAE is very rewarding. Art can sometimes feel self indulgent (we should really be doing something more important) and TAE gives it a solid good purpose. We also all feel like we are with like minds, well I do anyway.
Do you have a favourite postcard that you have bought and what made you choose it?
L to R: Postcard entries by, Glen Smith, Kirsten Sneath, and Jo Brudenell
All my 6 TAE purchases are my favourites. It’s very hard to choose just one. Each day would give a different answer. Today it is… nope, can’t decide.
I choose for different reasons.
There is a seascape, chosen because it is very realistic, unlike mine. By Glen Smith
There is a deer, chosen because it is very endearing and its name is Ralph, like my dog. By Kirsten Sneath
There is an abstract of wildflowers, chosen for its red and gold colouring, its positivity. By Pamela McMahon
There is a fishing boat, chosen for its deep blue sea. By Tjeerd Zuidema
There is a house with a jetty, chosen for its subtle colouring and watery peacefulness. By Ana Mariza
There is a glacier, chosen for its cold sharpness and individuality. By Jo Brudenell