Meet the artist: Ellen Marie

In the section “Meet the artist” we portrait a talented artist who uses Old Holland colours.

When did you first start painting? Were you born with a paint palette in hand, or did your interest in art develop over time?
It started when I was about 16 years old. Some inner torture made me search furiously for ways to express myself without disturbing others. Throughout the first few years of adolescence I took mostly to writing. When at the age of 16 I met Belgian artist Kaat Tilley (†2012), the tides turned. Seeing how she beautified the world with her elegant artworks and creations, I wanted to be like her and create like her. She inspired me to start drawing and painting.

Was there a moment when you decided to follow your path as an artist?
I first applied to business school after graduating from high school. Apparently this was a necessary step to realise that all I wanted to do was to draw and to paint – to be an artist. The moment I dropped out of business school was when I finally dedicated myself to nothing but the arts.

How can you describe your own style?
I cannot. It is a constantly developing language, and I’m not focused on developing a style at all, but rather on finding more and more freedom in what I create.

Do you have a personal favorite piece? Can you think of a piece that was particularly fun to work on?
I have two favourite paintings: Blood Moon and Nebula. Both very different, but each carrying a power that lies beyond the painting itself. I usually don’t have a specific plan before starting a new work, so it is always a surprise to see what comes out. In these two paintings I remember very clearly how at a sudden point it no longer felt like “I” was making the painting, but rather the painting was making itself. This was such an ecstatic feeling of unity & harmony. These rare moments and experiences really are the reason why I paint.

Where do you derive your inspiration from? Do you have a painting, which inspires you?
This is difficult to pinpoint. Inspiration can come at any given moment and from any small detail that would go unnoticed to the ordinary eye. The crooked hands of a stranger on the metro, an accidentally brilliant placement of objects in the studio, light that falls through a transparent surface in an interesting way… I have a folder full of images taken in my daily life and paintings that inspire me. Their influence finds their way into my paintings at random.

Which artist of the past would you most like to meet?
Definitely Alphonse Mucha. His work testifies of pure brilliance and spiritual wisdom.

What is your favorite art gallery / museum and why?
Probably the Prado in Madrid. I don’t think I need to explain why, haha. It’s such high-quality work, and a near-death  experience every time I go.

What was the last exhibition you went to?
My own! I travelled to New York last month to attend a group show with three of my pieces in it. An all-female-artist exhibition with work from over 30 artists at Stone Sparrow Gallery.

Which artist materials do you use and why?
I mostly work with oil paint and charcoal. The most traditional and most basic of all artist materials. “Don’t change a winning team”. There is a reason why artists have been using these mediums for many centuries: they live up to their promise and they last. They allow you to experiment and find your own voice with them, with the promise to not fall apart by next week. Although I do sporadically experiment with other mediums, these are still my staple tools.

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