FK chats with Sarah, one half of the lovely Tasmanian based art label Elliott My Dear, who recently debuted at our Melbourne Finders Keepers!
How would you describe the style of your work?
Elliott My Dear creates original artwork prints and brooches that are colourful, detailed and a little bit melancholy. My oil paintings have a whimsical poetic feel a bit like illustrations of little moments.
What are your backgrounds and how did you both meet and decide to work together?
My family is from Lancashire in the UK. I grew up painting, my mother is a wonderful painter, we would sit and have picnics on a rug and paint all day. Hamish is a musician and we met at college; Hamish came to my painting studio, with his bass, and we’ve been together ever since! I studied painting at VCA in Melbourne where I soon fell in love with the traditional techniques of oil painting. Our dream was always to work together being creative…
What inspires your work? and where do you head for regular inspiration?
My childhood home was an 1800’s house with an original two acre garden. We had a huge Wellingtonia pine tree with a white pebble circular drive around it, my parents cut out a big star and covered it with aluminium and put it on top of the tree and it shone over the whole town. We had stables where we did pottery, red and white toadstools surrounded my cubby house, a pear orchard and our own creek with a family of platypuses! I am inspired by my own children, their imagination and freedom to play. I like to think the paintings slow this space down a bit and allow it to become contemplative. We head to our favourite place Bay of Fires for inspiration; the sky, our children playing, and all the sand is like tiny gem stones.
What materials and mediums do you enjoy working with and exploring? And what other areas would you like to explore or expand into?
I love traditional oil painting on linen and wooden panels the most. I also work in water colours, or draw, when I feel like creating something a little lighter-on. Mostly I love the rich colours of pure pigment paints and never tire of the sort of magic you feel when a blank canvas becomes filled with colour and life, I am always working on the next painting!
What is your creative working process?
I spend a long time thinking up an artwork before I begin working on it, and generally have a lot more paintings in my head than I have time to do! I always sketch up a piece and do a water colour and try to resolve the work as much as I can before beginning painting. I always stretch and gesso the linen myself. Once I have started a painting I sit with it for a while and try and work out what it needs until it is finished, which can take a few weeks or even months.
What advice would you give other artists/illustrators starting out?
Our advice to anyone is to create the work you love to do and worry about where you are going to take it later. It’s so hard if you work the other way round – you can easily end up creating work that is not your best. To work in a way that is sustainable, long term, it needs to be the kind of work that you really love to do because all artwork is, in the end, a quiet solitary practice. After that you have to be a bit brave and take it out there!
What has been your favourite project to work on? and how was your recent experience at the Melbourne Finders Keepers markets?
We wanted to create unique pieces that people could wear using the images from the artwork but it was so hard getting them exactly right, lots of technical difficulties and trial and error. When we worked out the process and got them just right we were so thrilled! We loved our recent Finders Keepers Market experience and were so busy, well received and supported, which has continued on weeks after!
What aspirations do you have for the future, and where do you hope to see your work?
We would love to continue supplying our work to unique stores who appreciate that we entirely design and create our own work. We hope to create many more paintings, drawings and water colours and continue to show our work in markets where we have the opportunity to meet the wonderful people who appreciate what we do!