Coffee with a Creative: Eva Ellie

I am very excited to introduce you to Eva Ellie today! She is an artist who I discovered early on and have been continually inspired by her sense of whimsical illustration. She resides in Norway- a dream country and also a land I'm sure would bring about imaginative inspiration. After learning more about her through our coffee conversation (virtual, of course), despite the distance between us, I feel that there is a connection that we share in our work practices and struggles. It makes me appreciate the beauty of her work all the more and I hope you will too.

eva_photo_2.JPG

What's one of your first memories where art played an integral role in your life?

Art and creativity have always played a central role in my upbringing and life. Some of my earliest memories of being influenced by it originate from elementary school. I remember my 4th grade teacher always drawing beautiful illustrations on our classroom chalkboard using colorful chalks, often inspired by our monthly themes or the holidays. I remember I wanted to be like her and be as good in drawing as she was.

Art has somehow always been a way for me to escape reality and became a tool for me to create places where I would like to be instead. While reading books as a little girl I would start imagining what all these worlds and places would look like if they were real. 

In other ways I used art and creating as a reward for myself for finishing homework or tasks I didn’t really want to do. Sometimes I rushed them because I rather spend time on making a clay figure or cut and glue paper collages. I think it was easier for me to express myself through these creative activities, and a way for me to process all the theoretical subjects.

eva_photo_3.JPG

Why do you create now?

Creating for me is still much like it was for me when I was little. I do it because I love illustrating places and situations that create a certain atmosphere and transport the observer into a different world. Illustration is a way for me to cope with the whole spectrum of emotions, both the good and the bad. I can often look back at old pictures and see what emotions I poured into them. Although it can be really tough to create when I feel down, once I start painting it can really help me get back in a better mood.

I also create because I simply cannot live without it. I tend to get ideas on the strangest locations and the most inconvenient hours, like when I’m supposed to go sleep. Most of the time there are so many ideas floating around in my head, that they can become too many. And so I illustrate them, or sketch since that’s a little quicker!

eva_photo_5.JPG

What do you consider a successful day's work? 

I don’t have a specific answer to this, it can vary from day to day. Some days are successful because I managed to sketch for an hour. Other days I can feel accomplished because I worked for hours and hours and the time just went so fast that I wish there were more hours. But I guess a good day would consist at least of some painting and working out new ideas, whether that be writing down small stories or making tiny sketches. Most importantly, on a successful day I’m feeling inspired and excited about new ideas and what I’m doing.

How do you seek out opportunities in your work?

At the moment I’m focusing mostly on challenging myself and developing my style while building my portfolio. I haven’t been actively seeking out work opportunities, but the next step I want to take is opening up a small online shop where I can sell originals and prints of my work. I’m also working on some small stories that I would like to get ready for pitching.

What are some things that you struggle with in the creative life?

Oh there can be a lot of struggles some days. Some days I struggle with comparison. There are so many talented and hardworking artists out there that are so good at what they do. I guess the most important thing with this, in my opinion, is what we can learn from other artists and translate into our own work while staying authentic and true to ourselves.

I find my taste in art and illustration is very wide, and it can make it difficult to navigate and find my own voice because I like so many different styles. The past few months I have been trying to take time for myself and just sketch without looking at what others were doing. All of a sudden there appeared a rather different and genuine style than what I had been using for the past years. I guess it can be a good thing to take a little distance from social media when struggling with comparison and finding your own voice!

I also put the bar really high for myself. I constantly want to get better and try to challenge myself doing new things. I think it’s good to challenge your self and develop your methods and techniques, but for me this sometimes results in anxiety. When the bars are too high I can get so anxious that I can’t even start painting, it can feel like there is an invisible barrier that stops me from putting down that paintbrush and paint. A solution for me is to just simply start painting slowly and not expect too much of the result. Most of the time it’s enough just to get over that hump and start creating.

Working a fulltime job on the side is another challenge I’m facing. It’s hard to carve out time after a whole day of working. Luckily my job leaves me with plenty of energy, but there are many days where I just don’t manage to pull myself upstairs into the studio and work. I’m trying to learn to accept that not every day is going to be productive. Some days it might be more important to find inspiration and ideas, while other days might consist of using these ideas to create an actual illustration.

eva_photo_6.JPG

Who are some other artists/makers that have inspired you along the way?

Too many to write down! I grew up with illustrators like Fiep Westendorp, Beatrix Potter and Leonard Roggeveen, and they still inspire me today. Right now I’m devouring all the works by Theodor Kittelsen, Anton Pieck and Ilon Wikland.

What do you listen to while you work? 

This varies daily. Sometimes I need to work in total silence. Other days I love some upbeat music from the 60s and 70s. Most of the time I have some kind of movie or series running in the background that I have seen many times before. I think it makes it a little bit cozier around me, like there are others around me in the room. Occasionally I listen to podcasts, but I find it hard to concentrate on it while painting so I only hear half of the content being played and end up needing to play it all over again.

eva_photo_10.jpg

What are you enjoying in your down-time currently?

Well, most of my down time I use illustrating. When I’m not doing that you can find me trying a weird new recipe that I found through Instagram, and ends up looking a lot worse than in the actual photograph. Or you would find me going for a walk or run in the local forest, especially in the summer after a big rain shower, the smells... Also love devouring series on Netflix when everything else gets a bit too much.

Where can I find your work online?

You can find me here:
Website: www.evaellieo.com
Instagram: evaellie_illustration

Thank you Eva, for sharing your heart with me and my readers today! Your honesty is inspiring and beautiful. Now, please go and give her a follow and some love on social media! 

The Space In-Between

 Photo c/o  Maude & Montgomery

How to describe the atmosphere of the in-between? It's neither here nor there, it's flighty and unsure, it's hesitant. It doesn't want to grab hold to what's ahead, but finds it hard to let go of what's behind. It's a piece of driftwood that has fallen into the sea, bobbing to and fro with the waves, the nestled destination on the sandy beach nearing, but still far. 

This is the space I'm in during my 28th year (soon-to-be 29th...). I feel a constant bobbing of the waves in a gentle sea. At least, it's gentle. There's something to be said for that. There was a storm once, but those dark and ominous clouds seem to have passed, for now. I know the excitable, adventuresome & rocky land I left behind, but the land ahead is hazy. Will its roots go deeper? Will its branches extend further? Will I have to slog through mud to find a grassy plain? And if I reach it, will I rest amongst wildflowers? 

Questions that have yet to be answered. For now, I continue to bob, resting in the lull between worlds, hoping to reach shore before another storm passes. 

Coffee with a Creative: Alexis Savopoulos

I discovered Alexis of Meadow and Fawn a couple of years ago and immediately fell in love with her work. Viewing her online presence is like entering into a fairyland of curiosities and wild imagination. She has created a world where tiny painted owls dance among snow covered trees, sable-coloured deer & fox lie together on top of whimsical moss & mushroom and botanical treasures are preserved within glass lockets. It's hard not to get wrapped up in her imaginations upon gazing on each piece. I feel really privileged to have gotten to know Alexis a little bit through our "coffee" time together. She is a beautiful soul and I hope you enjoy diving into her world as much as I have! 

dsc-0233_4_orig.jpg

What's one of your first memories where art played an integral role in your life?

The first time I remember playing with clay was when I was around seven years old. I believe I made a giraffe about the size of my hand and I had such a fun time doing so. The way a small ball of clay could come to life in the shape of anything I imagined was a magical thing to me at the time, and still is. After that, I couldn't wait to get my hands in clay again and looked forward to going to any craft shops where I could create little pots and cups, or DIY clay kits my mom and dad bought me and my sister. After awhile I transitioned into drawing and painting as one of my hobbies as a teenager. A few years ago, I picked up clay again and haven't been able to put it down again, and probably don't think I can for awhile. There's something very soothing and relaxing when molding clay. The process has to be one of my very favorites when it comes to creating art.

img-3335_2_orig.jpg

Why do you create now?

I create for a sense of peace and excitement that comes with imagining and bringing something to life. I struggle with anxiety, especially during this past year, so when I spend hours painting or sculpting, it brings a focus and clarity to my mind that not too many other things can bring me.  That aside, I also create for a source of income. An artist's life usually doesn't bring in the most money but when you're passionate and love what you do, it makes up for the times when it's difficult to afford luxuries.

perched-barn-owl-original-painting-1_1_orig.jpg

What do you consider a successful day's work? 

A successful day's work in my mind is when I mix in working with relaxing breaks, like taking a walk with my dogs, spending time with family and friends or sitting out in nature reading a good book. All too often, I'll find myself working from morning to late in to the night without leaving my studio, and it can be exhausting and create burn outs, with the work coming out not as good as it could be. So, a lesson I've been trying to teach myself is to find more of a balance, to remain creating art as a peaceful time rather than trying to make as much as possible to earn enough funds or to please as many as I can by having enough items in my shop (things tend to sell out quickly, which leaves disappointed customers who weren't able to get what they wanted).

What are some things that you struggle with in the creative life?

I believe the two I mentioned in the previous questions have to be my main struggles currently; that I often struggle to find a balance of working and taking time away from creating, as well as not always receiving enough funds for the amount of time and effort I put into working. I can imagine these are problems many artists struggle with, unfortunately.

img-3946_3_orig.jpg

Who are some other artists/makers that have inspired you along the way?

My sister Christina, who is also a maker, has always been a strong inspiration throughout the years I've been an artist. She has been full of encouragement and often gives me advice for improvement for when I'm sometimes struggling with a particular concept. If you'd like to take a looksie at her work, you can find her on Instagram @wolphelia and over on her website: www.wolphelia.com. Over the time I've spent on Instragram, I've found some truly incredible artists that have continuously inspired me. Just a handful of them are: Lily from @rivuletpaper (I have several walls of her work! She also beautifully created my logo), Kristin from @hearthstonefables, Kerrie from @the_meandering_mudlark, Amy from @thefloralfoxart and Ellen from @liskin_dol to name a few out of many.  

What do you listen to while you work? 

I mostly listen to music radios on Spotify or have movies/tv shows playing in the background. Some of the movies you'll often find me watching on replay are the Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings movies, or shows like Friends, Downton Abbey or The Office. 

What are you enjoying in your down-time currently?

I'm currently reading the Outlander series, which I've been thoroughly enjoying. Skiing has been a wonderful sport I just recently began a few weeks ago. It's quite a trip up to the mountains from where I live (Southern California) to get to the snow and ski/snowboarding resorts, but I'll take every opportunity to go up this winter and spring as the pine covered mountains and fresh, cool air is the sweetest escape to hike and ski to.

fox-fly-agaric-miniature-sculpture-1_3_orig.jpg

Where can I find your work online?

You can find my work for sale and viewable on my portfolio over on my website: https://www.meadowandfawn.com/. I can also be found daily on Instagram @meadowandfawn. Say hello! I'd love to hear from you!

Spring Equinox Inspiration

I came across these images recently of a flower shop in France and I fell in love immediately. (They are screenshots from a commercial that I don't have a source to, so if anyone can provide that, I'd be most grateful!) Don't they just seep with Romance and imagination and dreamy atmosphere?? I can't stop staring at them and I'm transported to a perfect environment for the spring season. I think I'd be content to go here to just sit and sketch for a while while taking in the sunshine. What a dream! Do you have any far away spaces that you find yourself traveling to in your mind? I'd love to hear about them!

Coffee With A Creative: Esther Clark

I'm always looking for ways to intentionally connect with the faces that I come across online. In thinking about how to utilize my blog space more, I recently came up with the idea to offer interviews (or, less formal, coffee time) with artists around the web that I admire. I love hearing how other makers spend their days, how they deal with the struggles that come along with the job, and where they find their inspiration. I am very pleased to share with you my first Coffee with a Creative, Esther Clark. Esther and I have not yet met in person, but have discovered that we share many similar passions and interests as we have gotten to know each other online over the past year or so. She is a talented artist, hard worker, and overall beautiful human. Her work is delicate and graceful, exuding an old-world quality that is quite simply, gorgeous! I hope you enjoy getting to know her as much as I have. 

 Photo c/o  Katie Kopan

What's one of your first memories where art played an integral role in your life?

I have been doing art for as long as I can remember, and it's hard to pin-point one early memory! I had a best friend growing up who was also really creative, and the two of us loved to get together and write and illustrate our own books! We spent hours drawing and making up stories, and those are some of my sweetest childhood memories! I often think back to those times when I am feeling burned out or in need of inspiration!

 Photo c/o  Emilie Anne Szabo

Why do you create now?

I create for two reasons: firstly, to provide for my husband and I - it's our main source of income at the moment. But also because, as cheesy as it sounds, I don't know how to live without creating. My job is also my passion and my favorite pastime, and it's hard to separate between creating for practical reasons and for pleasure. If I'm not creating in some way, be it new prints for my online shop, wedding invitations for a client, or fixing up our new house, I feel so stifled and restless. Art is definitely my vocation!

 Photo c/o  Christine Gosch

What do you consider a successful day's work?

I am a big list-maker - nothing brings more satisfaction than being able to check items off a list of tasks! I consider my day to be pretty successful as long as I've completed most (because honestly, days rarely go as we plan and it's nearly impossible to complete everything we want to!) of the tasks I've set for myself. That to-do list can vary greatly from day to day, so there isn't really a set amount of work I need to accomplish in order to feel successful. Some days, I want to complete a myriad of small tasks, while on other days I feel good if I get one major design project done.

How do you seek out opportunities in your work?

My business has two facets: freelance work for clients, and a small online shop of paper goods. Client work is my main focus, and I get most of my clients from Instagram or Pinterest. Since most people find me on social media, I have to maintain a pretty consistent and frequent presence on my platforms to showcase new work and draw people in. I'm still figuring out how to seek out new opportunities for my shop! I'm hoping to expand into wholesaling my prints and cards this year, and I would also like to create some new products! I really appreciate having the shop side of my business because it allows me to try new things and push myself, since I don't have anyone but myself to answer to. I can be a lot more experimental when I'm not working for a client!

 Photo c/o  Emilie Anne Szabo

What are some things that you struggle with in the creative life?

One of the biggest things I struggle with is work-life balance. My husband and I both own small businesses that are under two and a half years old, so we are both in the "hustle" phase and are putting lots of hours into our companies. I work a lot more than 40 hours a week and take days off very rarely. Since I work from home and since my job is also my passion, it's hard to draw a line and say, "okay, Esther, enough is enough!" I really appreciate a slower pace of life, I get stressed and anxious easily, and I never saw myself as a business owner, so it's been difficult to learn keep up with the amount of work I have. It's also hard to not have more time for myself and for my husband. It's a constant struggle to maintain my health and the health of my relationships while also accomplishing what I need to in a day!

Who are some other artists/makers that have inspired you along the way?

There are so many inspiring artists out there!! Some of my favorites for photography and interiors are Emilie Anne SzaboMur Lifestyle, and Gillian Stevens. Other painters/illustrators/calligraphers I love are Carleigh Courey Design and Gemma Koomen!

 Photo c/o  Emilie Anne Szabo

What do you listen to while you work?

I am a huge British period drama fan! More often than not, I will be working with Poldark or Downton Abbey on in the background. I don't mind watching things over and over again, so I've seen both shows an embarrassing number of times! I will sometimes choose a podcast (Me & Orla's "Hashtag Authentic" is a favorite) or music, but it's usually a period drama, haha!

What are you enjoying in your down-time currently?

I don't have much down time, but when I do, I usually choose to do some work on a home improvement project or bake something tasty!

emilieanneszabo2.jpg

Where can someone find your work online?

My website is estherclark.co!

Thanks so much for sharing a bit of your working life with us, Esther! It was lovely to hear your thoughts. 

Photos c/o:
Katie Kopan
Emilie Anne Szabo
Christine Gosch
& Esther.