Artist Interview: Elaine Murkin

Posted by Jenni Kirby - December 02 2022

Q. What inspired you to get into the arts?

A. Since I was a child I have always been drawing, it was almost excessive at times. I never gave it up and have carried on creating art my whole life. I went to college to study art but when we moved from England to America, I ended up working as a Nurse for twelve years instead. It was a frustrating time because my first love has always been art and finding the balance between work and art became difficult. Eventually I left Nursing to pursue art full-time, and it has been such a joy.

Q. Tell me about your creative process / How do you approach new projects

A. A lot of my paintings are of England, it is my home and will always be my first inspiration. The landscapes in England provide so much inspiration, every time I go home I come back with lots of new material. I typically start with a photograph and decide on the size of the painting, then I gird everything out and start painting loosely. It’s easy to lose the character in a subject if you overwork it. I try to stay gestural when painting and stop when I have truly captured the feeling of the scene. It’s important to take breaks in between work so you always come back with fresh eyes.

Q. Who and/or what are your biggest inspirations and how do they influence your work?

A. In England we have beautiful skies and stunning landscapes, which provide endless inspiration. I am also moved by many Impressionist Masters like Alfred Sisley, his work is understanded but really captures the essence of the scene. I have been fortunate to make some great artist friends at Crossroads, like Inge Strack, and Duane Cregger. Even though we focus on different styles, they have been quite influential on my work. Inge’s use of texture has always inspired me, and I have learned a lot from her about mark-making. It’s interesting to be inspired by abstract work, as a landscape painter. You should always be striving to evolve and work out of your comfort zone - that is the great thing about art, it brings out all these different sides of you.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. Right now I am working on some beach scenes from a trip to Cape Hatteras, which was gorgeous. I also have a big commission coming up soon, which will take quite a while. This will be the biggest painting I’ve ever created, of a scene in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Of course, I plan to create new paintings of England, since we travel there regularly.

Q. If you had a motto, for your art and life, what would it be?

A. Stay true to yourself, and don’t overthink. Celebrate what is unique about you and don’t worry about what others think. Paint what you feel in your heart, and everything will work out. In England, individuality is encouraged and that helped me tremendously. I’ve found over here that is not always the case - it’s easy to say, not always easy to do.