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  Elaine Almond – Artist statement 

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The week I painted an Open Door, the image forming as each day I added another layer, glaze upon glaze, I knew what was at stake. My life began to change yet again… but this time I opened a door into part of myself that had been closed for a very long time. Art takes me out of myself and gives me a way of expressing feelings and having mental space to process what is going on in life. I began at a time when I was really unwell, taking a beginners weekend in acrylic painting.  Of course I had long wanted to paint, since school days, but it was something I wasn’t allowed to at school (dad!), and later I didn’t think I could either! Colleagues gave me some painting kit, I found my first weekend amazing, energising and just kept going… 

I began painting landscapes, flowers, animals, anything really but always liked abstract design. Rothko talked about art being about expressing emotion not illustrating it. That opened up a new world for me and I decided to persevere in abstract painting, undertaking a 3 month oils course in 2016 & 6 month abstract course in 2017 which brought real change and challenge for me. That year I was shortlisted in the National Open Art Competition and continued with Caroline Hulse FRSA as my mentor in 2018. Since then I have exhibited locally and nationally, and in January 2020 began a local ‘Expressive Art’ Club with 8 members. 

My art draws on learning, imagination and experience — working with people in health care, my life history and Christian ministry. I call the paintings ‘intuitive abstracts’ sometimes inspired by nature or sea that I love, historical places with a modern twist, or life both dark and joyful times, perhaps easier to think of as Inner and Outer Landscapes. I use mainly acrylic and oil paint and tend to paint in series, anything from 4 -8 paintings together with a common colour palette and theme before moving on. 

During the corona crisis I made a diary of sketches on paper logging my feelings and referencing places I have walked to since Lockdown. I have also been painting from memory some of my favourite walking haunts. I’m not sure how this will develop -it is an up and down process and space to experiment. I have moved my art group online for those who can manage the technology – even that is getting easier! 

Art can help to lift us out of the mundane, open our eyes to what is around, not just the material world we inhabit, but the colours and experiences, be they physical, emotional, mental or spiritual: the life journeys we take. It’s a journey I never thought to make, but I love the experience and hope you will join me! Perhaps my pictures may help to open doors for you too.

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Elaine Almond   Updated 20/07/2020

 

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