In The Studio With... Elaine Kazimierczuk

Elaine Kazimierczuk studied chemistry at university and taught for many years before becoming a professional artist. She has written and illustrated a series of books on local history besides a monograph on the religious works of the prominent sculptor Peter Eugene Ball, with whom she collaborated on many major commissions. She is a trustee of Midlands-based Ice-age Archaeological Insights and produces visual interpretations of prehistoric people and their environment. She has been shortlisted for the 2016 BP National Portrait Award.

What did you do before you became an artist?

My school didn't consider art to be a worthwhile career, so I was lead
down an academic path ... 'get a decent qualification first, art can come
later...’ After taking a science degree I taught chemistry. During this time
I was also working with a sculptor.


As it says in your biography, you have chemistry degree. Did you study art
later in life?


I have no formal studies in art but I am a self-taught artist; I am a magpie
for ideas and techniques, always looking at other painters' processes, to
see how they work, but having said that, I think my way of working is my
own technique, somewhat unconventional and idiosyncratic.

What do you have planned for 2018?
In 2018, I have a few more large pieces I will be painting to fill big spaces.
Working large is exhilarating! I've got several trips planned - to Poland,
Tuscany and Morocco, where I'll be painting en plein air. I'm looking
forward to the different light, arid landscape and vegetation of Morocco.
I'll be working with pastels and inks, so some new paintings should
develop.


We have noticed that you have recently introduced more vivid colour
tones within your work, could you tell us a bit more about this?


The natural world can be a very riotous place with extravagant colours
and shapes. Some of the gardens and meadows I've been painting are full
of vibrant colour. I've used touches of fluorescent underpainting to
express that exuberance.


Tell us about the work 'Big Fun in the Garden.’ What was your inspiration,
your painting process and how do you know when a painting is complete?

I've made a series with 'Fun in the Garden' in the title. It's me having fun
making the work, although I think they are fun to look at too. I'm really
enjoying finding exciting new patterns and marks to describe complex
shapes created by foliage, flowers and undergrowth. I often begin with a
coloured ground like red or pink as the greens sing out against this and
produces a sort of 3D effect, whereas the red peeps through. I've used
areas of fluorescent paint to add zing.


My inspiration is the garden of hedgerow in front of me, although I do
look at how other artists work - I'm inspired by people like Peter Doig,
Gillian Gildersleeve, Joan Eardley, Mary Feddon, George Shaw and John
Piper.


Finishing work always takes me by surprise. I'm just about to add a mark
and I have to stop myself because suddenly I realise it's done.