Elena Valerie’s artistic talent may be very easy to see now, but it hasn’t always been so obvious. Elena only discovered her ‘hidden talent’ after her family relocated from Russia to Australia, when she began working with revered Australian artists who taught her various painting and medium techniques that she still utilises to this day.
Elena Valerie’s expression of her artistic vision focuses on the messages of beauty, sensuality and passion. Realism sits at the core of Elena’s art, with her work taking a sharp focus on realistic paintings of flowers that use glazing techniques to make them exceptionally vibrant.
We asked her about the inspiration behind her pieces, as well as her artistic vision for the future.
CROWDINK: How did you get started in art?
ELENA: I began my journey with art after my family and I moved to Australia. However, when I was a child, I loved to observe people and flowers. When we were travelling, I became fascinated by the sheer beauty of this world and often times imagined painting the living world in my mind.
But it was only in Australia that I had the privilege and freedom, thanks to my husband, to choose my future career. I am also so appreciative towards Australia, as I was fortunate to meet several great teaching artists, who shared their immense knowledge in their training. I attended art school with Martina Pook, Marcel Desbiens and other renowned artists by attending numerous workshops over the years.
CROWDINK: What is your style of work? Where do you draw your inspiration from?
ELENA: I am definitely drawn to realism and work most times in oil using a multitude of layers through the application of subtle glazing to create an almost glowing effect and spacious depth.
I communicate through a collection of line, curvature and form, colour and tone, and harmony seeking to create enchantment. The luminosity of stained glass captivates me, which is clearly evident in my paintings. The shining of light is magical and manifold transparent glazes emphasis the effect of a dazzling radiance through an object such as thin leaves or skin. Light travels through the transparent layer and is reflected back by the opaque layer.
CROWDINK: How do you bring out the message of beauty, sensuality and passion in your art?
ELENA: It seems that the existence of flowers has no other purpose but for our enjoyment, be it through their aspiring fragrance, stunning colours or their avid beauty. And despite their rather frail construction, live on in spite of rain, wind and storms. They pass on the baton of life, rebirth and decay, in a continuous endless cycle.
Flowers also remind us that passion in life is necessary. It’s ecstatic, the ability to touch, smell and share. Flowers echo sensuality with their unrivalled scents and taste of vanilla and bear a sensual, sweet yet innocent spirit. In history, flowers have played a vital part in communicating love, compassion, a power to heal and to be used as medicine. I believe they can heal both our physically and spiritually, they make us happier, more helpful and create sunshine for the soul.
My main aim is to challenge the viewer to see lines, shapes, curvature and movement, capturing the dance of nature. Fauna can be incredibly pleasing to the senses as a storehouse of our every desire. I am deeply inspired by the artist Georgia O’Keefe but also by the old Dutch masters.
CROWDINK: What elements of media do you use in your work?
ELENA: Specially prepared canvases with extremely smooth surfaces which are perfect for the most seamless and silky outcome. I use a walnut oil mixture and high-quality oil paints that guarantee lightfastness.
CROWDINK: What are you currently working on?
ELENA: I love to work with people. As artists, we are prone to isolation, spending hours in our studios. When working with customers, I find such joy and satisfaction to uncover their personality. What type of flowers would suit their character? What colours they feel drawn to and what environment they live in. I take pleasure unearthing what resonates within the hearts of the people I work with and can be incorporated into a painting. For example, when I painted a flower upside down, illustrating a lady’s skirt with lots of folding for my client. So most of my drive is commission work.
CROWDINK: What is your vision for the future? How do you see your art transforming?
ELENA: My vision is to build ideas in which to combine realistic elements with features of the human face. I experiment with portraits of people, linking them to flowers. Sometimes I meet people and encounter aspects of their personality and see an image of their heart visually as a flower. This is the kind of work I am looking forward to.
I also wish to create some larger-scale work for spacious premises and office space.
Elena’s extensive training in a number of mediums, from Australian landscape and portrait to life from skin texture, glazing and water in oil, provide a great tool through which she expresses her artistic vision. You can visit Elena’s social channels to connect with her art, and ensure that you subscribe to her mailing list to stay tuned for her upcoming exhibition on the Sunshine Coast.