Hello! My name is Karen Elzinga I am a professional acrylic painter and artist having studied a double major degree in Fine Art & Visual Culture from Curtin University of design in 2012. I paint basically what makes me happy, l get bored very quickly, so l need to work with colour for its obvious entertaining qualities, when l get bored with one colour and change colour, maybe l have ADHD haha.
I enjoy and paint predominantly whimsical contemporary abstracts that encompass beach side settings or movie mashups of popular movies past and present, but l do enjoy producing the odd abstract and pop art pieces also. I use only the finest grade professional artist acrylic paints and canvas.
I enjoy the easy going nature of the beach and its endless settings and l'm inspired by the fleeting freedom and excitement that the beaches offer. I live coastal on the Sunshine Coast, so l have an abundance of beach side locations to draw from, but generally l like to do mash ups intertwining the underwater and land activities with intricate detail so the viewers and purchaser continues to find things well after the works purchase. My work is like a treasure trove, it just keeps on giving. I find that a fun aspect to my working process.
I generally paint in XXL scale, however if that prices you out of purchasing, don't fret, you can commission a smaller work to suit your budget!
The colours l choose are big and bold, many believing them to be oil paints, however they are acrylics, l just only ever use the opaque varieties which allows my work an overall vibrant and rich depth.
Everyone loves the beach whether sitting on it or looking at it, and l try to bring that enjoyment and happiness felt at the beach into my paintings. My paintings are draw cards because of their colour and complexity, talking points because of the subject matter and sort after across Australia, and Internationally because of their collector appeal, freedom and fun quality.
I love to do intricate and busy styling in my designs with an abstract twist, l believe it brings a joy and happiness to the viewer and in turn takes them back to their own childhood memories of good times by the seaside. I have always been very attracted to colour, the brighter the better and l believe that that is why people are instantly attracted to my work and go away smiling. With colour brings a feel good feeling and a definite happiness.
Life is good at the beach, take home a professionally finished painting today and bring that good feeling vibe to your surroundings. Karen is a high demand artist, her latest sale of a painting from Bluethumb was sold in less than 24 hours, so if you like Karen's work be quick! Here's what the purchaser of "Hawkin's Landing", a 3 piece extra large painting had to say about commissioning a painting from Karen. - From the client: "Well the painting went down a treat, my wife broke into tears when she saw it, absolutely loved it. Thanks again Karen for a job very well done". B.H (Batemans Bay).
What exhibitions did you participate in?
I don't do many exhibitions, for the reason that my art is so big it's difficult to transport when l don't have a transit van, l have done a few group exhibitions, and art festivals including:
Williamstown Gallery Solo Exhibition (By Invitation) 1998
Cobram Agricultural Art Show Group Show 1986, 87, 88, 89, 90
Nambour Shopping Center Solo Exhibition 2016
Eumundie Art Festival Group Exhibition 2005, 06
Immanuel Lutheran Art Show Group Exhibition 2010, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17
Noosa Maze Festival (By Invitation) 2018
Phresh Gallery Caloundra (By invitation) 2017
What do you enjoy about creating art?
I cannot go a day without doing art, l get really cranky, its so relaxing and sets the mind at peace, it really is fantastic for the mind and body. I build all my own frames and l mount my work after l have painted it, as l like gallery wrapped finishes (painting is the same on the sides as the front). l believe a painting has six sides, and all six are finished in a strict professional finish, that includes the back. Making frames though is not my favorite, so any frame makers that would like some experience get in contact!! I'll teach you how and you can make them for me haha.
What's the hardest thing about being an artist today?
Exhibiting work and finding galleries to represent your work, l think is the hardest part, often it's very expensive to exhibit in council galleries and private galleries generally source their own art or stick with what or who they know, it's a funny industry and not easy to get your foot in the door. But stick with it, there are plenty of online galleries willing to let you in if you have quality work.
Which new trends or Australian artists do you find inspiring at the moment?
I enjoy the work of Del Kathryn Barton, her line work is amazing and l like that her work idea it is so unique and original, when you see a work you know exactly that it is her work. I did my theme at university on the humble art of 'doodling' so l can really appreciate that doodle aspect within her work.
Which Australian deceased artist do you most admire and why?
I did a lot of university essays on Pro Hart, so l would have to say him, l enjoyed his process as well as the humor in his finished works. I loved the fact that dropped paint cans onto his canvas from a plane, and that he used to blow things up with dynamite, then put them back together in a more interesting way. I like that he liked to experiment, l can really relate to that! But l love how he is now called the peoples painter, he was ostracized from some of the most major Australian galleries and l'm glad that didn't stop him from becoming such an influential painter for everyday people. Just goes to show you that quality work will always shine through no matter what.
Which exhibition that you have visited made the greatest impact on you and why?
It was one at GOMA in Brisbane, it was no one person, but the work that was there at the time was sensational, thought provoking and definitely amazing. It was just very diverse, from glass bubble coated deer's, to a room filled with finches flying around, to a huge room installation of brightly coloured life sized donkeys, to massive mirror mosaics. Collectively it was the most impressive time l have ever been there.
Do you have any rituals or habits involving your art-making that you can tell us about?
Yes...I'm messy..haha when l'm creating all concept of clean and orderly goes out the window, some artists are so clean and tidy, but not me!
I paint flat on a table when l do my beach art, so l guess my ritual is that fact and that l don't look at the finished painting upright until it is mounted.
What do you like most about being an artist?
Freedom of expression, and taking a blank canvas and filling it with something enjoyable. . I think there's a definite calmness about painting. l enjoy listening to music, so l get lost in the songs and before l know it 3-4 hours has past.
How do you handle bad days when you experience artist's block?
I don't really get artist block, l have more ideas generated everyday than l know what to do with, sometimes that's frustrating because l can only paint so fast, so l can't do them all.
What is your greatest achievement as an artist to date?
Every time l get a sale, big or small or a commission, l still get a buzz, l think wow l have done something that someone else deems special enough to place in their home, l feel very honored. I was also honored by having my art feature on the front cover of the British Psychologist April 2012 Journal Publication, my mother especially loved showing that one off to her bingo buddies haha.
What do you think the general public needs to be aware of about artists and their work?
I think that some people have a misunderstanding with the time it can take to produce certain works like my movie or beach works in large scale, some of my work can take 7 full days a week for literally 6-8 weeks to fully complete one work, so when people see my prices they are sometimes surprised, however if l worked out the production of my work based on an hourly rate, l am very underpaid as a professional, but it is what it is to do something l love. I just would love for people to understand you paid for quality work, quality tools and products, your paying for artist space and artist time and your also paying for the artists development, added training, online researching, ideas development even before the art work is created. Art takes time to produce well so please think twice before asking any artist for a 'better'price', because most set their work to the bare minimum anyway. When you purchase original one of a kind artwork, your buying and supporting the the artists ability to keep producing future art, not just a painting to hang on your wall.
Curtin University of Design - Double Major (Fine Art & Visual Culture)
Cobram Art Show 1996, 1997, 1998
Williamstown Gallery - 1999, 2000
Eumundie Group Exhibition- 2002, 2003, 2004
Immanuel Secondary College Group Exhibition- 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013, 2014, 2015
Nambour shopping plaza 2015
Nambour Art Show 2016, 2017
Phresh Gallery Caloundra (By invitation)2017
Noosa Maze Festival (By Invitation) 2018
Front cover and additional photo's inside -2012 April edition of the British Psychological society monthly magazine.
Where do you get your inspiration for your work?
I actually try really hard not to be inspired by other artist work, my inspiration comes from my own previous work. I call it the migration effect, l take the best from previous work then add it to current ideas to get future work, so my paintings slowly continue to evolve. I have no trouble generating ideas, they flow in faster than l can think sometimes.
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