Estelle Selin and Lori Connors work in the same studio space so I was able to get shots of both their works and their work space in one visit a couple of weeks ago just before I headed out on a short holiday. The actual interview process was a little more complicated as their stories often wove together and yet were very individual. Therefore I will write two blogs from the one visit - first one up is Estelle in blog post #5.
You will quickly learn to recognize a work by this artist as bold, dramatic and in most cases large! Her style is reflected in the way she signs it - Estelle. Like Fabian or Prince nothing more is required. It makes a statement about the art and the artist!
Estelle was raised in Northern Ontario in a family of thirteen children where art was integral to their homelife. What a household that must have been. I smile thinking about it. She began with painting watercolours in 1988 and is now exploring the qualities of acrylics. To quote the artist she "likes the freedom this medium offers; one minute loose and wet, like watercolour, and the next thick and textural." The above image is a perfect example of that statement.
Thankfully she made the move to Alberta thirty years ago and has since been inspired by the open space and big sky which she incorporates into many of her images. To help with the process Estelle keeps a camera close at hand and has become adept at drive by shootings - of the landscape kind.
As most of us know and appreciate it is wonderful to have a spouse or partner who understands that we, as artists, often call out "Stop the car!" unexpectedly.
Estelle's formal art education has included studying with several notables in the field - George Aleg, Brent Heighton, Susan Woolgar, Elizabeth Pitura and Doug Swinton in addition to night school classes at the Alberta College of Art.
A walk around Estelle's studio and you can quickly tell that nature plays an important role in her creations. Be it prairie fields, aspen woods, fog shrouded mountains or glorious blossoms, all are views of our natural environment.
Speaking of her studio - what a grand space and interesting story!
The Cayley United Church was looking to sell their building and had been trying to find a suitable purchaser for sometime when Estelle and her husband decided they would like to purchase the property. At the present time they are unsure what precisely they would like to do with the building so while they figure that out what a great studio space Estelle and Lori have at their disposal. The possibilities are certainly intriguing.
I usually like to include a shot I call the tools of the trade, that includes the paints and brushes the artist uses, in my post, but in Estelle's case a shot of her palette spatula seemed more appropriate.
One of the benefits of working close to another artist is collaboration. In Lori & Estelle's case they can assist each other when an additional set of hands is required, especially when working with oversized pieces like these. Developing creative ideas on new techniques like those used in their latest endeavour - pouring paint onto raw canvas with spectacular results. I'm looking forward to seeing this one stretched.
It's always nice to have a friend stop in for a visit but it's especially nice if that one does not require you to stop what you're doing other than for a head pat or chin scratch.
Estelle has participated in many group shows and several solo shows but is not presently showcasing her works in galleries or online so when it is available at shows like the High River Art Society's Spring Art Show and Sale it is advisable to get there early if you aspire to own one of her beautiful pieces. Hopefully we will see her latest creations at the Fall Show and Sale in October.
Until then may she continues to create her masterpieces in the wonderful surroundings she finds herself with friend Lori.