Q & A with Artist Elise Morris

Today, I'm thrilled to share artist Elise Morris and her breathtaking work with you.  This room was designed by Katie Rosenfeld, one of my favorite interior designers.  The spectacular painting she used here is by Elise Morris, one of my favorite artists. 

Elise's work strikes me as ethereal and delicate while being strikingly beautiful. Immediately upon being introduced to her work, I became enthralled.  I know you'll love both learning about Elise and seeing her lovely work.  

 Living Capture

How/why did you first begin creating art?

When I was a child, making stuff was always a big part of my life. I found a way to draw and paint whenever I could. In Kindergarten I did portraits of all my classmates, down to the details of their shoes and hairstyles. I made illustrated books and little dolls, and furnished a doll house with furniture made from found materials. I then started a painting class when I was 7 or 8, working with oil paint. I learned how to mix colors in gradations and set up a paint palette with the colors properly placed.  But we were copying paintings in order to learn how to paint. I have since had to unlearn the rules and make up my own.

 Flutters End

What influences your work most?

I am most influenced by my daily experiences outdoors - I notice light and shadows, reflections and shapes, and above all color.  I am constantly collecting images to bring back to my studio. I am also looking for the feeling of being immersed in something larger than myself. There is an endless supply of inspiration out there for me.

 Reaping Shadows 4

How has social media affected the world of art, and beyond that, you specifically?

Making connections is suddenly much easier, and sharing the process of making work has been surprisingly engaging. I follow other artists on Instagram, and have found a wonderful little community there. It feels supportive and inspiring, and I don't think I expected that.  It's been fun to send out studio shots and get some nice feedback within a few minutes. Social media also seems to level the playing field a bit - when it comes down to it, we're all just in our studios making stuff, and looking for some kind of connection.  A year and a half ago I started a blog called The Studio Work in which I document studio visits with Bay Area artists - a project that has literally connected me to an amazing group of artists.

 Dawn's Patience

How do you create your optimal environment for painting? Do you use music? If not, is there another way you generate a climate conducive to painting?

I can't paint with music at all!  I find it terribly distracting. Lately, though, I have taken to listening to a bunch of different podcasts - everything from Astrophysics to parenting issues.  It seems to engage a different part of my brain and I can more freely focus on my work. I love TED Radio Hour, Radiolab, The Moth, Snap Judgement, Freakanomics and many others.

 Sylvan Span 2

What item in your studio do you consider indispensable? 

My studio is pretty bare bones but very usable. I have big white walls and all my supplies are on a rolling metal cart. Since my studio is a detached garage next to my home, it faces my yard. We just planted our vegetable garden for summer, and I have several fruit trees and a chicken coop, all right outside my studio door. In winter my indispensable items are my parabolic heater and tea kettle!

 Gold's Reach 3

What is your favorite museum?

I truthfully love them all - well at least the ones I've been to! Musee D'Orsay might take the cake with that gorgeous light. Taking my son to museums that I love will certainly give them new meaning.

 Cadent Span 3

What priceless, well-known piece of art would you most like to own?

Just as I love all museums, I also love all paintings. But, I would love to chance to live with something over time - a spectacular and spare Agnes Martin painting, or a lush light-filled Bonnard.  I could also live inside Monet's huge water lilies painting (I'm old school I guess) - it's so much larger than you would think - three panels that are 6 ft by 13 ft each. I gasped when I saw it in person at the MoMA.  I could easily make a wish list that was 100 pages long.

 Shadow Play 2

 Quiet Call 3

 Light's Fall

 Lines Stray 2.2

A huge thank you to Elise for taking the time to tell us about herself.  I'm amazed by Elise's talent, and very much enjoyed learning more about her.  I highly recommend visiting her website where you can see many more of her breathtaking paintings and also incredible images of installations and exhibitions.  

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