Canadian painter Elly Smallwood casts light on hidden parts of the human body. Her portraits, mostly painted using oil, acrylic, and watercolor, have a messy, but vulnerable, quality to them making for a striking effect.
“I sketch for at least the first hour to warm up before I start painting,” explained the artist in an interview with Flare magazine. “I sketch a mix of everything—things that are in my mind, sometimes I’ll have a photo to work from. Then I look through all of my sketches and from those I’ll combine them, like using an idea from one sketch and a color from another, into something I want to paint on a large scale.”
“Art is so personal,” she revealed. “Every single piece feels like a piece of your soul on the canvas. People see a lot of different things in my art, but for me it’s about my fascination with humanity and the world around me, and a very intense desire to capture that.”
Still, Smallwood admits that the process itself is hard work and anything but inspiring. “I think it’s a big misconception in the art world that you need to be inspired to be able to work,” she stressed. “To me, going to work is just going to work. You show up and maybe for the first few hours you don’t make anything great but as long as you’re there and you’re making work, that’s beneficial to your practice.”
Check out some of her striking creations, and follow her on Instagram for more.