Happy July 4th to all my readers “across the pond”!
I have a beautiful interview and giveaway to inspire you today from an American fine artist I greatly admire and whose work I covet so very much. Her name is Emily Jeffords and she paints in oils out of the White Whale Studios in Greenville, SC. Her art, for me, is like free falling into the sweetest, fluffiest skies you could imagine, or watching cloud forms, lying on a blanket in a grassy meadow. She creates the most delicious colour palettes full of texture and motion. Yes, she really is that good. In this interview, Emily shares her thoughts on creativity, finding inspiration and holding onto it and balancing life and her business…
• How do you stay inspired and what do you do when you hit a creative wall?
Sometimes inspiration seems illusive, and yet other times uncontrollably active. I find that flux depends so much on my personal energy. More than finding new places, discovering hidden gems, rest, or relaxation: excitement is key. Feeling even a hint of passion and really focusing on that feeling, allowing it to grow and develop in your mind… that is the golden trick.
And along with that, being aware of new ideas and seeing the world with renewed eyes is endlessly valuable to instilling that curiosity and passion inside of you.
• Do you have a ritual that you follow or certain conditions that have to be just right before you paint?
Well I have two little girls who come to the studio with me every day, so rituals are fairly simple. Good (strong) coffee, music (I arrange my playlists by colour – because I am a total colour nerd) and incense. Then I’m good to start creating!
• Which artists, contemporary or otherwise, inspire or have influenced you?
Growing up I was fortunate to have a grandmother who really loved the artist. She would gift me giant books of impressionistic masters (Monet, Renoir, Cézanne…) full of brush-stroky fields, graceful figures, and pastel colors. I soaked them up! In high school I became very interested in work with more contrast, less romance. I love(d) Edward Hopper and Van Gogh and Andrew Wyeth to name a couple.
• You have two beautiful daughters-how do you balance life as a working artist with motherhood / how do you combine the two? (I ask this one because I have a 3 yr old son who is always desperate to make things with me when I’m crafting or styling, but because this is my work I’m reluctant to let him get involved. I’d love to know how you manage it. Geez, I sound like a bad mum!) — no you do not!!!!
So you understand my strangely organized days a little better, here is a mini-schedule.
8:30-11:00: Get ready to leave for the studio, make lunches, reply to emails, do laundry, dress the girls, garden a bit… all while my girls run around upstairs playing and getting out as much energy as possible.
12:00: Go to the studio where we all eat lunch. Then the girls do school work, watercolour paint, colour, play…and I paint in total quiet bliss (ha!! I wish).
6:00: Go home, make dinner, go out for a walk or relax together.
9:00: Girls in bed.
10:00pm -2am: Work, work, work (with coffee, ice cream, TV, and my man).
I’m learning (the hard way) that life as a full time artist / full time mother is all about communication and sharing. I have to share my time, art supplies, physical space, and mental space (sanity at times) and in return, they share their time and space with me. Feeling like they belong helps them respect my space as well. And knowing that they have my attention when needed helps them to not “act out” (as often.)
Talking to my girls like adults – telling them our plans, asking for their input, listening… allows them to cooperate and to feel valued in my daily life.
• Are there any particular colour palettes or combinations that you’re absolutely obsessed with or can’t move away from right now?
I do many, many commissions and people really love teal, grey, and green (and so do I!!) but I am also loving this lovely shade of purple-cream-crimson that I sneak in as often as possible. Which is totally weird for me as I usually shy away from purples altogether.
• What advice would you give to someone who is looking to buy or collect art for their home?
The beautiful thing about artwork is that it is not only valuable but it enhances any space more than any other decoration. I would strongly recommend buying an original piece of artwork from an artist you enjoy rather than a reproduction, budget allowing of course. The impact that an original piece of artwork has in a space cannot be matched by a print.
Look at a lot of art – in person if possible! And find a piece of artwork that really speaks to you and that you will enjoy living with in your space.
I love the idea that the evolution – the life – of the painting lives on as the collector lives with it, spending their days with it and spending time thinking about it.
Look for a painting that not only matches your home and your style, but one that will enamour your imagination.
|1| ‘Make My Getaway |2| ‘To The Stillness’ |3| ‘From The Valley’
Emily has very kindly offered three of her 5×7 prints as a giveaway for three lucky winners! Each piece is printed onto fine art quality printing canvas, which feels like the real thing and would look beautiful framed anywhere in the house, especially as part of a gallery wall collection. Have you fallen in love with them yet?
To Enter Via Twitter: Tweet ‘@TiffGrantRiley & @Emily_Jeffords and say hello with the hashtag #emilyjeffordsgiveaway‘
To Enter Via Instagram: Regram the Emily Jeffords image on my IG (tiff_grant_riley) with the hashtag #emilyjeffordsgiveaway
You can tweet or IG as many times as you wish to increase your chances (only once a day though please!)
Entry closes at midnight on July 18th 2014.
Good Luck! And if you can’t wait that long, I also stock her in the ‘Curated Art’ section of my Curate & Display Great.ly boutique. What’s your favourite?