I start with an image. A magazine image or photographs of children, children of all ages in their own surroundings. I paint faces and figures that have been flattened by photographic reproduction.I enjoy working with photographs that are over-exposed, have no depth and oddly proportioned. This enables me to explore the awkwardness within compositions.
This gives me the freedom to paint colour and gesture which are alien in the photographs I use.My paintings can be erotic, beautiful and tragic at the same time. They are voyeuristic, as well as, social.
Elaine Speirs was born in Johannesburg and moved to the West Coast of Scotland as a young child. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She returned to South Africa in 2006 and then came back home in 2009 with her three daughters. Over the last four years Elaine has re-established herself as a painter.
Her children and their friends are her inspiration. She is absorbed in their lives and she constantly observes them. The uncertainties of her own childhood have given her the freedom to dig deeper into the complications and mystery of being a child. She conveys the fragility of childhood, the transition between girlhood and womanhood.
She regularly exhibits at the RSA, with VAS and the SSA. Recently she exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London. Awards have included the Glasgow Club Award (2012), the Caron Keating Memorial Award, Mall Galleries, London. She was shortlisted for the National Open Art Competition and the Threadneedle Painting Prize (2014).
Using bold gestures and fluid lines Elaine Speirs looks beyond the exterior appearance of the children she paints. She conveys the interior realms.