Elva Hook – Friday Night Guest – November 26, 2021
(Submitted by Katherine Bellomo)
Elva Hook, the Now Magazine Reader’s choice 2021, “Runner-up for Best Artist” joined us on Nov. 26. She began her presentation by giving us a history of her work and of the inspirations that have affected her art. From alkyds (which were not durable) to the “flowing” bird paintings that hinted at her evolving style. As her work became more abstracted she saw “the potential landscapes in the chaos”. At times she would paint and later see an image in nature that echoed her painted work. She works from photographs – often using many photos to create one image. Elva refers to her paintings as “flow paintings” which suggests how she works by letting successive layers of paint flow together and create patterns. The way the paint moves, she told us, tells us a great deal about the nature of acrylic paint. As her style evolved she began to place realist objects into her abstractions, which gives the abstracted-background-flow a feeling of reality.
Elva begins the painting process by examining photos, studying the colours, choosing her paints and mixing a range of gradients using one colour + white to create a 5-point tonal scale. Her painting tools include sticks, toothpicks, sponges, and trowels. She begins by adding a layer of paint to the canvas, spreading it with a gloved hand. She then slowly adds more layers of paint, in random patterns and moves the canvas from side to side to make it flow. She may spray the canvas with water to keep the paint moving as she adds more paint, and as she introduces new colours. For larger pieces she uses a turntable to help turn the canvas and stabilize it. For our demo she began with a mid-tone blue, then added a darker blue, then yellow and then red as she improvised and reacted to the paint movement as the paint reacted to her movements. She kept adding paint, moving it back and forth, sometimes tapping the edge of the canvas on the table, and as the colours integrated, she watched for details to emerge. She told us that she was trying to create a sense of “colourful reflections in water”.
Some of her previous work as well as some photos of her demo are included here. Elva was inspiring and informative and as she worked she cautioned us to remember that acrylic paint does release harmful gases into the air as it dries and so she often lets her painting dry in well ventilated areas. If you would like to read more about her work see these links: