Interview with Artist Esther Eckley
The team at Creative New England is creating a range of exciting competitions for one and all to get involved in over our lockdown period. We were lucky enough to spend some time chatting with the lovely Esther Eckley who recently helped us create one of a series of Artist videos with our friends at NERAM.
Esther, we’re really excited to share a bit about you!
Tell us a little bit about your job as an Artist and how you got to where you are today?
I have only been a professional artist for the last 3 years. It was previously a hobby. I started painting in 2004 after a serious injury playing rugby (union) at international level. I have a studio at home and paint more or less between 8am-4pm while the boys are at school during weekdays.
Is there something from your childhood that inspired your creativity?
I come from Wales originally and moved here with my family 5 years ago. The Welsh people really love creative expression whether it be through singing, painting, acting or playing an instrument. The annual National Eisteddfod for example (which is a massive event in the Welsh calendar) encourages these creative talents and the standard is exceptionally high across the board. During my childhood, my mother was a Welsh folk singer and actress, which must have rubbed off on me to freely express myself creatively.
Do you think your upbringing has influenced you an Artist?
I wouldn’t say that it was obvious that I would be an artist when growing up because I preferred sports and business at a younger age. The painting started later on in life when I was 28 years old. However, I do think that my mother’s influence and the Welsh culture, in general, has played a part in my decision to eventually become a professional artist.
When setting out on a new project where do you “find” your ideas?
I used to paint mostly seascapes and landscapes in Wales because I lived along the coast. The light and colours in Wales are very different to Australia, they’re more heavy and dark. When I moved here to live, I wanted a new challenge and decided to give still life a go. I found that my colour palette changed as well and I wanted to use lighter colours that are associated with Australia. Still life is so vast, I feel that there’s so much you can paint and I’m still finding my way through it! I discover ideas just by looking at what’s around me.
View this post on Instagram
One of the three paintings on show @murraart and part of the Country Interior show with @countrystylemag The show runs until 29th March. I’ll be there next Saturday 14th March for the opening and I’m looking forward to meeting some of you! For more information on the paintings, please contact: email@example.com
Do you think creativity involves putting your heart and soul into your work and following an idea? Or is it more like letting your mind flow freely to witness the surprising results of your actions?
I think it’s a case of painting and doing what you love and what speaks to you. If you love what you do, well, then you’ll naturally put your heart and soul into the work.
Your passion for the subject will show through in a unique way that only you can express.
How do you decide if an idea is worth it? Do you act on all your creative ideas?
Ideas for painting come to me naturally and I usually act on all of them. The idea is worth it because it came to me and if I don’t paint it, the idea might never see the light of day!
Can you tell us about a personal highlight in your career as an Artist?
My personal highlight was making the decision to become a professional artist. I am extremely blessed to be in this wonderful position. I worked in an office for 15 years after graduating doing various PR roles for different organisations. This career is all the much sweeter having had that experience and every day I thank the universe for allowing me to live my dream.
What is your favourite medium to work with?
I love oils because it doesn’t dry as quickly as acrylics, you can play around with it a lot more and I like the look of it when it dries as it has a lovely gloss finish.
Do you feel that you’re influenced by any other Artists?
The biggest influence on my work is Sir Kyffin Williams, a Welsh palette-knife artist who was most well known for his landscapes but also painted awesome portraits. I grew up seeing his work in galleries and museums throughout the country and was always fascinated with the feel and style of his work. I naturally fell into using a palette knife which offers a different perspective and finish to a painting.
Do you have any other hobbies that influence you creatively?
I enjoy singing just on my own around the house, but have no other creative hobbies at the moment! When I’m not painting, I’m entertaining the children (14 & 13 years old), swimming or walking the dogs.
What do you do to keep yourself motivated and interested in your work?
I take long breaks whenever I can, which helps to reenergise the batteries and the break will often provide me with some inspiration at the end of it. I’ll browse through magazines and books and I like to spend some time in the library when I can.
Are you working on a specific project at the moment?
I’m working towards a solo exhibition at Michael Reid Murrurundi in August at present. I have two months or so to paint around 20 paintings which should be more than enough time. The theme will be around Sun, Sea, and Citrus.
I have incorporated more seascapes and surfers in particular to my still life paintings recently and thought that painting some big stand-alone seascapes would mix it up quite nicely.
The creative industry isn’t always the easiest – can you tell us about a challenge you’ve faced in your work and how you approached it?
It depends on what you want out of the creative industry. I wouldn’t describe my relationship with the industry as a challenge. I have found everything to be exciting and invigorating since I first picked up the palette knife again in Australia. I think I’ve been in the right place at the right time on many occasions, which has helped! I’m also not afraid to pick up the phone and talk to people. I think we need to push ourselves a little bit more if we want something badly enough and not wait for someone or something to come to you.
What would you say is the most enjoyable thing about being an Artist?
The most enjoyable thing is the satisfaction, happiness, and joy my work brings to other people. I never tire of a message from someone who’s bought, or just discovered my work and feels a deep connection with it.
As a creative, what is the best advice that you’ve ever been given?
Don’t wait for approval or try to seek confirmation from someone else that your work is good enough. I personally don’t think there’s a right or wrong way.
Anything goes in today’s society thankfully, so be brave and just give it a fair go!
And finally, what’s your favuorite thing about being a part of the New England community?
We are extremely happy here in New England. The landscapes are striking, the people have been so very welcoming and kind, and there’s a great community spirit & resilience here. There’s so much you can get involved with if you want to. Everything you could ever need is right here and it has the perfect climate.
Thank you so much for your time Esther, it’s been delightful working with you!
We should also note that in 2019, Esther had an incredible artwork that sold at the NERAM Packsaddle Exhibition – her journey is only just beginning, if you’d like to follow her, you can find her on Instagram.