Elaine St. Louis is our Washington Park neighbor, and is the artist behind these hand-painted nests. Not unlike William Wordsworth, Elaine has a deep understanding for our visceral connection to the natural world. She is inspired by the fact that her nests bring a sense of calm to a space, both physically and emotionally.
Let’s start at the beginning. Tell us about life as an art director and photo stylist and how this ultimately led to where you are now.
Way back when I was deciding on a career path, fine art just wasn’t an option. I studied commercial art and design which brought me to my eventual position as art director for Colorado Homes & Lifestyles. Page design is so much fun, but the part of my job that I had always loved best is styling homes to “look like a magazine.” Embellishing the home-owner’s style with flowers and accessories in a bigger scale and a bolder look that would reproduce well in a publication. I so enjoy working with interior designers to accomplish images of their work using the perfect florals, art and accessories. It was a natural transition to fold making fine art into the mix.
The current issue of Better Homes & Gardens Do It Yourself magazine (winter 2019 issue will be on newsstands through January) currently features a story on (celebrity) Amy Purdy’s Colorado home with my styling and including my Nest Hortansia! (https://www.facebook.com/AmyPurdyGurl/)
You paint large scale bird’s nests that are so realistic they almost look like a photograph. How do you research for your pieces?
I photograph real nests in my little portable photo studio. I have friends and acquaintances who may find a downed nest, and they contact me. I emphasize NOT to take nests out of trees, as some species return to them.
Several years ago, while sketching around, the image of a birdnest boldly isolated on white flew into my brain. I could see how I could interpret it on canvas and how it would have meaning in my own world as I work so closely with people in their own unique “nests.”
My home is actually pretty minimal. I’d call it “mid-mod-inspired eclectic.”
Where can we find your artwork?
I’m featured in a solo show at Art + Soul Gallery in Boulder through January 3. https://www.artandsoulboulder.com My original works as well as glicée prints are on my website: www.ElaineStLouis.com. I also adore working with collectors on commissioned pieces to fit their spark.
How long have you lived in Wash Park?
We moved to our home in 1993, and are celebrating it’s 125th birthday this year with a new garage/studio space!
When you are not painting, how do you spend your time?
I find joy in cooking, baking, and hiking in our gorgeous mountains. I also enjoy freelance photo styling.
What do you admire most in other artists?
When an artist has interpreted a subject in an unusual way, which portrays a deep part of their spirit. Something inspired and beautiful.
Elaine, your work inspires us to take notice of the beautifully simplistic architecture and design of these bird’s nests in their purest form. Reminding us to keep our eyes open for these natural creations and to make time to find our peace and calm. Thank you for sharing your story.