REVEAL Q2 2017 - Page 27

How would you describe your style? I would say realistic with an abstract touch. Impressionistic, maybe? Whatever it is, it’s always filled with love. Who is your the biggest artistic influence? Steve Penley, by far. I worked for him the summers of 2008-9. It changed my life to see a real artist at work who had created a business of himself and his artwork. He shared tips with me all summer, and even allowed me paint with him at times. I learned not only how to become a better, faster painter, but also the thing they don’t teach you in school – how to make a career out of it. Penley really encouraged me, and was the first person to tell me I should “go for it” and to dream big. He was the first person to truly believe in me (besides my parents). I still use the brushes that he gave me when I worked for him. I kinda think they are magic. Describe your artistic process. I usually start with a photograph, unless I am painting something completely abstract. I like working with photographs. They are my best friends. Photos capture a moment in time, and allow me to paint that moment from the past. I sketch the photograph to get warmed up and then just go for it. Most paintings take 4-8 layers. I enjoy painting fast. I believe it’s best to let your intuition take control and just let your hands and heart do the thinking. Once I’ve finished the painting, I get a high quality photo. I’ve learned it’s extremely important to document your work. Instagram is a great way I share my work and journey with others! I use acrylic paint and some good-quality square brushes. I usually paint on gallery wrapped canvas. I like to paint the sides so that the painting doesn’t need to be framed. After the art part, I work on my marketing and business side of things. This is not technically part of my artistic practice, but is necessary because I want to sell work and make a living, so it all comes full circle. What is your favorite subject matter to paint? I really enjoy painting everything. I love the way paint hits the canvas and is scrubbed across it’s surface. I like the technical part. But if I had to pick one area it would be people. I see it bring joy to people’s eyes when they see a painting of their loved one and it makes me want to cry. It is so satisfying seeing others happy with the finished result. That’s really why I love painting. Paintings make you feel something, and I like when that something is happiness. REVEAL | Q2 2017 27 What is your favorite work you’ve completed? I would have to say my favorites are a handful of portraits I’ve done over the years. They have the most meaning behind them. I recently finished a 4x4-foot commission of three children and their two golden retrievers in front of a fun mural on the Beltline. It was a surprise for the husband’s birthday. The experiences I have with my clients are what make the paintings memorable. With that being said, I deliver all my paintings soon after I finish them. I like painting fast so I usually don’t have them for long. So, I make sure not to grow an attachment to any of my pieces. What are your long term goals? To display in galleries and exhibitions, as I continue to paint full time. I’m really just seeing where God takes me. I never imagined at 27 that I would be painting full time and creating a business from it. I am hopeful and excited to be living my dream on the path I know I was meant to take. Eleni Bafas is owner of Bafas Law where she specializes in estate planning, corporate formation, and family law, and the co-founder of the Atlanta Social