Elaine Daily-Birnbaum is a watercolor artist who creates abstract paintings composed of mixed watermedia on paper or canvas. A member of the National and American Watercolor Society, and a juror for the annual NWS exhibition, Elaine’s watercolor work has won countless awards all over the country. Aside from these beautiful works, it was her lack of formal art training that drew me in further. Although she has studied with many artists in the field, it is her self-educated process that allows her to abandon all rules and methods regarding the painting process.
Elaine’s artistic process begins with applying watercolor and other mediums; acrylic, ink, or crayon on paper without any pre-conceived image. The steps that follow come from what she sees happening on the surface. She layers, blends, and texturizes the color she adds to her work.
She loves texture and generating a sense of mystery in her works. She believes this is easily accomplished by using water-based pigments that allow layering, as well as scrubbing and scratching into. Elaine uses any water-based pigment to achieve the appearance she is looking for but tends to use watercolor the most.
“I am certainly not a purist! I’ll even add a piece of collage if I think it is needed to convey the intent of the piece” says Elaine about her paintings.
Elaine never has a specific concept at the onset of her work, but rather, allows the concept to evolve during the process of painting. Each brushstroke changes some aspect of the relationship in the artwork and each is a reaction to the existing relationships. This is why she considers herself almost a medium in the triad; the paper, the paint, and her. They all react to each other. In order to prevent overthinking and overanalyzing the work, she listens to books on tape as she paints.
“This keeps my left brain engaged and my right brain free to creatively tune in and react
to what’s happening between the paint and the paper. Only later do I allow my left brain to
come in and logically view my work in terms of composition and elements of design”
Bridge over troubled waters, watercolor