Eva Magill-Oliver


My name is Eva Magill-Oliver, South Carolina, USA, one son. I’ve always loved this popular quote from artist Chuck Close and it often serves as my motto. “Inspiration is for amateurs. The rest of us just show up and get to work. If you wait around for the clouds to part and a bolt of lightening to strike you in the brain, you are not going to make an awful lot of work. All the best ideas come out of the process; they come out of the work itself. “ 

Image courtesy of Eva Magill-Oliver

I knew I was interested in art and specifically painting at a young age. Luckily my parents saw this and enrolled me in watercolor, acrylic and oil classes after school and on the weekends. I continued in collage to pursue art and graduated with a BFA in drawing and painting. Soon after I finished school I started working at a fine arts and publishing company as an inhouse artist and designer. Although at the time I was not actually creating the work I aspired to do I was still able to paint and be creative every day. That period was an important learning and experimenting time for me and helped me perfect some of my artistic skills. It wasn’t until after my son was born some years later that I actually pursed a career solely based off my personal work.

My paintings are similar to my paper pieces in that they are typically inspired by nature and my current environment. I often use color palettes, patterns textures and silhouetted shapes that I experience in nature. Lately I’ve been interested in exploring and capturing movement and light and trying to find the ultimate balance between the two. I always use mixed media because I love allowing the materials themselves to play a role in the art. A way of accepting that I am not entirely in control and that I have to let go and react to certain outcomes.

Image courtesy of Eva Magill-Oliver

When I first get into the studio I normally do small quick studies in my sketchbook or loose papers. They are done in watercolor or ink in an effort to keep them fluid and fast. I feel this practice serves as a warm up to begin to have my eyes, hands and brain working together. I then start on larger paintings while working on the floor as opposed to an easel. I love the ability to move around the piece and spatially it helps me see the work as a whole and from all angles.

I’ve been an artist for a long time so certainly there have been moments of low motivation. These times were often in parallel with difficult or stressful moments in my life. Yet these moments typically didn’t last long and thankfully I was able to find my creative energy again. My main motivation comes from both goals I set for myself personally and the innate desire to create.

All genres of artists can get into a state of flow as they work and nothing is more rewarding and satisfying. I find motivation in that I created something from nothing. To have made a work of art that couldn’t have existed without my mind and hand and will continue to exist after me. Artists who have most influenced me are Richard Diebenkorn, Cy Twombly, Margaret Kilgallen, Georgia O’Keeffe and Mark Rothko.

Image courtesy of Eva Magill-Oliver

Currently my studio is inside my home. Over the years I have had both my studio where I lived and outside the home and for now with having a young son I find this arrangement works best. It makes it easier to complete small tasks and to execute quickly on a thought or idea. I feel it helps to keep my work more fluid. I prefer to work in the morning and late afternoons when the light is best and my mind is the clearest.

In the studio I try to surround myself with objects/items that help nurture creativity. Such as art and design books and magazines, drawings that my son has made me, nature objects and house plants. I also always have a mood board up. It shows the current direction I want to take my work and also future directions I wish to take. I find it helps keep myself on track and at the same time the ideas fresh and evolving.

Art serves as my voice in the world. A way to visually represent what I wish to say but can not or do not. It satisfies I part of me that nothing else in the world can do.

Piece with Artist. © www.piecewithartist.com

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