Evelyn Hamilton is always searching for that magical moment to capture in her paintings. She wants that moment to apprehend the attention of those who view her work and linger in their minds. Evelyn knows that having goals in life (and in art) is a good thing, but she never loses sight of the ‘here and now’. She knows that we are ‘here’ today and we need to cherish and enjoy ‘now’. Evelyn’s work is thick with emotion and soul, and she has been very successful in subduing viewers with images that draw one in and leaves you immersed in a labyrinth of gnawing questions – Who are those people? Are they in love? Is she lonely? Is she mythical? Are they in the act? It is amazing that paintings can leap off canvases and induce query sessions so persistent that you need to find the artist and learn his/her personal story.
Evelyn possesses something really unique and we are thankful that her paintings forced us to find her and ask her the questions below.
I’m always searching for that one simple gesture, emotion, light …
Please tell us a little about yourself – your childhood, siblings, where you grew up, what you liked as a child, strange thoughts as a child/now, unique attributes, where you live now, etc.?
I grew up with my parents and 3 older sisters in a creative family. We lived on the outskirts of the city of Eindhoven, Holland, very close to nature.
As a child, I was just like a boy playing with friends in the woods building various shelters. We sometimes left the house without food because we took a manual about ‘how to survive in nature’ – most of the time we returned home with stomach aches because we had only eaten sugar beets from the field. I also liked to keep company with neighborhood dogs(I still love dogs).
My father was an adventurous man. He worked as an engineer on an freighter at sea and was away for long stretches. But when he was at home he loved to paint. He could also make beautiful woodcarvings. My mother was his model. I still remember the delicious scent of paint and wood shavings in his studio. I think that’s where my love for art started. Encouraged by my father, I started to draw and paint and couldn’t stop. My parents were happy with my pastime because it kept me quiet and at home.
I did not expect to make a living with art so I chose something more tangible – education. I studied Graphic Design – a creative nice job. Subsequently, at my jobs in various advertising agencies/publishers, my talent for drawing was noticed. This led to many Illustration assignments. There is a thin line between illustration and art. Later on, my desire for creative freedom grew immensely so I decided to study at the academy of fine arts where I graduated with high honors.
I still live happily in Eindhoven (near the woods) with a husband, two kids and a dog. I have a studio at home.
What does your art mean to you?
To me my art is an exciting journey that never ends. I’m always searching for that one simple gesture, emotion, light in the eyes, that moves and fascinates and won’t let you go.
I also like a little mysteriousness in my work. When people ask me “what’s happening on that painting, is it a quarrel, a caress, or a dance?” Then I know that my painting succeeded. I don’t feel the need to explain my work. Explaining takes away all the fantasy.
How do you describe your form of art?
Portraiture and figurative art, painted in an impressionistic way.
Your art shows a lot of human interaction and fluidity of the human body and human expressions, how did you develop your personal style? What tools do you use for the creation of your work?
I studied for years at the academy of fine Arts in Belgium were I specialized in anatomy and portraiture. I also spent hours studying the moves and emotions in modern ballet films.
Later, I developed my own style by experimenting, letting go of technique and going with the flow. When I am in that flow or zone, I scratch, rub and splash using all the tools I have, but mostly, only my fingers and a wipe.
I learned that painting is all about ‘painting, removing parts and painting them back’, and trusting myself with the fact that something exciting will arise.
When was your last art epiphany and what was it about?
I forced myself to use colors I dislike just to stretch myself a little. I was surprised that this created one of my best paintings ever!
What is the worst critique you have ever received about your work? What is the best compliment that you have received about your work?
I regularly hold open houses at home to show my paintings. Its nice to show my works in a domestic atmosphere. Once a fancy lady came in, studied all my paintings closely and from a distance. Then she came to me and said: “Do you know what I like the most”?
I expectantly looked at her. Then she said “the wallpapers in your house, where did you get those?” Not a word about my paintings.
The best compliment was from a famous Dutch writer and art-critic, Joost Zwagerman. He said that the people in my portraits really have a soul. And that it’s really a gift to be able to paint like this.
Which artist/s do you look up to the most? In your view, what defines a great artist?
When I saw a painting by William Turner for the first time I was extremely awed. I have never seen more wonderful use of light in a painting. How did he do that with only canvas and paint ? And what courage he must have had to paint in this wild way in 1842.
That’s, in my opinion, a real artist. An artist with the courage to follow his/her own way. Following emotion and ignoring criticism.
Since Style.No.Chaser is a men’s lifestyle magazine, what attributes/items/clothing /etc. do you think define a man?
There is nothing more attractive than a confident man (who is not afraid to show his weakness now and then). His confidence can be reflected in the style of clothes he chooses. I prefer to see men in good quality tough casual wear. And for the right occasion, a tailored suit . I don’t like overdressed vain men. By the way, signet rings really tuns me off.
What is your personal life philosophy?
In my house I painted the following words on the wall: “When you catch what you’re after, it’s gone” (Malcolm Forbes, American publisher). I totally agree with this. It’s fine to have a goal in life, but in the meantime, be glad and enjoy what you have here and now.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever received as an artist?
Don’t try to make a “masterpiece” You will fail! A masterpiece will arise when you least expect it.
Who dead or alive, celebrity or not, artist or not, would you like to go on a two week road trip with and why?
Hmmm, maybe William Turner or Rembrandt van Rijn. I choose Rembrandt. We can chat in Dutch on our road trip by horse or carriage. I will ask him incessant questions about his techniques and how he managed to paint his self-portrait in such firm brushstrokes in a time when that was so unusual.
How can people learn more about your current and upcoming works?
You can find my work on www.saatchiart.com/evelynhamilton and www.hamilton-art.nl (Still only in Dutch). I also currently have an exhibition of 10 works in the London, Hilton on Park Lane. It is in Executive Lounge and the expo is till March 15th.
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