This week, we’re taking a glimpse into the artistic process of Spanish painter Elena Barón, who composes harmonious, emotional paintings in a range of styles. From all-important solitude to long walks in nature, discover how her creative ideas travel from mind to canvas.
Hello, Elena! What’s the first thing you do when you wake up in the morning?
Before getting up I stay in bed for a few minutes to think about the dreams I had. Sometimes they are real adventures, and I reflect on those dreams. I also do some yoga stretches. Then I prepare a nice, energetic and healthy breakfast, take a shower and start my day on a positive note.
What inspires you to create every day?
Since childhood I have always been very creative; for me it comes easily and naturally. I am inspired by life itself: my lived experiences, emotions; my rich inner world and imagination. I am particularly moved by love and nature.
I am aware of how lucky I am to be able to work doing what I am passionate about. For me, my work doesn’t feel like a job. I enjoy creating, it’s like playing a game that I never get bored with and in which I always win. Creating is a vital necessity.
What does your work space look like?
My studio is in the attic of a 7-story building in the center of Madrid. It’s very close to my house, as I like to be close to my art and able to paint at any time, day or night.
It is very bright and quiet for being on the top floor and I can work both inside and on the beautiful outdoor terrace, in good weather, where I have a lot of vegetation, where I see the sky, the birds flying, the moon …
Describe the core of your technique or style.
My creative process is very varied as my mind never stops. In fact, often the work has been a vision in my mind long before it’s materialized. Other times, it’s pure improvisation, or a mixture of both.
In general I express myself with mixed techniques, with all kinds of materials, sometimes collected from the ground when I walk through the forest, giving them a new life, in the form of art, so that they last forever. I also work with recycled materials, in response to my concerns about the environment.
Many of my works have reliefs and textural qualities, appearing almost sculptural. I like to have not only visual perceptions but also tactile ones. I don’t like to paint reality as it is, but rather to invent scenarios and transform my world. I think that my art is versatile, eclectic and poetic but with common themes of nature and emotion.
Do you have any studio rituals?
I need to have a peaceful inner world, just like my outer world. This requires total solitude and no interruptions. I leave my phone and immerse myself in the creative process. I also always listen to music while I work.
How do you know or decide when an artwork is finished?
It depends on the work. There are times where the finished work is clear in my mind, so I know how it needs to end up looking, although I usually change something. Other times, especially in abstract and semi-abstract styles, I let myself go and know that it’s finished when I am totally satisfied with the result. It ends when I simply consider that the piece is beautiful.
What do you like to do to unwind after a day’s work?
I like to share time with my husband: have dinner, chat or watch a good movie. And after several months of work I travel many kilometers from the city, to see my family and be in the middle of nature, take long walks, take photographs and dedicate myself to the contemplative life and recharge myself with energy.
What’s your overall favorite aspect of the creative process?
The whole creative process is very exciting and rewarding.
I love to start something new, with new materials or techniques, something I had in my mind a long time ago. But I especially enjoy when I finish a work and feel satisfied with the result – that’s when I feel full happiness.
I think I need more than one life to develop all the works that my imagination is housing!