Despite being just 20 years old, local talent Eleanor Tomlinson has already firmly made her mark on the region’s art scene. Hailing from East Yorkshire, she describes her love affair with art, where she finds her inspiration and what she enjoys most about the county
Where do you get your inspiration from?
I’ve grown up in East Yorkshire. We live in an old farmhouse and from a very young age we had all sorts of wildlife making its home there. At one point I remember we had a family of squirrels living in our attic! We’ve often had field mice dashing around the kitchen, hedgehogs roaming about the garden, deer in the field behind us. It would have been really hard not to have been inspired by what has literally been on my very doorstep!
How would you describe your style?
I focus on traditional and well-loved themes but with a contemporary, twist of initiative.
What is your favourite thing to draw?
I’ve grown up loving horses. I’ve drawn horses all my life but I love all wildlife. I always say if its got fur or feathers, I love it!
What is your favourite medium as an artist?
That’s a really hard one because I mostly work in ink and watercolour but I also do a bit of pencil and oil paintings as well. It really depends on what mood I’m in. Sometimes I love the precision of oils and how you can keep reworking it with the finest of brushes – you can create all these layers and really hyper-realistic artworks. Other times when I’m feeling a little bit more ‘loose’ with my ink and watercolours it’s a lot more of a relaxed style, and you can paint quicker. It’s a lot more free and spontaneous and you never know quite how something is going to turn out. I have what I call my trademark splatters that really add energy to my paintings.
You do commissions. What would you say your favourite commission has been so far?
I don’t do anything that I don’t love – everything I’ve done I’ve loved for completely different reasons. I do a lot of pet portraits and it’s so lovely working with customers because every pet is part of the family. I like the sense of teamwork between my customer and myself and really involving them in the process of creating something that they can treasure for a lifetime. I’ve also done commercial projects which have been completely different again. And I’ve done my children’s initial illustrations – they’re so much more fun and relaxed. One of the last ones I did was going to Canada which was really exciting. The father was a Toronto Blue Jays fan so he wanted a blue jay on it. It’s lovely being able to include personal details like that.
What do you do when you are not painting?
I am studying illustration in York at the moment and I’ve just gone into my third year. My life revolves around art – I study it, it’s my hobby, it’s my job!
How do you balance your commissions with your studies?
I’m very organised and it is never a problem. The events that I’ve been doing, such as your Living North’s Fairs, also count towards my work experience, so there’s a big overlap which has helped me enormously.
What is your favourite thing to put your art on?
I don’t have a favourite – I’m still exploring. I was ever so excited when I first got my designs printed on to mugs. I’m starting to look into more surface designing with patterns for fabric and other homeware items. It’s still really new to me and I’m exploring and developing it.
What are your hopes for the business?
For it to steadily grow. I want to be based in Yorkshire and I want everything to be, if not made in Yorkshire, definitely made within the UK and wherever possible locally sourced, locally made and supporting other smaller businesses.
What is your favourite thing about East Yorkshire?
I love Yorkshire as a whole. Whether you want dramatic cliffs or the seaside, rolling hills or barren moors, everything about it is beautiful.
Where is your favourite place in Yorkshire?
Simon’s Seat on the Bolton Abbey Estates. It’s a very high climb and you see all sorts of wildlife as you go up. The view at the top is absolutely incredible.