Studio Elsaab

About the Artist

Elsabe O’Donovan is a contemporary South African artist who recently took up her art practice on a full-time bases. She has been nominated for the 2023 Watch List by leading South Africa online magazine, as one of the most-on-the-rise upcoming artist in the country.

Elsabe works seamlessly between traditional and digital art. She often expresses herself in media such as watercolours, acrylic paint, charcoal and mixed media but enjoys working in her digital studio while travelling. Her art process usually starts by capturing photographic images of her surroundings and subject matter; which gets translated into imaginative, conceptual visuals or metaphors of a new subliminal world. 

Elsabe has obtained a BA (Ed) Fine Arts degree from the University of Pretoria, South Africa and founded the Open Window Institute for Arts and Digital Sciences. Her studio is in the picturesque town of Knysna on the garden route of the Western Cape. 

Artist Statement

When I look around me, I see art-moments all the time. A new reality forms within the reality, the invisible becomes visible; a thin membrane between what we see and what we don’t see. Nature sometimes become esoteric, the obscure becomes clear.

I am fascinated by the peculiar existence of man on planet earth and the lyrical state of our existence, the underlying structures of our cosmos and the natural world, the divine precision that lives within a pseudo chaos, time versus timelessness.

I create intuitively, answering to the quest for truth while acknowledging the co-incidental. By tapping into my sub-consciousness, the authentic, physical world around me often transform into archetypal shapes, symbols or metaphors and I find a language that is partly an extension of myself, partly an answer to an universal quest. For me, art is self-expression channelled through the universe that in return reveals art to the artist. The art process happens through us, not because of us. The underlying truths, the irony, the inherent meaning of the world around us becomes visible when the artist is open to an uninterrupted free flowing process where visualstimuli become merely the connection point for a greater reality.

I produce art by moving seamlessly between different media, between traditional and digital art. The process often starts with the manipulation of my photos that either remain digital or becomes a pre-sketch for a watercolour or acrylic painting – or vice versa. I enjoy the freedom to work in different genre, styles and mediums and believe that art can only become truthful when it has no boundaries.

Flower Hand Watercolour, 2022