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Chevere: Elizabeth Claire Ospina

What is Chevere?

The first time I visited Paris when I was 25, I remember waiting in a cafe to meet a friend of mine, a local musician. After sitting down, and having much difficulty and stress while trying to place my order,  I remember the feeling of exhilaration that came upon me when my friend, a native Parisian, came and sat down next to me, and was immediately the missing link necessary for me to effortlessly communicate what I struggled so much with just moments before. What he said during our conversation really stayed with me - about how when we leave our familiar surroundings, when we leave home - one of the things that really brings people together is language. Language is home.  Being of Latin American descent, I have heard CHEVERE come out of the smiling mouths of friends and family members since as far back as I can recall. CHEVERE to me means happiness, perfect moments, the start of new adventures, perfect love, and best friendships. CHEVERE to me, means home. 

Is there a color you dislike so much you won't use it?

I always gravitate towards more muted tones, regularly mixing black and white pigments in with other colors to make them suit what is pleasing to my eye.  I love colors that make me feel a sense of peace and calm.  For now, I would say that I don't think I would incorporate most shades of violet directly onto my palette or in one of my paintings.

How many times have you ventured outside of your comfort zone?

I love to travel, and therefore traveling regularly allows me to get out of my comfort zone and allows me time to self-reflect.  At the end of 2013 I spent two weeks with the Huaorani tribe in the Yasuni basin of Amazon rainforest - no internet, no showers, no frills and zero  comforts of home - all while deep in a jungle where we were stalked by jaguars daily and surrounded by thousands of species of gorgeous - albeit deadly - flora and fauna.  While to most that may sound like a terrifying experience, being surrounded with a beautiful and loving community and having this experience with one of my best friends, combined with the incredible beauty found in such a diverse ecosystem made venturing outside of my comfort zone an incredibly memorable and beautifully pivotal experience for me.

Tell us about your current series.

Right now I am just starting work on a piece that I plan to submit to another PoetsArtists publication, The Male Muse.  Up until now my work has primarily centered around female beauty and I am excited to step out of my comfort zone and try something new.  I am very inspired by classical imagery and the works of the old masters, and I want to combine my love of tradition with my love of design and incorporate some abstract elements.

What are some of the ideas you think about in the middle of the night?

I almost exclusively work on painting in the middle of the night, so on any given night I am racking my brain with different ideas for compositions, pouring over images that inspire me, as well engaging in dialogue with other artists that I love and admire.  In one word: Art.

Tell of a memorable experience from an art show.

Perhaps the most memorable and influential show I've seen that relates to my art was during a trip to Vienna two winters ago.  With Vienna being the home of Gustav Klimt, the Belvedere museum houses much of his work.  I will never forget walking into the main gallery upon entering the museum, making a left turn into the room, and finding myself face to face with his painting "The Family."  While I had always appreciated his work in books - seeing his work in person was a completely different experience - it made me realize that making all efforts to see artwork in person is imperative in really understanding the work emotionally, and as the artist intended.  Seeing the texture, the brush strokes, the unfinished areas, the process - had a profound effect on the way I paint today.  After returning home from that experience, coincidentally, I began working on what is now my piece for CHEVERE, "Corinne."

Elizabeth Claire Ospina (b. 1983, Toronto, ON, CA) is a Hispanic-American artist living and working in Chicago, IL. She earned the Doctor of Pharmacy degree in 2011 from Midwestern University, and in early 2014 began studying traditional oil painting under an atelier based in Chicago. As she continues to improve upon her technique and develop her own style of painting, Elizabeth seeks to express the complexity of the human condition through her work, striving to evoke an emotional response.