My name is Elyse. I am a college teacher. I teach writing and literature courses at the University of Rhode Island where I am also finishing my PhD. Since having a baby with my wonderful husband this year, I decided to take a year sabbatical from teaching to adjust to motherhood. In addition, I decided to turn my passion for art and painting into a small online business, with the help and support of my husband. Now I am embarking on an art project where I plan to paint images inspired by our oceans. This project will not only help build on my business brand (Website up now https://www.elysenelmarkartworks.com and Etsy site in production), but will also help me create a collection of paintings that I hope will inspire people and that I hope will remind us why we must protect and care for our oceans.
As I build up my business, I've been thinking about how I can build up my brand and get my name out there more, as well as how I can share my artwork in a special way beyond my online shop/webpage. I am already working on a project dedicated to painting images of people in love, but I also came up with a project dedicated to ocean conservation.
One thing I love to paint is ocean/coastal inspired pieces. I started doing paintings like this when my husband and I moved to Newport. Our home is walking distance to the ocean/beach. Walking along the ocean or running on the beach has provided me with tremendous peace and inspiration. It has also made me more mindful of how important it is to protect our planet's oceans.
One thing that is particularly special about Rhode Island, and especially Newport, in my opinion, is how much the coast and ocean is respected and appreciated by the locals. This really speaks to me. However, in the summers, when there are more tourists, I have noticed more trash on the beaches and washing up on shore. In addition, as an avid National Geographic magazine/online reader, I see articles all the time about the concerns and issues going on today regarding the health of the world's oceans, marine life, and our coasts. I see this as something we as human beings should be really concerned about. When I am 60 years old, I want to be able to travel with my husband and enjoy our oceans and coastal landscapes, and I want my son to be able to swim in clean water and experience the beauty and majesty of our oceans as well. Keeping them healthy and protecting them is just good for all of us for so many reasons--to be able to enjoy them, fishing/seafood, clean water, the animals/creatures that dwell within them, etc.
I've always loved water, since I was a kid. That is probably because I grew up in MI and my summers were spent by Lake MI. Now living in the Ocean State, my love for water and the ocean has grown, and this in turn has inspired a lot of my artwork.
But as I previously stated, I've realized that I want to so something beyond offering paintings of the ocean and coast through my art business. So I started thinking about embarking on this project where I will be creating paintings inspired by our oceans as a means in which to remind us of its power and beauty, as well as why it is so important to protect our oceans.
For this project, I will be opening up my website and this Kickstarter to asking for photographs (appropriate and tasteful photos) of our oceans and coasts. After receiving photographs and funding (hopefully through this Kickstarter), I will select 10 photographs that will inspire 10 new abstract art pieces--oil paintings. The key though is to embark on this project, I need the financial support because this is a huge project that requires time, supplies, advertising, and support. I particularly will need to buy large canvas boards and more paints in order to start painting images of the ocean.
The progress of this project will be posted on my webpage under "Projects." And I will be submitting 8 paintings from this project/collection to galleries and art contests in the United States during 2018 to share with more people. What is not accepted will be sold on my online shop.
Here are the links to where I am looking for contests and galleries I plan to submit to:
The other aspect to this Kickstarter is donating money to ocean conservation groups SeaLegacy and Oceana.
I want these paintings/this project to raise awareness for ocean conservation and to raise money for these two organizations. Both of these organizations have missions that seek to protect and keep our oceans healthy. They have different expeditions and projects that I support and that rely on scientific research. 20% of the Kickstarter Funds will be divided equally and donated to these two organizations. In addition, 2 out of the ten paintings I create for this Kickstarter will be put up for auction through my website/social media accounts. The money from 1 painting will go to SeaLegacy. The money from the other painting will go to Oceana.
Essentially the money for this Kickstarter is going to a great art project that will not only I hope help me build up my business and get my name out there--particularly by submitting to galleries and contests--but will also help support ocean conservation.
Why donating and supporting ocean conservation? Aside from my love for the ocean, since I started a small online business, I cannot help but think about what kind of business I want to run as well as why I paint. I want to run a business that both helps me support my family and gives back. In addition, painting is not just for me, but it is something to share with others. Art inspires us. Makes us as human beings feel things, reflect, think. Much like a walk on the beach and by the water makes me reflect and gain perspective, painting and art has a similar effect on me. And I know I am not alone--people to this day still pay money to go into art museums and galleries. Why? Art inspires us. Moves us. My hope with some of my paintings is perhaps I can inspire people to remember why our oceans need to be protected and cared for always.
Photographs will be accepted through this Kickstarter as well as through my business gmail: firstname.lastname@example.org
I will be asking for photographs for the duration of the Kickstarter. The sleeting of photographs and the sketching/painting will begin the day the Kickstarter ends (assuming this Kickstarter goes through/is funded). I wanted to start embarking on this project around the holidays because sharing the progress of this project during the holidays and into the new year I think will be really special.
I will work with backers to give them a reward/painting of their choice and that fits their investment/donation and communicate when it will be shipped/delivered.
As stated, the progress of this project will be regularly blogged about on my website starting Monday, December 18.
The paintings I showcase on this Kickstarter I hope give my supporters and investors a sense of my painting style and abilities.
While I have the Kickstarter set to $3000, a modest estimate of what I will need, I hope I surpass my goal--because that is more money I can put towards ocean conservation.