Everything Was Beautiful

Everything Was Beautiful

Artwork by Emilia Van Ert
Now – January 31, 2023
Visual Arts Center | Shultz Gallery 

Artist Statement:
I began painting in 2017 after I graduated from Augustana University. I started as a music major, then switched to art in my junior year with an emphasis on photography. I had a love for capturing portraits with my camera and started to explore ways to manipulate photos to add interest and more creativity. By using Photoshop, I discovered I could create the effect of brush strokes on my photos. My photos ended up looking more like watercolor paintings than photographs.

After becoming adept at this skill, I then decided to try painting in oil in 2017. I went through something extremely traumatic, and at that point, I was looking for something that I could immerse myself in and would take more time and focus. I was struggling with my bipolar disorder, and I’m also on the autism spectrum. For someone like me, the world is kind of a scary place. I needed to find something that would calm me down when I’m feeling overwhelmed, and painting has been that for me. It’s my favorite thing to do, and it has been my creative safe haven. The challenge of accomplishing a hyper-realistic image in oil paint on canvas can be therapeutic and allows me to focus on my skills as a painter over anything else.

Everything Was Beautiful is inspired by my love of flowers. The variety, shapes and colors are exciting to me, and I paint dewdrops to add even more detail. I have come to admire the work of the old masters from the Renaissance time period. In the future, I plan to continue to work in the still life genre because of the endless possibilities it provides.

 SD Arts Council

South Dakota Arts Council support is provided with funds from the State of South Dakota, through the Department of Tourism, and the National Endowment for the Arts.