ABOUT ELISE

Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to find out more about what makes this creative brain of mine tick.

BEGINNINGS

I was born in Sydney, Australia a long time ago when there were only three tv stations and you had to get up and walk over to the tv to change the channel. I spent various times in my childhood living in Sydney, Perth and the UK where I went to boarding school for a few years. I was never what you might call ‘gifted’, artistically speaking. But with a mum that was a very talented artist I was always drawn to creative things. I had a bit of a propensity for the dramatic and studied Expressive and Performing Arts at UNSW.

Then I moved to New Zealand and got a Real Job. I dabbled from time to time with painting, but mostly just for birthday cards and such. I dreamed of becoming a children’s book illustrator.

Elise Painting Howick Beach Watercolour Artist.jpg

ART CAREER
WRITING & ILLUSTRATING

After having children, my passion for children’s literature really took off and my dream of writing and illustrating my own book was realised. In 2015 I published Rabbit’s Big Idea.

Then in 2018 I published a novel for middle grade readers called When Gina Pressed Enter which was a finalist for the Tom Fitzgibbon Award.

During our first lockdown in March 2020, I was very lucky to be invited to collaborate with local children’s musician Claudia Robin Gunn on her digital album Sing Through the Year - A Little Wild Childhood. It was so fun to create the illustrations for this project. Claudia is producing another two albums this year which I am very happy to be illustrating for her again. It’s so great to be kicking it with another local super mum! Funny how it’s all happening in another lockdown.

Elise Painting Snow Mountains Art.jpg

OTHER INTERESTS

As with a lot of Creatives, I have lots of other interests. I love book making and junk journaling. I use new and upcycled materials to produce my books and love learning new binding techniques.

I also sew and it’s a skill I’m forever grateful I learned as a young girl. Most of the sewing I’ve done of late has been making masks. Groan.

Of course, I love to travel and especially paint en plein air (outdoors). It’s the most wonderful way to truly connect with the place you are visiting and is so much more satisfying than taking a quick snap on your phone.

I also love reading and feel quite lost if I don’t have a good book in tow. I am part of a book club called Women in Translation. As the name suggests, we only read books written by women that have been translated into English. As you can imagine, the range of books we read is incredibly diverse and I love being exposed to unique writing styles and different cultures. It’s also wonderful to celebrate female writers from around the globe.

ART CAREER
PAINTING

Not long after publishing Rabbit’s Big Idea in 2015, I really started to get back into painting. I took part in an online challenge called The 100 Days Project and did a painting a day for 100 days. This was the launch of my art career.

I began to sell my work, which was a thrill beyond words. I decided to quit my part time job (sorry Sibylle) and focus more on my painting. I was dabbling between acrylic and watercolour, but soon realised that my heart truly lies with watercolour.

Since then I have done my best to improve my skills and connect to my local art community. I’ve also been very honoured to appear in The New Zealand Artist Magazine and EastLife Magazine. I was then invited to teach Watercolour at Uxbridge Art Centre in Howick. I absolutely love teaching, but unfortunately COVID lockdown restrictions have really hampered that. I’m looking forward, much like everyone, to getting back to normality so we can all just get on with it! I now host one on one online tutoring, which is so great. I can teach about the joys of watercolour to anyone in the world!

Elise De Silva Art Class Painting East Auckland.jpg

HALL OF FAME

I've been fortunate to have my work showcased in exhibitions and in the media.