Surreal Scenes with Elyse Dodge


Portrait of Elyse Dodge

Elyse Dodge is a Vancouver-based artist best known for her vibrant, deconstructed landscapes. Emphasizing form over the subject, she seamlessly blends the freedom of Impressionism with the precision of geometry. Dodge’s paintings capture the complex spirit of Canada’s West Coast and invite a newfound appreciation of the classic landscape.

Elyse is also our next artist! If you love these gentle landscapes as much as we do, have we got a great surprise package for you. Our next mailing includes a striking print by Elyse, along with a shareable postcard of another one of her works. As always, you’ll also get a printed copy of this interview, an inspiring illustrated quote, and a creative activity. Subscribe now so you don’t miss out!

Tantalus Painting by artist Elyse Dodge

Tell us about your artwork for Papirmass (not pictured).

My work aims to capture the vibrant beauty of the landscapes that we call home. By using a bold colour palette and the combination of hard and soft lines, I am able to accentuate the diverse shapes of the scenery around us.

I see the world in colour, shapes, and light. The process of discovering, simplifying and recreating iconic scenery has become my therapy. Through this journey, I have realized that even when you deconstruct landscapes down to their most simple forms, they remain beautiful. The contrast between the crisp geometric lines of the mountains and organic textures of the trees has become my signature aesthetic. The polygonal shapes transform the peaks from being something that is recognizable as a mountain to a faceted, diamond-like form. These surreal scenes encourage the mind to imagine what an alternate and more vivid world could look like.

The age of technology and social media has inspired my new collection to be more design-driven and collaborative in its process. I use Instagram to research different landscapes and partner with photographers to recreate their landscape imagery into paintings and digital renderings. I use my experience as a graphic designer to create mockups before I pick up a brush and start to paint. This shared creative journey allows my paintings and digital landscapes to bridge different mediums and encourages artists and photographers to work together as a collective.

What is your creative process?

Once I find a landscape that translates well into a geometric scene I create a collage of photos, colour palettes and, inspiring reference images. From there I begin identifying where the shadows and highlights are in the landscape. Shape by shape, I start to pull a full image together. Once I am satisfied with the image I project it onto a canvas, draw out the lines and start the detailed process of painting each shape.

Minarets by Painter Elyse Dodge

How do you get into your creative zone?

In order to get into the creative zone, I usually start with an iced soy latte and a great playlist which often consists of some progressive house mixes or disco funk tracks. Once I have the right soundtrack and enough caffeine I will start scrolling through landscape photography online and collect images of those locations with interesting perspectives. When the images are selected I will look through Pantone colour combinations and start to think about what palette would compliment the landscape the best and create the right vibe. I think Instagram and Pinterest are two great resources for finding inspiring colour palettes and imagery to get the creative juices flowing.

What is your most important tool?

My laptop. Some close seconds would be my Golden paints, angled paint brushes and painters tape.

Elyse Dodge Landscape Painting In Progress

What do you love about where you create?

The style of painting that I do requires a lot of dry time so I chose to work from home instead of a dedicated studio space so I can multitask and work throughout the day and evening. I am lucky enough to have a studio space in my home which has access to a patio and a beautiful view of the North Shore mountains in Vancouver, BC. On a sunny afternoon, I will move my easel outside and use the colours of the scenery around me as inspiration.

What is the best advice you’ve received?

“Manage your own experience.” Invest your time in the things, people and environments that fill you up, and have the courage to leave the things that don’t. Also, “The work wants to be made and it wants to be made through you.”

Is creativity learned or innate?

Creativity is innate, comes in many forms, and is not just the ability to draw or paint. We suppress creativity by the narratives that we tell ourselves.

Joffre by Elyse Dodge

What role do artists play in society?

Artists transform ideas into works of art, and when given the opportunity can do the same for society. Artists often visualize that which doesn’t exist yet and this makes them incredibly valuable when it comes to city planning and thinking outside of the box. Culture grows in societies where artists thrive. Support the arts and you support the grit and character of your city.

How do you hope your work will create change in the world?

I would love to help people stop and appreciate the beauty around them. We are a society that encourages a fast paced, busy and distracted lifestyle. I hope that my art encourages people to be more reflective, to slow down and to make time to spend quality time in nature.

Why live in Vancouver?

Easy, the epic views and access to nature! You can see the towering mountains from most locations in Vancouver and within a 15-minute walk anywhere in downtown, you’re at the ocean. The landscape is my muse.

Squamish by Elyse Dodge

Our April 2019 Edition will feature work by Elyse Dodge. Subscribe to Paprimass by March 31st to receive her beautiful prints!

Explore more of her work on Instagram: @elysedodge