Elaine Pamphilon: Paintings
Elaine Pamphilon is a painter working in Cambridge and St Ives.
Walks and patterns in the countryside, everyday objects, and souvenirs, inform Pamphilon’s paintings. She spends time observing and considering colours, shapes, line and texture in everything she sees. Daily walks around the nature reserve with partner, sculptor Christopher Marvell, together with the house in St Ives and the surrounding Penwith countryside provide inspiration. Pamphilon evokes the wild, windswept beauty of the coast, cliffs and sea paths, fishing harbours and beaches around her house and studio in St Ives, Cornwall.
‘Each day the light is different, the countryside inspirational – molehills, hundreds of them, long frothy meadowsweet, flocks of tiny birds darting in front of us, coming out of the hedges along soft leafy woodland paths.’
‘Rather than painting exactly what I see, it is an emotional reaction to being in a that place at that particular time.'
Pamphilon is also a harpist. A scholarship took her to the Royal Academy of Music, London, where she was taught by Welsh harpist Ossian Ellis and she then undertook further studies with David Watkins, principal harpist at the Royal Opera House, Covent Garden and in Paris with Solange Renie-Siguret. There are often musical and literary references in her paintings and drawings.
Whilst in Paris Pamphilon lived with the family of French artist, André Hambourg, she formed an idea of being an artist herself. In the mid-1980s Pamphilon went to Homerton College, Cambridge, where she studied under Kay Melzi. Melzi, who had been a student of Michael Rothenstein, had a major influence on Pamphilon’s work. Whilst in Cambridge Pamphilon also became acquainted with the collector Jim Ede and his house at Kettle’s Yard. Here she came into contact with the greats of Modern British art in Ede’s collection including Ben Nicholson and Alfred Wallis. Pamphilon’s work responds to and develops many of the subjects and themes of the Modern British tradition.