Raw Pilbara landscape inspires creative artist
■ Living in the salt, sand, and sun of the Pilbara has influenced a young artist to draw the flora and fauna that so fascinates her.
Most of Eleanor Killen’s pieces are born from blank ink on cold pressed cotton paper forming almost taxonomic like images of boabs, banksias, and marine life.
Her favourite piece, hanging in a public display of her work at Soul Cafe, is of a seven tentacle octopus.
“I was researching facts on octopus — I’m a bit of a nerd — when I stumbled upon an image of an octopus with only seven legs,” she said.
“Initially I started imagining the octopus getting a leg bitten off by a sneaky mudcrab or reefie (shark) and then decided I should look into it a bit more.
“Turns out that male octopus have a special leg which is called a hectocotylus which is modified to be able to store and then release spermatophores (octopus swimmers) used for reproduction.”
Killen said her love of art started when she painted her family’s dining room orange as a toddler before her mum let her loose in the shed. About five years ago, she did a solo show in Banff, Canada, of mixed media paintings which she said was “mainly trees and birds native to the Banff area”.
University slowed things down a bit until a move to Karratha last year for work.
Killen said she was soon fishing, surfing, diving, and driving inland, which sparked her creative side once more.
“Art, I think, has become more prominent in the past year or so, possibly due to living up here — it is such a raw environment,” she said.
“In the red dust and gnarly stunted growth tree country you see a lot of things which have great contrast or textures, which make me want to draw.
“Or it could just be that it gets so hot sometimes that there is nothing to do but stay inside in the air-con and draw.”
Killen has recently launched a website, www.eleanorkillen art.com, and hopes to expand her art, mesh environmental education into it and broaden her audience.
Killen’s works can be seen at Soul Cafe in Karratha until December 10.
To find out more, visit her website or Eleanor Louise Killen Art on Facebook.
Eleanor Killen relaxes with a coffee at her exhibition.