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“It made a strong impression on me the first time I sat in a plane and looked down at the landscapes and how the various shapes and patterns were constantly changing.”

A Harmonious Union: Hvaler’s Influence on Østensvik’s Canvas

Elisabeth Østensvik, hailing from Fredrikstad—a quaint city in southern Norway—experienced an itinerant lifestyle from a tender age. The frequent relocations marked both her formative years and later adult life, compelling her to seamlessly integrate into a plethora of diverse social milieus. Today, she has found solace on Hvaler, an island nestled in southeastern Norway. The island, with its tranquil ambiance, grants Østensvik a harmonious union with nature. Its cyclical seasons, the vast expanse of the sea, and the rugged cliff edges not only offer her respite but also serve as a profound source of inspiration for her art.

When delving into the heart of Østensvik’s creations, one cannot help but wonder whether the mosaic of places she’s called home has left an indelible imprint on her chosen motifs. Her artistry predominantly reveals an affinity for abstracted domiciles set against the backdrop of expansive landscapes. These architectural features, within her oeuvre, aren’t merely visual elements. They encapsulate a deeper symbolism—a reflection of our innate desires for shelter, security, and a sense of belonging. Furthermore, the geometry of these structures poses a tantalizing challenge, pushing her to experiment with lines, surfaces, and interplays of light. Through meticulous attention to the architectural nuances and their surrounding environment, Østensvik aspires to weave a tapestry of cohesive unity in each of her masterpieces.

From Early Sketches to Renowned Exhibitions: Østensvik’s Artistic Evolution

Elisabeth Østensvik demonstrated an innate affinity for the arts from a tender age, with drawing as her initial medium of self-expression. As she transitioned into her adolescent years, this zeal for visual creation expanded, encapsulating broader realms of artistic exploration. The 1980s marked a pivotal moment in Østensvik’s artistic journey, as she delved into the world of photography, finding a new lens through which she could capture and convey her vision.

Her thirst for knowledge and deeper understanding led her to pursue studies in art history at University of Oslo. The academic sphere not only enriched her perspective but also ignited a fervent desire to further refine her prowess in both drawing and painting. Recognizing this need for formal training, Østensvik enrolled in an esteemed drawing and painting institution situated in Oslo in 1985, where she dedicated two transformative years honing her craft.

While Østensvik’s commitment to the arts was unwavering, she also maintained a parallel career in nursing. This dual pursuit provided her with the flexibility of working part-time, ensuring she never had to distance herself from her beloved canvas. Her dedication and evolving expertise culminated in her eventual transition to a full-time visual artist. Over the years, Østensvik has graced various exhibitions with her artwork. Not only has she had the privilege of hosting solo showcases, but she has also collaborated with esteemed art associations, including but not limited to Hvaler, Fredrikstad, and Råde.

Inspirations and Endeavors: The Multifaceted Palette of Østensvik

Elisabeth Østensvik’s artwork, particularly her linocuts, has garnered significant recognition, earning her a place in numerous juried exhibitions. Throughout Østensvik’s artistic odyssey, she has sourced inspiration from a diverse array of influences, ranging from the intricacies of nature and architectural structures of houses to the expansive vistas captured in satellite imagery and TV nature programs. In the nascent stages of her career, Østensvik drew profound inspiration from art luminaries such as Giorgio Morandi, Pablo Picasso, Giorgio de Chirico, Kurt Schwitters, Kasimir Malevich, and the photographic artistry of Karl Blossfeldt. The 2015 exhibition of Anna Eva Bergman proved to be a pivotal juncture in her journey, with Bergman’s unique style reigniting Østensvik’s fervor for painting. Presently, her muses encompass the likes of Nicolas de Staël, Richard Diebenkorn, Wayne Thiebaud, and fellow Norwegian painter Hanne Borchgrevink. While Østensvik’s palette has evolved to embrace brighter hues, her steadfast focus remains on texture, composition, and the tactile surface of her creations.

One of her most cherished endeavors is titled “Pareidolia/Transformations”. This initiative derives its essence from the mesmerizing patterns and contours of landscapes observed from an airborne vantage point. Captivated by these aerial views, Østensvik artfully transforms satellite images into exquisite paintings, delving deep into the exploration of textures, stratified layers, and recurring motifs of houses. Parallel to her painting pursuits, she delves into the realm of linocut prints and digital graphics. The intricate process of linocut printing, particularly employing the puzzle method, engrosses her completely. While she possesses the tools to produce smaller prints within her personal workspace, she relies on the facilities of the Holmen art joint workshop in Fredrikstad for larger format pieces.

Layered Emotions: Østensvik’s Workspace and Future Aspirations

In her artistic journey, Elisabeth Østensvik initially embraced oil paints but soon gravitated towards acrylics, captivated by their rapid drying qualities. This evolution in her choice of medium mirrored Østensvik’s passion for layering, a technique she seamlessly integrates into both linocut prints and photography.

Østensvik holds ambitions of venturing into novel artistic terrains, particularly embedding her artistry into the architectural contours of contemporary structures, such as churches. While many of these visions remain discreetly tucked away, they undeniably illuminate the path for her imminent artistic pursuits.

The workspace of Østensvik, an intimate extension of her home, stands as her haven. This sanctuary offers an undisturbed ambiance, granting her the liberty to delve into her artistry at any chosen moment. The tranquil surrounds of her abode, replete with glimpses of local wildlife ranging from avian wonders to graceful deer, continually ignite her inspiration. Periodic respites amidst nature, whether wandering through the neighboring woods or by the shore, enrich her. This solitude coupled with the autonomy to sculpt her daily schedule further amplifies her innate creativity.

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