There should be more days when we allow ourselves just one goal: create beauty. I’ve had the unique opportunity to spend some time in the Front Street studios, working and painting alongside renowned artist, Mike Elsass. Mike’s Dayton gallery, “The Color of Energy,” and countless others from Sedona to Chicago showcase his talents, and now The Envelope is proud to display and sell his work- a dynamic assortment of pieces Mike has created with rust and acrylic on steel. The result is a vibrant body of art that is rich in color, depth, motion, and texture.
For me, painting with Mike is an escape…an escape from the ordinary, an escape from routine, an escape from the array of randomness that riddles my brain on a daily basis. Painting allows me to simply create. Do I know what I’m doing? Nope. Have I learned to enjoy the beauty of exploring something new? Absolutely.
Every day I stare in wonder at the magnificent pieces that now adorn the walls of The Envelope, and it means so much more to me after experiencing it firsthand, from an artist’s perspective. After rolling up the sleeves of my white tuxedo shirt (a happy alternative to the traditional smock), I witnessed the creative process in various stages… from the very beginning when the sheets of steel were treated with vinegar and sand, covered in plastic and left to corrode, to the process of applying color and texture, layer after layer. “There are no mistakes…” was the only rule. Despite this simple creed, at first I was worried about “messing up,” but as I experimented with different colors, sand, powders, brushes, and rollers I became more comfortable and I settled into the work, which became meditative and therapeutic.
As I worked, I realized that like life, creating art is a process. I couldn’t expect perfection from the get-go, and I didn’t necessarily know where I was headed. There were times when I felt like I’d made mistakes, but the beauty of the process allowed me to keep going, over and over, until it felt right. Sometimes I asked for guidance, and other times I dug through the bucket of acrylics, picked one (burnt orange was a reliable stand-by), and tried again on my own.
A little paint here, a little copper dust there, a few more brushstrokes here…now how about some chalk? I followed my whims, I watched and learned, I eventually found comfort in the reassurance of knowing “there are no mistakes.” And when all was said and done, the result was a beautiful collaborative effort- perfect in its imperfection.
To me, painting isn’t just an escape, but a lesson- an exercise in personal growth. It stretches the boundaries of familiarity, inspires creative freedom, and allows me to experience a glimpse inside the life of an artist. I value the days when I allow myself to simply create. I revel in the colors, the scents, the feel of the work…by painting with Mike Elsass, I get to experience firsthand the color of energy. Come see for yourself why the work of this incredibly talented local artist has become so widely acclaimed – once you experience it, “you won’t know what hit you…and you’ll never turn back.”