“Let the painting be painted,” says junior artist, Evie Murray on her approach to her craft. But for Evie, it’s part of a longer creative journey, one where painting was not always in the drivers’ seat. Her primary early influence was her sister Virginia, who amazed Evie with her talent for creating detailed images with ease. Evie took note of this and began sketches of her own, mainly actors and artists she is interested in.
As her technical ability and her creative visions began to mature, she was ready to dive deeper. “I eventually found the simple figure sketching to be too limiting. Moving into the art program at Sewanee has given me much more freedom but also discipline at the same time.” But as time went on and Evie began to seek out her own creative voice, she found it not in the paintbrush, but the pen.
At Sewanee, Evie is an English major pursuing an art minor, but before arriving on the Mountain she began to write and color her thoughts in journals, quickly becoming adept at tapping into her creative side. She primarily incorporates darker color schemes, frequently using different depths of grey, white, and black to create her own small worlds populated by abstract figures or fixations on specific details that almost appear frozen in an entirely different time and place.
“As I grew as an artist I began to find my style using art as a therapeutic process. The inner workings of my mind really started to come out more, both in the paint itself and the words from my creative writing… A lot of the inspiration from my paintings comes from my old creative writing journals. Those words serve as a great basis for my paintings without dominating the painting itself but rather working together to create a story.”
Evie’s recent projects through the art curriculum continue to develop a balance between freedom and discipline, between technique and raw expression. Recently she completed a project where she was to paint twenty separate one-hour long paintings that connect both aesthetically and thematically. “This project was an interesting challenge for me. In a weird way, the one-hour limit gave me the freedom that I was looking for, to just set the timer and begin painting with nothing but an idea was a great creative experience for me.”
Evie’s current vision of art is to grow both on her own time and in the classroom, but she has not dismissed the prospect of moving into the Instagram-driven business world of art. “I started an account where I was painting clothes, like denim jackets and that sort of thing. But I found that it was still a bit constricting because it was largely based on commissions. I am open to creating an account at some point in the future if it would allow me to create what I want to. Art is something I could never see myself quitting.”