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Playful Colorful Abstract Art to Make Your Room Feel Alive| Artist Elyse Katz

How This Artist Creates Playful Abstract Art that Becomes Inspiring Home Décor for Your Home

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How This Artist Creates Playful Abstract Art that Becomes Inspiring Home Décor for Your Home

Two photographs placed side by side. Both taken in Elyse Katz's art studio. One shows her artwork in process and the other is a beautiful smiling face of artist
Elyse Katz work in process during our studio visit.

We can express our creativity in almost any action we take, especially when choosing our home décor. A home filled with colorful art that “speaks to us” can feel alive with new energy and inspire us. Elyse creates playful abstract art that is so alluring that her work is sold to private collectors worldwide.

"The work isn't meant to be literal, but instead is influenced by memories of places I've been and experiences from the life I've led." Elyse Katz

Abstract Art is a Reflection of the Artist’s Experiences

Elyse Katz describes her abstract paintings as landscapes inspired by memories of places she’s been and experiences from her life. “The work isn’t meant to be literal, but rather to reflect my past experiences,” she explains. Ms. Katz’s most recent Instagram post at @elysebkatz was pulled in preparation for this blog post. Her photo and comment tie in beautifully to our first question in the interview (which she answered before taking her trip to Europe).

A photograph of the English countryside lush greens and sky
A photograph of the English countryside Elyse Katz included in her Instagram Post, @elysebkatz while traveling through Europe. Elyse is represented by Kennedy Contemporary in Newport Beach, CA.


“I know from past experience that being away from my art practice for a while usually brings new reflection and new energy. It’s been almost 4 weeks since I’ve been in my studio, and I miss it terribly. I’m reminding myself every day to be in the moment and soak up the English countryside. Focusing on the incredible shades of green and serenity here and looking forward to seeing how this all seeps into my new work once I return to California.”

The Creative Process | Home Décor and a Conversation Piece

I love this IG moment for Elyse because her angst and discipline merge to form the very definition of inspiration. I am reminded of the quote, “Discipline equals freedom.” We’ll see how this accomplished artist manages her time by incorporating painting into her daily practice during our five-minute conversation below. We’ll hear how she devised several methods and frameworks to aid the creative process.

For Elyse, the art process begins before the brush touches the canvas and carries on long after the paint has dried. As the saying goes, “a picture is worth a thousand words,” which certainly applies to Ms. Katz’s work. Her artwork will become an engaging home décor piece with a lively story to tell, making it the perfect item for an inviting home.

This is a collage of five images taken while visiting Elyse Katz's art studio. Includes images of paint bottles, a completed art work and various painting tools.
A day in the studio with Elyse Katz, Victoria Kennedy, owner of Kennedy Contemporary (top right photo), and Gigi Day. Photo – top left: “We love seeing the art in our artists’ studios, but can we talk about how much we love studio walls? They are works of art in themselves, showing the visual history of art creation.” Victoria Kennedy
Positive Energy in this Artist’s Studio

My sincere appreciation goes out to Victoria Kennedy for setting up the meeting at Ms. Katz’s studio. Through her assistance, I was able to capture images that gave a glimpse into Elyse’s world – this photo of Elyse above says it all! There is so much I am excited to share with you, but at the top of the list is to let you know that positive energy filled with artistic passion is flowing into her art.

A Conversation with Abstract Artist, Elyse Katz, Victoria Kennedy, and Gigi Day

Question 1 (Gigi Day): Elyse, thank you for welcoming me to your studio. It’s just so bright, cheerful, and fun. The wall markings are really catching my attention because they are made up of thousands of colorful strokes where your art begins. And speaking of beginnings, do you have a regular place or activity that inspires your work?

Answer (Elyse Katz): My husband and I are heading to Europe next week, and while I’m there, I’m sure I’ll find inspiration. We spend a lot of time in the countryside, and I always get inspired there. I’m inspired by graffiti on walls, old, weathered walls, and cobblestones in the city. Chris Gwaltney gave me a great piece of advice – he said to “take a photo of the colors from each place we go. When you’re back in the studio, take the colors from each image and turn them into a painting.” I’m really looking forward to trying this when we’re abroad and seeing how the sense of place challenges my practice.

This is a photo of Elyse Katz's art called Topsy Turvy. The colorway includes variations of purple, cream, white and black.
Elyse Katz’s artwork – Topsy Turvy. This piece is installed in the feature image and in the photo below.

Question 2: What’s your favorite time of day to paint? Do you paint at the same time each day or when the spirit moves you?

Answer: I love waking up early and painting in the morning! It’s when I feel most refreshed and ready for the mental challenge of painting. My normal wake-up time is around 5 am, and I love being up before the rest of the world is awake. Painting always happens first thing in the morning before I walk or work out. Then I come back to it in the afternoon until 5:00 p.m.

Question 3: Do you schedule any downtime? Are you reading any good books? 
Answer: Yes! I am reading “The Vanishing Half” by Brit Bennett. It is a multi-generational portrait of mother-daughter relationships.
1. a well-worn artist's paint brush collection. 2. The back of an artwork called, "Plan B." 3. Elyse Katz in her studio. 4. Close-up of numerous art pieces in Elyse's studio. 5. Elyse work-in-progress. 6. Photo of art completed - a fortunate buyer will  likely add this piece to their collection.
1. Elyse’s well-worn paint brush collection. 2. The back of an artwork called, “Plan B.” 3. Elyse Katz, radiant and full of positive energy, photographed in her studio. 4. Close-up of numerous art pieces in Elyse’s studio. 5. Elyse photographed while painting. 6. Photo of art completed – a fortunate buyer will likely add this piece to their collection and liven up their home.

Question 4: Elyse, you are an expert at segmenting your day. Will you share how one of your greatest strengths relates to your art?

Answer: I’d say discipline is one of my greatest strengths. Being an artist is challenging and demands that you renew your commitment every day. It means going into the studio even when you don’t have anything to say or you’re full of self-doubt. In my experience, something promising eventually happens, but only when I show up.

Question 5: Looking at the vast array of colorful paints in your studio, what do you find yourself gravitating toward? Do you have a favorite color or palette?

Answer: As a lover of minimalist fashion, I tend to gravitate towards neutrals: greys, blacks, and whites in my clothing choices. I seem to gravitate to greens in my paintings, and they almost always find their way into my work (see the photograph directly below filled with luminous earthy greens). At the moment, I’m forcing myself to play with the color red, a color that has always terrified me. I think there’s potential for me to start making friends with this color.


Photograph of a white wall with an abstract piece of art painted by artist Elyse Katz. Includes a colorway of rich colors inspired by nature such as greens, pinks, and darker, almost black green.
Installation of Elyse Katz’s “Joy Ride” that’s enlivens existing home décor and pays homage to the pattern play in the adjoining space.

Photograph above: Elyse Katz’s art installation, Joy Ride, adds a pop of color to a neutral space. When choosing home décor such as Ms. Katz’s fascinating abstract piece shown here, it’s ideal to consider the surrounding rooms. Note the tile floor pattern in the powder room, contrasting finishes, and linear hardware that dovetail nicely with the art. Each home décor selection is akin to assembling a giant puzzle. In this vignette, there is both harmony and interest at play. Even the edge band on the art correlates with the table below.

Question 6 (Gigi): While painting, do you listen to any particular type of music?                         Answer (Elyse): I listen mostly to jazz. 
Response (Gigi): I can hear and feel the rich sounds and rhythms evident in your art!  

Question 7: How do you prepare for a painting session? What is your favorite beverage to drink while painting?

Answer: Often, I spend some time watching paintings videos of artists I love. The inspiration is incredible. And I drink hot tea while working to keep myself going.

Question 8: If you were describing your work in three words, what would they be?
Answer: It is playful, harmonious, and disciplined.

Coming to her art career later in life, Katz is a self-taught artist who began painting over two decades ago in response to a personal tragedy. Since first picking up a brush, Katz has committed herself to study with renowned artists such as Nicholas Wilton, Pamela Caughey, and Krista Harris. ⁠

Our collectors love these colorful and playful compositions and, we are so thrilled to be representing this local artist!

Artwork called "Entry Point" using acrylic, mixed media and cold wax on panel. color palette includes variations of blue, creams, green and black.
Art by Elyse Katz – called “Entry Point” using acrylic, mixed media and cold wax on panel.

Question 9: When it comes to your art, what has been your most adventurous next step?
Answer: Going big! When I first started painting on panels, it was intimidating to approach panels larger than 30" inches. They are so heavy, and there's a lot of surface to cover. However, for my first solo exhibition at Kennedy Contemporary, I was challenged to go as big as 48" x 48" for some of the works. I'm happy I did - the work turned out beautifully!

Question 10: How would you describe the top three things you cannot live without?
Answer (Elyse): Apart from my husband and children, I can not live without my iPhone, my collection of paints, and multiple panels!

Final Question(Gigi): Spoken like a true artist! One last question for you, Elyse, as we talk about art placement and home décor ideas with Victoria. How do you celebrate when you finish a painting? What restaurants do you recommend? Answer: (Elyse): My husband spoils me with wonderful meals. We often eat at home! As for eating out, we love sushi – Hamamori and Ootoro Sushi are two of our favorite local restaurants.

Before ending our time together here, I have a few questions for Victoria. Our readers would love to know a little more about your home décor ideas for art selection and placement.

A photograph of Elyse Katz with Victoria Kennedy
Elyse Katz (left) and Victoria Kennedy (right) – Photo courtesy of Kennedy Contemporary. “Peekaboo” – left wall. “Smooth Sailing” – right wall.

Question (Gigi): One of the most frequently asked questions artists receive is “How do I choose the right artwork?” Can you share some tips or guidelines with our readers for selecting artwork for their homes?

Answer (Victoria): The “right” artwork will depend entirely on you and the space you live in. It can be less daunting to focus on art and home décor just one area at a time. Identify the wall, the size you need, and then think about the type of mood or colors you want. When in doubt, reach out to Kennedy Contemporary, and we will be happy to offer our professional opinion.

Photograph of living room with two pieces of art and a sofa.
This is a different perspective of the the art installation (Topsy Turvy 48″ x36″) shown in the feature image. Look at the dynamic juxtaposition of the two art pieces.

Question: What are your suggestions for selecting art for the master bedroom?

Answer: The most common places to hang art in your master bedroom are above the bed or on an adjacent wall. Depending on what type of headboard you have (and the height of the ceilings), most clients will generally prefer horizontal or square work above a bed. The size will depend on the wall and the existing home décor (and any furniture below it, like a dresser or chair).

Question: What is the best height to hang art?

Answer: The gallery standard is generally to have the middle of the painting at 57″ inches off the ground. Personally (since I’m tall!), I prefer somewhere around 60″ inches, but it also depends on the space and your own height.

Question: Do you recommend hanging art in a powder room or bathroom?

Answer: You can certainly hang art in a powder or bathroom! For powder rooms that don’t have a lot of moisture, you can hang almost any type of art as long as it’s not in the “splash zone” of a toilet or sink. For bathrooms with moisture (like a shower or steam room), stick to framed artworks behind glass or durable wall sculptures, such as ceramic or porcelain artworks. This will give you peace of mind and ensure that your artwork won’t be damaged by moisture.

Thank you, Victoria, for sharing your valuable insight on art selection and placement with our readers. It’s incredibly helpful. And, thank you for welcoming me into your studio, Elyse! It’s so inspiring to see the various stages of work in play. When I think about our time together, three words come to mind: expansion, positivity, and connection. I can’t wait to return to see what you are working on next! And as we say goodbye for now, will you share with our readers what you are currently working on?

I recently finished a 20″ x 20″ inch piece with beautiful blue and green tones called “Out of the Blue.” I love the dialogue between the circles and squares – it makes for a very meditative composition.

As difficult as this past year has been, the pandemic had a silver lining for me by allowing me to focus entirely on painting with very little distraction. I produced a tremendous amount of work during this time and connected me with the Kennedy Contemporary Gallery.

A photo of a relaxing, spa-like art with soft blues, greens and yellow.
“I recently finished a 20″ x 20” inch piece with beautiful blue and green tones called “Out of the Blue. I love the dialogue between the circles and squares – it makes for a very meditative composition.” Elyse Katz

Thank you for reading this article about art and home décor with Elyse Katz and Victoria Kennedy. I appreciate each of you, and I welcome you as a subscriber if you’re not already.

If you would like to talk with the knowledgeable team at Kennedy Contemporary, you can set up an in-home consultation by texting or calling at (714) 519-6297. Or email info@kennedycontemporary.com and let them know that you read this post.

To Wrap it All Up – Our Top Four Takeaways
How to Make a Room Feel Alive with Colorful Art – 4 Top Takeaways
Takeaway#1:When we decorate our homes, it can be less daunting to focus on art and home décor by concentrating on just one area at a time. This is particularly true when we choose our art pieces.
Takeaway #2:  A home filled with art that “speaks to us” can feel alive with new energy and inspire us.
Takeaway #3: You can certainly hang art in a powder or bathroom. Determine moisture level and make your selection accordingly.
Takeaway#4: Don’t forget to include small moments of art amidst the spaces they inhabit every day.
Four Takeaways


Here are a few posts we invite you to read next:

How a Home Décor Project Radically Improved the Life of this Successful Doctor

Work From Home in Comfort | How to Maximize Small Spaces

How to Choose Art That Will Transform Your Home | Kennedy Contemporary

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Gigi Day
Gigi Dayhttps://themoddaily.com/
Gigi Day is a designer and writer. Her blog, The Mod Daily, is full of life-enhancing home décor, lifestyle tips, and advice to optimize life at home.

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