Emily C. Roush
The Ashland Beacon
Local artist Elias Reynolds has a lifelong passion for painting and has turned his creativity into a business.
Hailing from Richmond, Kentucky, Reynolds has been living and working in the Ashland area for three years after relocating with his wife, Bri, to her hometown. Reynolds has become known for his acrylic and watercolor paintings. He begins this process by sketching the subject matter on either canvas or wood panel. He builds on the sketch with layers of paint, adding shadows and outlines, then providing highlights and fine detail before finishing each piece with a protective topcoat.
Reynolds’ love of art started at an early age and was influenced by his mother. “I have been drawing since my childhood. My mom was a painter, and it rubbed off on me,” he recalled while noting that they often painted together. Growing up, he continued to paint as a student at Madison Central High School and later at the collegiate level by studying painting at Eastern Kentucky University. He began his career as a professional artist upon graduating from EKU in 2011.
Reynolds draws artistic inspiration from a variety of places, but perhaps his earliest muse was music. A musician himself, Reynolds created portraits of musicians he respected, something he still does today. He stated, “I was and am still a musician. I started by painting musicians that I admired and grew from there.” Music is part of his creative process, even when it is not his subject matter. “I always listen to music while I paint,” he emphasized. He also finds inspiration in the natural world. “I like being outdoors and enjoy painting animals,” Reynolds stated.
Although Reynolds paints many portraits of musicians and nature scenes, a scan of his website shows his interests are far-reaching. “I don’t want to stick to musicians or landscapes. I like to branch out and paint stuff that is relevant to my life.” The galleries of his website, www.eliasreynoldsart.com, display paintings of television characters, everyday people, flowers, wedding portraits and much more.
In addition to painting predetermined subjects, Reynolds also enjoys creating improvised art. “Sometimes, I don’t have an idea in mind. I just look at the canvas or wood to get an idea and see what happens.” These improvised sessions have allowed Reynolds to pass his love of painting onto his 2-year-old daughter, Belle. They often work on their art side-by-side. This gives Reynolds the opportunity to share his passion and artistic process with Belle the way his mother did with him. “I love painting with her,” he said.
Reynolds’ work is on display and for sale at locations throughout the Ashland area including the Highlands Museum & Discovery Center, Getfiddle Custom Shop and Pour House Coffee. He encourages people to explore his website, www.eliasreynoldsart.com, where he sells direct. Here potential customers can find original paintings and a variety of prints based on paintings, providing myriad price points from which to purchase. Through his website, people can also sign up for a mailing list that will give them a first look at original paintings, deals on prints and information about upcoming events. They can contact Reynolds directly with inquiries or request a commissioned painting. Reynolds’ creativity is a standout example of the thriving arts community the region has to offer.