Be mesmerized by this artist’s process as she creates portraits that might make your heart ache

Watch Elena Cabitza's time-lapse videos as she creates three delicate little portraits

'Tears of Kwame' by Elena Cabitza (Elena Cabitza)

Whether we’re watching the thoughtful placement of layers upon layers of paint, or the careful carving of stone that results in a statue — there is something so satisfying about seeing an artist’s work come to life. And there’s nothing better than a time-lapse video to let you witness in one minute the magic that takes hours, or even days or months, to happen in real time.

“In Process” is our new CBC Arts series that let’s us glimpse an artist’s creation of work from start to finish in time-lapse. The first artist to open their studio to us is St. John’s-based Elena Cabitza. Her delicate and melancholy portraits of young people are inspired by a mixture of elements from her teenage years (punk rock, fantasy movies, and Tim Burton) as well as the American countryside, folk art and pop culture. In the three below timelapse videos that Cabitza filmed of her process, we get to see her portraits come to life.

Artist Elena Cabitza (photo by Diego Pani)

But before we get to the videos, we asked Cabitza some questions about her process:

Let’s start at the beginning of your process. Where do you get your inspiration for a portrait?

The imagery I work with is a mixture of some of my favourite things from my teenage years: I’m severely influenced by punk rock, fantasy movies, of course Tim Burton, witches and occult practices. However through the years I started to become fascinated by other sceneries and stories, such as the American countryside, delta blues, folk art, but also some elements of pop culture. I try to reiterate my characters to make the world that I love so much everyday more defined: each portrait can start in a different way, it can be a hint from a song, something that comes out doodling, or an image I had in mind for days. Usually every character represents a metaphor for a behaviour or a feeling.

How long does it take you to complete a painting, on average?

Since I love to work on very small surfaces (from 3 to 12 inches wide on average) it takes me about 3 hours for the smallest ones, and 5 for the bigger. I try to finish each piece in only one day or two, that’s why I don’t like doing full oil paintings!