Elaine Speirs was born in Johannesburg and moved to the West Coast of Scotland as a young child. She studied at Edinburgh College of Art and the Slade School of Fine Art in London. She also trained to be a teacher and she has taught in schools and also privately. She returned to South Africa in 2006 and then came back home in 2009 with her three daughters. Over the last four years Elaine has re-established herself as a painter.
Her children and their friends are her inspiration. She is absorbed in their lives and she constantly observes them. The uncertainties of her own childhood have given her the freedom to dig deeper into the complications and mystery of being a child. She conveys the fragility of childhood, the transition between girlhood and womanhood, and the utter peace of the sleeping child.
She regularly exhibits at the RSA, with VAS and the SSA. Recently she exhibited at the Mall Galleries in London. Awards have included the Fulton Textile Award (1995) the MacGregor Painting Award (1993) and recently the Glasgow Club Award (2012). She was shortlisted for the National Open Art Competition.
Using bold gestures and fluid lines Elaine Speirs looks beyond the exterior appearance of the children she paints. She conveys the interior realms.