When she’s not painting, Tea Ercoles can usually be found tending to her beloved garden. Calling a beachside town along Victoria’s picturesque Mornington Peninsula home, her dogs Gus and Whiskey keep her company as she cares for and paints the natural wonders found on her doorstep. “I can nurture my garden and watch it grow,” says the artist. “In turn it gives me back colours, shape, texture and inspiration. It’s candy for my creativity.”
With a string of solo and group exhibitions to her name, Tea’s work can be found in a number of national and international collections, including Sydney’s Parliament House. A work that continues to hold a special place in her heart is the mural she produced for a local primary school. Children are encouraged to leave their worries outside school by touching The Worry Tree next to the main entrance on their way in. “I have watched students from that school and other schools walk up to the mural, touch it, and walk away smiling,” she says.
Over the years, Tea has explored a range of subject matter, employing different materials and mediums to do so. From lighter ink to bold, thickly applied paint, Tea’s intention remains the same: “I want the surface to look delicious to the eyes.” Her garden remains the strongest theme in her work, sometimes depicted with nudes to introduce a human element.
The purpose-built studio nestled in her garden proving insufficient for some larger projects, the artist’s painting practice has now infiltrated the interior of her home. Since becoming a widow she prefers the comfort of indoors, and often works by night. “For me, it makes no difference the time of the day or of the night,” she said. “When I have ideas, I just paint them.”