Elling Reitan is a pupil of Odd Nerdrum and Bjørn Sverrbo and his mentor is Jens Johannessen. He dedicates to Jens Johannessen his use of the butterfly motif which in many of his works spreads its wings out from a woman’s body or from a “picture in the picture”. However, the artist has found and developed his own, specific style, often influenced by Edvard Munch and religious Middle Age motifs in strong colors.
Today, Elling Reitan is one of Norway’s most reknown and popular, contemporary multi-artists (paintings, watercolors, coal drawings, lithographs, color etchings (carborundum), serigraphs with mixed media and glassware art) and hardly anything in his artworks now shows sign of his artistic education and influence. He has found his personal style which is unique for him, strong colors, motifs and composition and the final art works acknowledge Elling Reitan’s special hallmark. He is often called “The artist with the beautiful colors”.