All my life I had great difficulty trying to understand the underlying nature of my existence. For a long time I looked outside myself for connection, direction and validation. I searched and struggled with this until I could go on no more and felt my spirit was broken. This turned out to be a good thing in the end.
I began painting seriously at a small liberal arts college in Kentucky. That is when I began to heal and learn a visual language that permitted me to have true communication with myself as well as others.
Because of my painting, I have been able to accept the disturbing contradictions and opposites of life itself. I have been able to accept instead of question. It has become my sanctuary.
My work is about receiving the whole package of life; the good as well as the bad as the best of gifts. In embracing all of it, I find a certain beautiful spiritual rest for my soul. The pleasure of listening to great music while I paint has let me experience an opening up. In the music I hear the pain and joy of humanity and what it means to be truly alive. The imagery of musical instruments is significant because of the unspeakably rich passion I hear from them.
Elements of nature are also a common thread; flowers, trees, streams, etc. To me the tiniest things in nature are comforting in this big, ever-changing world. The figures are portrayed in the stick-like forms because I feel we are fragile, almost ephemeral. I seek harmony and depth in the color and formal space of the canvas – a feeling of both darkness and lightness.
Motherhood has enriched my life in such a way I would have not known possible. Painting is the only way to express the gratitude and richness my daughter’s presence has brought to my life.
Horses have always been a large part of my life. As one who stutters I have found the nonverbal communication with them incredibly freeing. They have mystical ancient-feeling souls and far away eyes. They have taught me so much about the unspoken ways of being and I owe them a great deal.
My work is now in extensive private collections across the United States and in Europe. I feel incredibly blessed to be able to paint and I hope I will always reach inside my spirit and become more honest.
A portion of my merchandise goes to the equine rescue organization I really believe in Thoroughbred Aftercare Alliance. TAA inspects and awards grants to approved aftercare organizations that retire, retrain and rehome Thoroughbreds.
Ellen with her horse Gstaad at Neptune Bloodstock in Paris, KY.
Ellen’s open studio space in Paris, KY. Available by appointment.