A Bio Groaning in Oil Paints.

Was asked to do a Biography for the Queensland Art Society and like many of us, there was a massive groan.. What on earth do we say about ourselves and our work? So for the past week and half this has been my project. For those who may be interested, here goes.

In the Pink Acylic and Oil on Canvas 120cm x 60cm For Sale $800

In the Pink
Acylic and Oil on Canvas
120cm x 60cm
For Sale $800

A number of people have said that ‘it’ (whatever ‘it’ is) is in Ellis’s genes and to some extent they may be correct. Her grandmother painted and so did her mother. Marge Barley started painting when she was 9 years old and achieved some acclaim in New Zealand. In turn, Marge’s mother, Ellis’s Grandmother started much later in life more from compulsion than conscious desire.

Ten years ago a well-intentioned friend shoved a paintbrush into Ellis’s clenched fist, forcefully moving her hand between paint pot and paper until it began to move of its own volition in a frenetic frenzy attended by a torrent of tears born of bewilderment and frustration, unaware of the wild colour and pattern imaging the fury from within. Ellis’s mother had passed away three years earlier from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.

From these inauspicious beginnings Ellis began to paint, her first lessons were in New Zealand at the Hamilton Society of Arts. Seven years ago, Ellis and her husband moved to the Gold Coast where she met Stephen Buntrock of the Gold Coast Art School. With his encouragement, painting became more than just something to do. It became a passion.

Ellis Dancing Another passion is dance, Ellis loves the musical synergy of movement, the human form working with rhythm mood and emotion, sensing the freedom as the dancer soars across the floor with effortless ease. Like a lot of little girls, she was sent off to ballet in a somewhat desperate attempt by her grandfather to stop her stomping around the house. Eleven years later Ellis was selected to dance with NZ Ballet Company in a season of the Nutcracker. Did Ellis stop stomping? No.

Ballet was to be her life; that was until she met the man of her dreams. Never the less, ballet has featured in much of her adult life by way of teaching and outlets of involvement.

 

Another outlet Ellis quickly discovered was painting. She spent a long time pondering on the skill set required to achieve her end goal; how to portray the artistry of movement, the musicality and rhythm of dance, and the genius of the human form on canvas. Attempting different techniques, she discovered she was not an illustrator, but a painter who gravitated towards free movement.

Sea and Sky (SOLD) On The Goldie (SOLD) The Piano

Sea and Sky (SOLD)
On The Goldie (SOLD)
The Piano

Her next challenge was how to translate free movement into an illustrative narrative. One Sunday she was surfing the TV channels and came across a documentary on Gerhard Richter, a German visual artist and one of the pioneers of the New European Painting. Richter has produced both abstract and photorealistic paintings, but it was his abstract work that attracted Ellis’s attention. Abstract to Ellis, is movement, a rhythmic patterning of colour and form, painting’s equivalent of musical arrangement a perfect resolution to her image of dance and movement on canvas.

Atlantis Mixed Media on Canvas 120cm x 90cm $1000.00

Atlantis
Mixed Media on Canvas
120cm x 90cm
$1000.00

It has taken a year to clarify the technique, the first painting in the series Dance As You Like It was ‘Atlantis’, a wild experimentation of colour and shape as a backdrop to the movement of the human form.

 

 

 

 

As the series progressed Ellis began to understand how to manipulate the medium(s) to best represent the images perceived by her mind’s eye, but it wasn’t until she started work on the penultimate project in the current series ‘Jondalar’ that she had a Eureka moment. She had finally come to a point of understanding, a place where she can stay a while and perfect.

Jondalar - A Work in Progress Mixed Media on Canvas 100cm x 100cm $1000.00

Jondalar – A Work in Progress
Mixed Media on Canvas
100cm x 100cm
$1000.00

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ellis often wonders what her Mum would say if she were still here, left only with her mother’s paintings languishing against the wall.

By Marge Barley Oil on Canvas NOT FOR SALE

By Marge Barley
Oil on Canvas
NOT FOR SALE

 

 

 

As an apprentice in the art of painting Ellis hopes the path ahead will be clear, perhaps meander elegantly at her will. Maybe it will broaden out to a huge piazza where she may sit for a long while, then later choose the many paths that transverse the piazza or continue again down the main road.

Cityscape Gold Coast 1

A Huge Thank you

An artist’s view of life in the great wilderness of painting, following the process of experimentation in the art of creative achievements.

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Father and Child

I found this picture a few months ago on facebook and took inspiration.

Dancer and baby

Admittedly, at the time I wasn’t sure why it appealed, so with my usual flair for the reckless, I blithely went ahead and started painting. Focusing on the anatomy of the buffed musculature system analysed in tones of magenta I followed the yellow brick road wondering where this painting was going to take me. Why magenta? Because I discovered the colour while painting another subject and decided I wanted to experiment with its tones.

Strength and Vulnerability Work in Progress

Strength and Vulnerability
Work in Progress

Standing back to view my handiwork, I wasn’t happy. “What to do?” I asked anyone who would listen. My art tutor Stephen Buntrock  suggested glazing the figures in Quinaquadine Rose, so I did.

Strength and Vulnerability Work in Progress

Strength and Vulnerability
Work in Progress

Didn’t like it, the figures looked like skinned rabbits. Taking it home, my husbands response was a definitive, “Don’t like it, it gives me the creeps.” With some trepidation I left the painting in the middle of the lounge the better to study it at each available moment hoping for inspiration. An image of a golden ribbon wrapping itself around man and baby floated past my minds eye which bought about the next question. How earth do I mix the colour gold? As it turned out, it was easy. Google the answer. Taking a dollop of lemon yellow and Burnt Sienna mixed with white, voila! The colour appeared as if by magic. I sketched in the ribbon aka the umbilical cord with chalk to guide my fine brush. Excited by the progress, I became very brave grabbing my trusty rag rubbing the colour with a burnishing movement where necessary.

Part 3

I couldn’t believe the difference. For the purposes of realism, shadowing and highlights were required on the umbilical cord, and the tonal shadowing on the mans shoulders arm and face needed alteration. Mixing Vermillion with Spectrum Yellow gave a warm orange which was lightly rubbed into the required areas. And the final stroke of genius even if do say so myself? Rubbed a mixture of Permanent mauve and Pthalo Blue into the background.

Father and Child Oil on Canvas 50cm x 78cm For Sale

Father and Child
Oil on Canvas
50cm x 78cm
For Sale

I now know why this picture struck a cord. It reminds me of the bond between my husband and our son, of my male cousins and their children, of my grandfather and his daughters and grandchildren. The Protector.

 

Pink Attitude

Well, that’s number 7 in the series – DONE!

Enjoyed doing this one. I found a photo on FB of a dancer wearing a flowing skirt and rib top. With every intention of including these items of clothing I proceeded to paint only to discover clothing would detract from the flow of line. As a compromise, it was decided to leave her in a semblance of a body stocking.

In the Pink Acylic and Oil on Canvas 120cm x 60cm For Sale

In the Pink
Acylic and Oil on Canvas
120cm x 60cm
For Sale

Thought I had finished another one yesterday until I bought it home and hung it on the wall. It looks more like a skinned rabbit. Its back to the drawing board next week,, groan..

Strength and Vulnerability Work in Progress

Strength and Vulnerability
Work in Progress

The upside is, have finally started another one which has been languishing for many weeks in the racks of the Gold Coast Art School.

The wave

And one more will make #10 in the series which I am hoping to start drawing up this week.

#10

 

Strength and Vulnerability

Been working on a new project which has been a bit of a challenge.

I was flicking through dance photos and found this one loving how the strength of the dancer juxtaposed against the baby’s vulnerability.  The decision to recreate the photo on canvas was based on the premis it would require some concentration, but not so much as to cause a headache.

Dancer and baby

Got that wrong.

Drawing the figures was challenging but it wasn’t until I started painting did I realise how difficult this project was to be. Getting involved in the muscular structure I became absorbed in the wonders of the human form, forgetting the initial concept my imagination had conjured up when I first saw the photo.  “Ahhh well”, I thought, “next one perhaps.”

There is still quite a bit of work to do yet, the pinkness of the dancer will need to be glazed back and there is some damage control to do on his torso, and a couple of seemingly disproportionate muscles. Any way, here it is thus far.

Strength and Vulnerability Work in Progress

Strength and Vulnerability
Work in Progress

How to depict music and movement on canvas—beautifully!

Showtime, Objectivity and Courage

It must be a week since I last caught up on the blogging thing. My only excuse is.. if there is one, been busy painting.

My Mum used to put paintings into Art Shows and Exhibitions and I often wondered as an onlooker what all the fuss was about. Well, now I think I am beginning to get the gist. First question is, what work is good enough to put on show. Each painting is analysed, criticised, and scrutinised very aware all the while of a tight knot deep in my stomach born of insecurity. Selecting a couple of canvases for further work, I give myself a little pep talk,

“Come on, have a little objectivity.”

So this is what I have been doing. I think I have finally finished the fourth painting for an upcoming Art Show at the Elanora Uniting Church on the 6th June.

Silent Flight 90cm x 60cm Oil on Canvas For Sale

Silent Flight
90cm x 60cm
Oil on Canvas
For Sale

The other paintings will be

100 x 100cm Oil on Canvas NFS. Orders Taken.

100 x 100cm Oil on Canvas NFS. Orders Taken.

Original Oil on Canvas 92 x 60cm For Sale

Original Oil on Canvas 92 x 60cm For Sale

 

Leap of Faith 90cm x 90cm Acrylic and Oil on Canvas For Sale

Leap of Faith
90cm x 90cm
Acrylic and Oil on Canvas
For Sale

 

 

What to Title a Painting about a Bird of the Feathered Variety?

Well, that’s done.. I think..

Was wondering if I was ever going to get it right. Persistence pays off, the camera finally took a photo which told me the colours were right. One thing I have learnt through this process, Yellow ain’t a good colour. It either turns blue into green or it overpowers. There is a fine balance and it was this little conundrum which took so much time figuring out.

Number Four is now ready to roll for the Art Show at Elanora Uniting Church June 6th. Four down one to go..

Innocent Peace 002

Original

Attempt No 2

Attempt No 2

 

Attempt No 3

Attempt No 3 – Overpowering yellow

Just right.. I think

Just right.. I think

 

Utopia

Children grow, hopefully mature by absorbing lessons learnt from parents, peers and environment until they reach the age of adulthood and by that time one assumes they will have the tools to travel life’s path. At least that’s the theory.

The reality is, we never stop learning, we are forever travelling picking our way through obstacles, celebrating the achievements, contemplating the errors, finding new paths which hopefully leads us to wherever or whatever we wish.

So too with Painting/Art/Dance/Music etc. It’s a magical journey of discovery where we start with an idea on which we build hoping to reach the Utopia of our chosen art form. What is Utopia? For the purposes of this blog, I went once again to Wikipedia which says “possessing highly desirable or near perfect qualities”. Many great artists be it in the field of Dance, Music, Paint etc achieve with many years of tuition and practice a highly desirable level of expertise, but, and there is always a but, near perfect qualities is not perfection.

Having spent most of my life in the art world, the one lesson I have learnt throughout is, artists need/desire perfection. Any thing less is not good enough. It is the ideal of perfection which compels them get up each day to enjoy the highs of achievement while making the mistakes from which they learn, growing and developing as characters in the world of Art.

My own path while completing the current series of dancers has been one of challenge, frustration and delight. I have enjoyed watching each canvas develop of its own accord, all the time frustrated because the development of an idea is not happening fast enough.  Picking my way through these conundrums, has added spice to the excitement felt when I realised I had made a breakthrough in my latest painting on which I am still working. It hasn’t reached my perfection, its not even close, but it is definitely closer, encouragement enough to find new paths clearing the way to achieving my ultimate aim.

Work in Progress, Open Attitude, Abstract, Figurative

Work in Progress, Open Attitude, Abstract, Figurative

 

Music, Food and Artistry

Food and Music, are, to my way of thinking, synonymous.

Food has many roles in our lives the obvious being a staple necessity to remain on this earth, similarly, it can be used for comfort when we are at our lowest, but that is before we venture into the realms of the sublime artistry of the senses . Chefs and cooks alike acknowledge the splendiferous wonder of colour and taste upon the palette affecting mood, memory and imagination. Much is made of layering salt on acidity, sweet on sour, savoury on sweet creating a story, the main ingredient being the hero.

So too in music, a mathematical arrangement of notes and chords creates a sound rocking the senses into a state of oblivion. Classical composers arranged concertos for the piano, violin, cello or flute, every composition flavoured with the sweet and sour, telling a story creating a mood, awakening the imagination and memory for the listener. But the audience are not the only ones being carried away on the tide of sounds, so too are the performers who become one with their instrument, falling into the hypnotic swell of crescendo and fortissimo.

‘A Piano’ came about because of a pianist whose fingers when they flew across the keyboard created a sound of beauty which took me to a place long forgotten.

100cm x 100cm Oil on Canvas For Sale

100cm x 100cm Oil on Canvas For Sale

 

Framed Print available from Fine Art America $66.74

Framed Print available from Fine Art America $66.74

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