I know I haven’t written for a very long time, it has been rather busy with full time work, Xmas and all the other stuff in between. Despite this, there has been an accidental shift in approach to this next series of paintings. Yes, I know, the intention was to have dancing figures over Australian landscapes but for some reason the lights went out on that notion. Instead, another idea fell into place, not too far from the surreal/abstract perspective, much simpler in composition, lighter in feel and more fluid.

  • Simplicity + ethereal + Dancer = the Unknown.

In my minds eye I see a shimmering image of a dark man rising from the depths, rising into the stratosphere of a spiritual plain.. Even to me this sounds rather airy fairy, but I feel somehow this could work.

Before Xmas, my tutor Stephen was talking about keeping things simple quoting Ida Outhewaite’s work. Then I was thumbing through my mothers paintings stacked up against the wall and came across the pink and mauve watercolour of spectral figures moving across the sheet. The idea still hadn’t formulated until the last art class of the year which found me struggling to continue the path began with series one which didn’t or wouldn’t gel simply because the style was too busy, too heavy, too involved in fact too everything. More than a little mystified by this change of heart, I made a quick reconnaissance of thought processes in the past few weeks and discovered that something within had shifted after blogging about some personal stuff, freeing myself from baggage carried for no good reason other than it was there.

There is a saying called KISS, and I think this philosophy should apply to everything in life, but we tend to overthink it, overdo it, over everything it only find ourselves caught up in a maze of brambles and weeds. When studying rock paintings of the indigenous people, their work was simple, unaffected as were their lives. I think this is where I am heading, clear out the rubbish, tell the story and keep it simple.

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About Ellis Burgess

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, her 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 moved of its own volition in a frenetic frenzy attended by a torrent of tears born of bewilderment and frustration, unaware of the wild colour patterning the fury within. Ellis’s mother had passed away three years earlier from Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. From these inauspicious beginnings Ellis began to paint, and for a short time attended classes at the Hamilton Society of Arts in New Zealand. 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. 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. Ellis quickly discovered another outlet was painting. She spent a long time pondering on the skill set required to achieve her vision; 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 learnt she is not an illustrator, but a painter who gravitated towards free movement. In her quieter moments Ellis often wonders what her mother would say if she were still here, left only with her paintings languishing against the wall. 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.

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