Ten Paintings

Its taken a year,, perhaps a little more, but finally the first series is done!.. When I think back to the first painting, Atlantis, I went crazy with paint and scraper fully confident that whatever the result, it was going to be good. Then I had the bright idea to put in a fish and over it paint a leaping dancer the explanation being movement in symbiosis. From this random thought I found I liked the idea of disciplined form contrasting with abstract and enjoyed watching how colours transcended form allowing the background to become part of the central figure.

Atlantis Mixed Media on Canvas 120cm x 100cm For more details and availability left click on picture

Atlantis
Mixed Media on Canvas
120cm x 100cm
For more details and availability left click on picture

The second painting in the series was Movement in Sea Minor which followed this format.

Mixed Media on Canvas 120cm x 100cm $1000.00 + P&H For more details left click on picture

Mixed Media on Canvas
120cm x 100cm
$1000.00 + P&H
For more details left click on picture

Then came Melting Moment and I was beginning to find my groove. I had come to realise I didn’t need the fish to tell the story, although to be honest, at the time I wasn’t sure what it was I was trying to say. It didn’t matter though, I  had discovered the wonder of dripping paint and the wonderful effects of its meanderings. I was so excited, I decided to do it again with the next painting.

'Melting Moment'  Mixed Media 120cm x 100cm  For more details and availability left click on picture

‘Melting Moment’
Mixed Media
120cm x 100cm
For more details and availability left click on picture

Leap of Faith was an experimentation in gaining control of the abstract. The intention was to work around the figure, extending the line of movement through abstract lines. Must admit, I struggled on many levels, the abstract hadn’t worked as I had planned and the figure was challenging to say the least. The sense of achievement once it finally came together was almost euphoric. There was a sense of self congratulatory empowerment, my skills at accurately drawing a figure had improved exponentially and I had learnt how the background can work for or against the topic.

Leap of Faith Mixed Media on Canvas 100cm x 100cm For more details and availability left click on picture

Leap of Faith
Mixed Media on Canvas
100cm x 100cm
For more details and availability left click on picture

My next lesson came in an unusual manner. The inspiration for ‘Hang On’ was found on facebook. It was a photo of a dancer ready to leap off the floor, his body arranged in very interesting almost impossible angles but it was the angle of his head which captured my attention and I had to paint it.. As usual, I set to with abstract scrapers and swirls carefully working around the sketched figure and found to my delight he had a shadow giving the work another dimension. I was coming to understand the benefits of working in the abstract, how happy accidents can add to the story.

'Hang On'  Mixed Media 120cm x 40cm For further details and availability click on image

‘Hang On’
Mixed Media
120cm x 40cm
For further details and availability click on image

Inspiration can come from anywhere. I had found a photo of dancers in pas de deux on the web and with this image fresh in my mind, I went on to do some research on a topic totally unrelated.. Real Estate. I was looking at a beachfront property and in the photo was a wave, fully rounded with a surfer in its curve.. (don’t know the surfing term). This was to be the next painting,, The Wave.

I had two canvases both of similar size, taking one I got handy with the paints and scraper and scratched out a wave. The effect was stunning, giving a three dimensional effect, the colour and movement adding to the story of the figures.

'The Wave'  Mixed Media on Canvas 100cm x 100cm For more details and availability left click on picture

‘The Wave’
Mixed Media on Canvas
100cm x 100cm
For more details and availability left click on picture

Taking the second canvas, I repeated the exercise just to make sure I had it right.. and yep, was encouraged. This became Jondalar

Jondalar

‘Jondalar’
Mixed Media
100cm x 80cm
For more details and availability left click on picture.

I was beginning to feel confident about the direction my work was taking.

 

I had been getting comments about the nudity of my studies, and I was wondering if my focus on the human anatomy detracted from the story I was trying to tell. With this in mind, I found a photo of a dancer in diaphanous skirt and boob tube and got to work. The abstract was relatively easy, and for that matter so was the figure, but when it came time to put clothes on her, it became clear that flowing fabric would detract from the lines of leg, and body. I had come to understand my focus was not gratuitous, rather, it is an appreciation of the human form and the beauty of natural line. This work was titled ‘In the Pink’

In the Pink Mixed Media on Canvas 120cm x 60cm For more details and availability left click on picture

In the Pink
Mixed Media on Canvas
120cm x 60cm
For more details and availability left click on picture

Man and Child Mixed Media on Canvas 60cm x 50cm For further details and availability left click on image

Man and Child
Mixed Media on Canvas
60cm x 50cm
For further details and availability left click on image

 

Man and Child has had many lives. Started somewhere between Hang On and The Wave this work was a lesson in the learning. Once again, I had found a photo which screamed paint me!. With little thought to the story I took to the paints and scraped in the premis in abstract. With the idea of moving away from analogous colour I wanted to paint the figure in a warm maroon. It became apparent this wasn’t going to work. He looked like a skinned rabbit..not a good look… With the success of Jondalar I decided to use the same flesh tones. I hoped the painting was done.. But it wasn’t to be, for some reason, the story still wasn’t being told. I had the characters, but no plot.  Days later I was thinking about nothing in particular when I happened to glance at the painting languishing on the easel in the corner of the studio. I saw what I should have seen weeks before. The painting is about fecundity, the precious cradling of new life. I had found my story and the answers came easily.

Dancing Through The Blue Mixed Media on Canvas 90cm x 50cm For more details and availability left click on picture

Dancing Through The Blue
Mixed Media on Canvas
90cm x 50cm
For more details and availability left click on picture

The last painting in this series was a minor triumph, Dancing Through the Blue.  Abstract is in tune to the dancers movement, the soft silver of his body harmonises with the tonal qualities of the abstract. A wonderful ending to a long, happy experience, this, the first series of paintings about the relationship between abstract of movement and the wonderful control of the human form.

Prints and Greeting Cards are available at Fine Art America.

 

 

 



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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.