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

 

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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.