What comes Next?

The doctor said to go to bed, get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Despite the body remaining static the brain kept running at a million miles an hour thinking about the projects laughing at me from the corner of the studio. As if this wasn’t enough, I kept having flashbacks to a time when my mother was undergoing chemo.


Painting by my mother – Marge Barley

There were four paintings lined up in front of her bed, and we both studied them. I had no idea what I was looking at and so was somewhat nonplussed when she fired,

“What comes next Ellis?” I looked to her poor tired face and back to the four canvases staring back at me mockingly before shrugging out of resignation. “Look at it!” she went on the words coming out stronger than I heard her speak in a long time. More from a need to make her happy than interest I once again looked at the four paintings, each of them squares of differing colours with large borders, cold moving into warm, opposites of the colour wheel in varying degrees. It was an exercise in graduating colour and I was at a loss… until now. Now I get it and wish I had those four paintings to finish for her. Unfortunately we no longer have them. Yes, I could probably recreate them from memory but mum had a different style to mine, she was very clever with how she applied colour using the impressionist cools against lights, darks and warms. Remembering one panel in particular, the centre was a warm cream against a frame of purple. The cream was a myriad of colour from hot reds and oranges to cool blues and yellows mixed with a white, (I think she used Titanium White). The border was a wonderful array of cool reds, warm greens creating a wonderful muted purple. The next panel was a cool cream almost blue with a border of warm red cooled with a blue, the next working in to the greens warm and cool, and so on. This was her last project before she died, a project she never finished.

Since her passing, I have spent many hours thinking about this work, wondering or wishing I had the opportunity to find the answer to her question, intuitively feeling that the key to my questions about my own work lies buried somewhere in the answer.

And so, moving on, Its the Gold Coast Show August 29th – 31st 2014. Every year the Gold Coast Show hosts the popular and traditional Show events featuring fireworks displays, ring events, Australiana displays, show bags, wood chops, side show alley, visual arts and home crafts displays, stage shows, and roving entertainment. In the category of Visual Arts is the Painting and Drawing competition into which I have submitted 3 Paintings in the series Figurative on Abstract.





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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.