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Rose Ellis, painter

Rose Ellis     A R T I S T  S T A T E M E N T

I can’t go along for any stretch of time without painting, it’s so much a part of the fabric of my life. I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a child of eight.

I love chasing after the challenges I encounter when painting. For example, I find it’s truly a challenge to capture in my work the same kinds of picture planes that I find in ancient frescoes: their mysteriousness, the tension between the two-dimensional “decorativeness” of a fresco versus the depth of field and perspective of a landscape subject. I keep trying to combine the two as I work and it’s a real thrill to be challenged in this way.

I’m never “finished” with a painting when I finish it—not until it finds a home with a client. I first realized this years ago when I completed a large and luxurious pink-hued iris that I loved, and gave it an elegant rose-colored frame. It seemed so beautiful, but in some strange sense incomplete. Then my friend Inez bought it and installed it in her living room, and I was truly thrilled. It was as though it had been made to order. I didn’t regret parting with it at all.  Now all my paintings are like that.  They may hang on the walls of my studio or in a gallery but I feel they’re only “in transit” to someone else’s life where they truly belong.

I enjoy the process of painting more than anything else. Mixing the gesso, stretching the canvas, applying the oils to the linen and so forth. I’m especially aware of my brushstrokes—I like them confident and direct. The way I can place color on the canvas and create an entirely new world is utterly fascinating to me. Part of the process I enjoy is also the quiet, meditative, and peaceful mood in which I like to work. I enjoy having music playing as I paint, and my cats are nearby. I truly feel like I’m expressing my spirit—my art becomes joyful, rich and sensuous.