Hi Everyone !
Today’s Featured Artist is Marlene Ellis:
I live in Toronto Canada, although I was born and raised in Sault Ste Marie, Ont in 1956, moved to Toronto three months before my 21st birthday and have been in Toronto ever since.
I started painting about 12 years ago after a very painful divorce and illness that forced me to retire a bit earlier than I had hoped. I took art in high school, but it was nothing, pretty child like really, but it was a fun class and an easy credit. I started in music from the age of 5, and thought I would have a music career, but other things got in the way. If I had the resources the youth have today to promote myself, I for sure would have been singing professionally, as I was very good at it.
I knew I was a creative person, but had no idea that I would have been able to create the work I have. It really did just come out of nowhere, but it came into my life when I really needed a diversion big time. It started with some chalk pastels and paper my x in laws gave me for Christmas one year, and as they say the rest is history.
I started purchasing a few art books and was a sponge taking in, and going for it. I paint watercolours, and chalk and oil pastel pieces. Portraits came right out of the blue, had always wanted to do them, but truly thought I could never do them. But decided to give it a shot, and I was so glad I did, as it became my most favorite to do.
I’ve learned along the way to get the best out of the mediums I’d chosen to work with, but it all came with lots of practice, and I mean lots of mistakes and redo’s. One wouldn’t think of using brushes with pastels, but they are great for lifting colour from the pastel pieces. I also started using the instruments photographers use to blow the dust of their lenses to remove the dust from the piece I’m working on, as pastels are the messiest of all the mediums. Blowing from ones mouth can cause wet spots on the paper or pastel board that can’t be covered. I use conte sticks, and Gallery soft pastels for the larger areas, and pastel pencils for doing the detail work. I realized that early on if I put down pure white pastel down where ever I wanted areas to stay white, if any colour fell in those places, I could simply blow it away.
Watercolours were a different story all together, and used to use them like they were acrylics or oils, and it took a long time to learn how to use them properly. I always loved the transparency of watercolours, but was never able to achieve the effects. I love vivid colour so I kept on adding more and more colour. Well when I finally figured out how to achieve the effects I wanted, there was no going back to my old patterns. I don’t have a studio, so have to do all my work on my drafting table set up in my living room. Its a bit of a pain, so my apt is a bit turned upside down when I’m working.
I don’t have the proper schooling for the technical aspects of drawing, and used the grid method for years. Then I got an idea from the United Artist Mag from and artist that was featured and who had won one of the contests. She too did not have any proper schooling, so was using a projector to do the drawing. I didn’t have trouble with application, it was the drawing that was the hardest, and took ages to finish each piece. Once I got the projector everything changed, I didn’t have to struggle any longer with silly grids, and I took a lot less time. I loved it especially for the portrait work, and I was able to finally do really pleasing pieces. I love working from photographs, especially the old black and white, I love contrast.
My pieces are for sale, but after years of doing pieces for clients outside my city or country, realized it was far easier do only sell within the city I lived. Pieces are priced according to size, medium, or difficulty and time it takes to finish a piece. My illness always kept me from being able to do location work, so purchased a really good camera. Then I was able to take photos of the places and things I wanted to paint. It means the world to have my own photos to work from, and make my pieces original mine. One can reach me through my email address but prefer to sell only within my city. It cost’s way to much to post the pieces, and was always going out of pocket to transport. I can work from any photo, as long as it is crisp and clear so I can see all the details necessary to get the best quality. Here is my email address if you would like to purchase my work. firstname.lastname@example.org
Thank you Marlene Ellis for this artist feature.
I have been following Marlene for a long time, and I love her art.
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