American Artist Louise Ellis explores the boundaries of painting in various pigment mediums. Leaning heavily towards Impressionism, Louise pushes beyond the boundaries of established painting practices towards Awiya.
Awiya, meaning “light moving through” or creativity is a unique creative process which encompasses contemplation, intuition and design principles rarely used together.
Movement of light. Passion for life. Reverence for the creative process of expression.
Louise studied fine art at Minneapolis College of Art & Design and Bellevue University and continues to be a self-taught artist.
Louise was featured as an emerging American artist in the BU Bellwether Magazine June 2016. Filtering life through Multiple Sclerosis, Louise explores her ever changing visual perceptions as she creates through light and form. When Louise is not being a very busy and sought after Painter, she can be found drawing, painting, or gently creating in her private life.
Louise asks you to join her on a unique journey through creativity and the process of bringing your vision to canvas.
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I started my latest painting a couple of weeks ago. Beginning with constructing the stretcher frame and then moving along with measuring, cutting and then cotton canvas. After stretching the canvas I spent 2 days coating this 5’ x 4’ with 4 layers of gesso.
This is a portrait of Jack. He’s been my companion since he was only 4 weeks old. He turns 10 yrs old this month. Jack is blind from cataracts but follows me everywhere and runs around in the back yard as if he could see.
The reference photo was snapped while Jack and I were swinging on the hammock. His smile filled my heart with such love and joy. He’s such a loving and loyal companion.
Some days, speaking through imagery is easier because words appear to fail to convey the depth and richness of thought and feeling.
Most of the afternoon was spent with my daughter and fellow artist Lily. The stretcher frame was assembled and the cotton, unprimed, canvas stretch. now to build the layers of Gesso. I like building a piece from the stretchers to the firmness of a dried primed canvas. In the building of foundations that support not only traditional working of paint but also spontaneous expressions of spirit. This 60”. X 42” canvas is almost ready to support creativity.
How do you prepare your foundations for creativity in life?
It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been in the studio. It feels good to be in sacred space and stretch my spirit and allow creativity to flow.
I like to read, like everyday. If it’s not news articles then it’s books about art, society, and culture. I’ll let you in on a secret, I was functionally illiterate until I was discovered by a 7th grade remedial reading teacher. My life long secret (13 yrs at that time) was up. I was found out. That woman, Ms Mobly stood before me and saw me. It was at that moment that she crafted her medicine, created safe space and held me. After school she tutored me for an entire school year and taught me not only to read but to comprehend what I was reading. She ignited my mind. It was on fire!
How the f&ck can that happen? How could you go so long, be passed from grade to grade and no one knew?
They knew I was a D & F student. They were more concerned that I attend speech therapy because my southern, Creole, Native American speech, vernacular and sound was not like the other children. They passed me along anyway.
I’m was a biracial child in a suburban schools system. You see, my father was a Creole Arcadian Frenchmen and my mother was Scottish & Norwegian. My ancestors roots run deep in Louisiana & Texas. The Creole term,originally, meant Arcadian French and Spanish mixed people. Now it’s evoked to mean French and mixed. Well, through the generations of my family tree let’s add genetic inheritance of Italian, Portuguese, African and Native American. Modern technology, ancestors DNA and a couple of decades of genealogy research has revealed a great deal.
However, in the 60’s when my parents married in Texas and left the south due to racial discrimination and tensions to Omaha, they faced discrimination their entire lives together and so too did us kids.
I do believe it was a combination of discrimination, school policy and practices that delayed my academics. I had an academic advisor once tell me I was only bred for manual labor and not to bother with college.
Now fast forward not only can I read and not only did I pass 7th grade with A’s and B’s but I went on in life and earned my Bachelors degree & Masters. What I find most intriguing, it was in Adult Education and Instructional Design. It’s the fascination in how we learn and how we develop strategies for learning that inspires me.
So back to today, back in the studio painting.
I am working on a portrait of my daughter Lily. As I’m painting, mixing colors, I am contemplating the messages of inclusion, equality, justice, education, hold space for each other, love humans that I gave her throughout her life… all the experiences of subtle and explicit hate, discrimination and being marginalized that I experienced and the hope she nor anyone else has to experience through sharing my stories, sharing the stories of her grandparents and ancestors.
Share your stories. Hold space for each other. Hold one another in love and acceptance. See each other.
Lily helped me paint her face. However, it’s not her we see. Is this an ancestor coming forward through paint? Who is she? Has she been hidden out of sight and unseen? Time will tell what spirit came forward.
Oh how I wish life was as exciting as the 1st time Lily experienced London and riding the Underground.
These days many of us are doing our part to flatten the curve and remain healthy. I started this painting last Sunday and hope to have it finished this weekend. I’m only able to be in the studio once a week since I’m working from home for my day job.
I ordered a few new colors and hope they arrive soon. I think this painting would benefit from some diversity in colors.
Any way, this is part of a series I’ve named “A girl…”. It’s part of a mother and daughter collaboration with my artist daughter Lily. She’s busy with college still but has completed a couple of paintings so far.
Being in my studio and allowing myself to experience Awiya, creativity to flow through my being is my souls center. It is where I am most connected with myself. It is where my connection to the world around me is clearest. It’s not an escape from reality, on the contrary, it is a space where I am open, clear, vulnerable and honest with myself. It’s where I allow thoughts to flow by and simply acknowledge their presence without holding any of them. In many ways it is similar to an active meditation.
It is my hope, that in these difficult times, that many of you experience Awiya for the 1st time and create into this world some beauty.
Stay safe my friends and be well. until next time, stay in the Awiya side of life.
So I spent about a half an hour writing a blog post about this latest painting. Unfortunately when I pressed publish it disappeared. I have no idea where it went and I was like darn it that was a great blog post if I do say so myself.
Here I go again. A couple of years ago when my daughter Lily graduated from high school and at her graduation party we created a photo booth that included a handheld Polaroid style type frame made out of white eraser board. Guests could group together and write on the bottom with dry eraser markers on the bottom of the Polaroid goofy, cheesy, wise sayings or hashtags or the what not and then hold the frame up and then take a picture.
Well one of the pictures that was taken is represented in this painting. When it was taken I thought it was cute but it wasn’t until I saw the picture a few days later that it really spoke to me on so many levels.
First, this picture immediately reminded me of American Gothic painting by Grant Wood. It is said that Grant Wood in the 1930s went back to Iowa where he was from and saw an old farmhouse. He was inspired and wanted to do a satirical painting about the architecture of an old Iowa farm house. He titled the painting of the old farm house & its farmer & wife “American Gothic” as in reference to the lack of Gothic style architecture and it being the Midwest’s version. It’s further written that he utilized his sister and his dentist as models for this painting.
So now this is my version of a satirical painting of what I envision of a young Generation Z couple would look like on the World Wide Web posting on different social media sites, sharing their selfie’s.
Last week I spent a few hours in the studio working on this piece. I think I might do a version of this one in oil. It’s been awhile since I’ve worked in oil. Perhaps leaning more towards an impressionist style. This one will be in a pop art style when I’m done. I guess the vibe I get from Generation Z is not only one of being seen and being heard but also being felt. Through the layers of color and shape, it is my hope to express the heart of a generation through an image.
This is a portrait of my daughter Lily (Oriana Designs) & a classmate at her graduation a couple of years ago. It reminded me of America Gothic by Grant Wood. However, in this modern rendition, the couple is holding a Polaroid style photo frame, in classic Generation Z (or Zed) style selfie posing. The bottom of the frame will have the Hash tag #American Zed.
My style of painting with acrylics is likened to water colors. However, the paint fluctuates in thickness. Through thin layers of color applied on top of each other, I get a hybrid color. Instead of a solid mixed tone or color and blob it on. It’s a bit more time consuming, but the effect is visually dynamic. This is stage 3 layers of thin colors… cadmium red, medium yellow hue, Payne’s grey, and white.
Hope to have time to paint in the studio this Sunday… my sanctuary time… I am very excited about this painting.
I was recently listening to a guest speaker at a gathering. One of the main ideas that was conveyed included framing the constant process of change. That idea really hit me deep. I am always in awe of the synchronicity of hearing what I need to hear to support me win my growth. Since I broke my wrist in late May, it has been a struggle to heal and regain full use of my hand. However, I do in some ways and I do not in other ways have use of my hand. While contemplating the idea of transformation as a continuous process of change, I began to slowly accept and embrace that my painting style and the physical process of creation will never be the same. Yet, the internal process of Awiya, the settling of the spirit within to allow creativity to flow.
I’m currently working on another seascape from the North Sea at Whitby Harbor.
I was a 42 yr old Single mom of 3, supported my children through High School & off into college. Long 65-70 hours a work week, did homework whenever I could, and managed living with Multiple Sclerosis. Not only did I finish & graduate with my Bachelors in Adult Education but finished my Masters in Instructional Design & Technology. This last May, with 2 broken wrists and dictation – voice to text – and a stylus in my mouth on an iPad, my thesis paper/project were completed . Now at 48 years old, I received my Master’s degree diploma yesterday.
Both Universities not only recognized me as a artist but celebrated my art in annual publications.
Thank you, my creatives, for supporting me through 6 years of growth, and tumbles. The responses, comments, personal emails and shares mean so much to me.