ACRYLIC ARTIST MAGAZINE,INTERVIEWS & ARTICLES
ACRYLIC ARTIST MAGAZINE INTERVIEW!
I have very exciting news!
The Acrylic Artist Magazine has an 8 PAGE article
coming out on me and my work in this Summer's Issue!
Here is the link to order a copy:
ARTSY SHARK FEATURED ARTIST - http://www.artsyshark.com/2014/09/10/featured-artist-kim-ellery/
Enjoy painter Kim Ellery’s joyful collection of artwork, and visit herwebsite to see more of her portfolio.
I was born in Rhode Island in 1963. I was twelve years old when I knew what I wanted from life. I wanted to be an artist and a Mom. During my younger years, I was a sculptor. I loved creating three dimensional work. However, things changed for me in 2004. It was then that I began painting.
It would take many years of playing with all the different types of paints and mediums before I would find my happy place. Oil paints, water colors, colored pencils, spray paint… if it was an art supply, I tried it! Today, I use mostly acrylic paints and an occasional oil based pastel and/or collage elements.
My method of painting is a mixture of the many workshops and knowledge I have collected throughout the years, along with the pure freedom of painting intuitively.
I have named my method of painting “Cloud Painting.” I basically start each painting with an under painting that looks like abstract graffiti that is bursting with colors. Then I look at the paint smears, splotches and splatters and see what image pops out at me… Just like when you lie on your back and dreamily look up at the clouds and find images of happiness. I look at the paint the same way. Hence, “Cloud Painting.”
Creating for me is not a choice, it is a necessity, like the air we breathe and the food we eat. I NEED to create. I am one of the many people who suffer with depression and anxiety. I believe that God gave me the gift of painting as a way to find inner peace.
A friend once told me that each painting should have meaning, a story that it tells. Otherwise the painting is empty and meaningless. I believe this to be true.
I find there is too much sadness and violence in this world. My purpose for painting is to make a difference and create a place of Joy and Love. My hopes and dreams are to leave this world a better place. To spread the Love, and for people to find their own stories in my paintings.
Tell us about you and your art journey.
It’s a long story, but I’ll try to condense it for you.
I pretty much knew I was an artist by the time I was twelve. My art teacher asked me to create a drawing as a prize to give away for Parents Night… I don’t think I realized I had any talent until she asked me to do this. Teachers are powerful influences in our lives, aren’t they! Anyway, I took every class I could that included working with your hands from Jr High through High School. To my dismay, I did NOT get elected Most Artistic in my senior year, but I was nominated! So… I went on to college to major in Fine Arts.
Due to my ADD and a strong desire to spring the coop, I only made it through one year of college. I started working full time and after two years of not creating anything I decided to visit my old High School Art teacher and buy some clay and work from home. A couple of years later, I was visiting a gallery and saw some really beautiful stone carvings… So I took a few classes at RISD on stone carving and fell in love!
I continued carving stone until I got pregnant and had to give it up for a while. I had two children and spent years creating with them! We colored vanilla pudding and painted with it ( and then ate our paintings! Yummmm!), we made clay from bread and glue, … I wanted to teach my children to think outside of the box. They are now 20 and 22… They DO continue to think outside of the box!
My babies! Ben, Meg, and Alicia!
I didn’t have any interest in painting until I opened a painting studio in 1998. I loved children, and so I opened a plaster painting studio. ( It’s like ceramics, only strictly ornamental, and no need for firing. Paint it, spray it, add glitter… Voila!). We did LOADS of birthday parties! I owned “Plaster Palace” for five years before selling it. During that time I painted murals, furniture, lots of plaster… pretty much anything that wouldn’t move! LOL! I sold the business to become a stay at home mom.
Me standing in front of a very small portion of a mural I painted for a daycare.
I only started painting on canvas in 2004. I began with acrylics, switched over to oils, back to acrylics, and finally realized my true love of mixed media! Back to my love of thinking outside of the box!
In 2006, I was blessed to meet and become friends with Dr. Ala Bashir (www.alabashir.com) and my friend Lesley Roy (www.lesleyroy.com). For the next two years I would help with all of Ala’s exhibits. During that time, Ala would look at photos of my work and encourage me with his kind words and suggestions. Lesley and I would paint together in between exhibits and visits from Ala. Meeting Ala and Lesley was life changing for me because it was during this time that I started taking my painting more seriously. Lesley encouraged me to show my paintings and set up my first solo exhibit… And so it began, my life as a professional painter.
So, that’s my story! Just think… THAT was the condensed version!
Has your art changed over time?
Absolutely! When I first started painting, I used to project images of birds from photographs onto the canvas. Of course, I changed the colors! I wasn’t confident in my ability to draw on my own. The paintings still had an expressionistic feel to them though, and right from the start I was telling a story with my paintings.
Pretty soon my Grandmother (also one of my best friends) started nagging at me saying; “Are you going to paint anything else besides birds?!”
…SOO, I started painting all kinds of animals.
“Really…We’re Not Laughing at You!”
Soon, I found myself being drawn to painting dog portraits. I made quite a few commissions and did this for about two years. I still had a couple of people who wanted to commission me to do their dogs when I realized I was bored with it.
I want to pause here a minute and explain why I paint. As I already explained, I need to create like I need to eat and breathe. I also suffer from depression and anxiety. I have actually on two occasions had nervous breakdowns and have been admitted day programs. My creating is a means to sanity for me. If I create, I find my way to peace. So when I started to feel bored doing the dog portraits, there was no peace. It was a time for change again… I NEEDED to change!
I started to desire the companionship and inspiration of other artists, so I joined the Wickford Art Association (www.wickfordart.org) . I met a group of lovely older women who painted en plein air. I painted en plein air for a year. I soon realized I wasn’t getting any better at painting, and I was definitely NOT at peace when I painted! I knew another change had to be made!
That’s when I started painting intuitively. I started searching for workshops to show me the way. So, I got on a plane and I went to the “Art of the Carolina’s” (www.jerrysartevents.com/artofca20.html) in North Carolina. I took two Bob Burridge workshops (www.robertburridge.com), and one Caroline Jasper workshop (www.carolinejasper.com). At this point in my life I was mostly painting in oils, but Bob changed that! Bob changed EVERYTHING! Bob inspired me to just be me! Paint loosely, have FUN… or what was the point of painting at all?! That’s when my journey to finding my own style and really finding ME began!
I have since then had several painting mentors. Linda Kemp (www.lindakemp.com) taught me all about negative painting.
Wyanne Thompson (www.wyanne.com) taught me about mixed media and reminded me to be ME! To be free to paint FOR ME!
“Finding a Home”
Just recently, I took a workshop with Flora Bowley (www.florasbowley.com) who taught me to paint more intuitively.
I guess my point is that if I am blessed, my work will continue to evolve and I will continue to be blessed with great mentors who challenge and inspire me!
How do you get inspired?
My inspiration comes from my love of God and nature. Many people ask me why I only paint birds and trees… it is because birds and trees speak to my soul! For me, birds are so free and beautiful. Watching a bird soar through the wind and feed their young is just breathe taking for me. As I was painting birds onto the canvas, I would watch their personality and stories unfold. I realized that birds to me represented people. I was telling a story with my birds with a human perspective! I didn't set out to do this, and it took me a while to realize I was actually doing it!
Trees are a different story! Trees have been a part of my life since I was a child. I grew up with acres of woods behind my house. Whenever there was arguing or tension in my house, I would escape into my special place in the woods… it was “my personal living room!”. There was a tree that had fallen down in the middle of a clearing, this would be my “couch”. I would lay on it looking up at the leaves on the trees and just talk to God. Many years later when I was about 40 years old, I went on a youth leaders retreat. I was overwhelmed with the worship music… I couldn’t breathe! I had to be by myself; so I walked across the field, into the woods, where I found a tree that had fallen down. I took a seat and looked up. It was then that I realized that trees were the face of God for me! Wherever I was, however old I was…there HE was!
Well… you can imagine the nerve it took for me to paint my first tree! I mean seriously, HOW do you paint the Face of GOD?! … Once the first tree was painted, and the ice was broken, there was no stopping me! The way I figure it, I will keep painting trees and birds until I am moved to paint something different!
How do you decide what to create? Where do your ideas come from?
I usually start my paintings having NO idea what I will paint! There is on rare occasions I get an image in my head and sketch it out prior to painting… but for the most part, I paint intuitively. The paint flows onto my substrate, and I begin to see a story emerge! It’s really fun and exciting sometimes!
“Walking With Peace and Unity”
Have you ever felt like quitting? How did you work through that?
I have felt like quitting on a couple of occasions. The first time I “quit” creating was after my first year of college. (my ONLY year of college!) I was a Fine Arts major, and I remember one of my professors explaining to the class that only one out of three of us will graduate with a Fine Arts degree, and then only a small percentage of those graduates would actually find jobs in the art world… discouraging to say the least! The final straw was when he laughed at me when I complained about the grade he gave me on my final critique! I didn’t walk away, I RAN away from persuing a Fine Arts degree!
After that, I felt like quitting after no sales at a festival, but that was short lived and I knew deep down I was lying to myself… I could NEVER quit creating! That’s the real point here. An artist cannot run away from who he or she is, what they were created to be!
“Me at 4XImagination Exhibit”
What advice do you have for new artists?
Take as many workshops as you can! Take time to learn from that workshop and then figure out how to make it your own!
Don’t be afraid of just being YOU! Paint what YOU feel is right for you!
Listen to what others are telling you, it is a good guide, BUT follow your heart! It knows what’s best for you!
At what point did you become comfortable calling yourself an artist?
I’m an artist?! Only kidding! …It took YEARS! It was probably after selling my work at several art festivals that I felt “qualified” to say I was an artist.
Me at the Narragansett Art Festival
How have the “rough spots” in life affected your art?
There are only a few paintings I painted while going through my rough spots. For the most part I don’t feel like painting when I am down. Here are two paintings I painted from the anguish of life. They don’t speak of joy, love and peace like all of my other work, so they are part of my private collection. I don’t want others to be burdened with my pain, so I don’t sell them.
“Pain and Oppression”
How do you define success, and what keeps you going? Success?
Easy! Lots of friends, lots of joy and laughter, great support, and of course the courage to try new things! Success is happiness while continually evolving as a person!
Me and My Family!