Art quotes

"For the last 20 year period I've been working with ideas conceived as a child." -Red Grooms

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Painters Paint!

(Photos of Joel Ellis Art in this blog are taken from the exhibit at Gallery 194, Lapeer)       
Planning for a new art show has lots of tricky steps to consider in a timely manner.  The outcome of all the steps must match the opening and reception date. At this writing the show at Gallery 194 of the Lapeer Center for the Arts,  has been up all of January, a sweet reception completed giving us time for a refreshing break from the frenzied pace, a pause to reflect on the activities that did come together.
Joy of Summer, 36x36

       In these quiet moments we have taken time to refine various tasks to create a successful art presentation. Generally we have one big show a year or two medium shows of approximately the same size – 30 to 50 paintings in all. Other showings are not featured artist but rather smaller venues shared with other artists at one to three paintings each.

       After a big exhibit (60 paintings!) like Gallery 194, when all the goals have been met, we wonder . . . what next? Well, we dig into a major art inventory process, and take time to visit family and friends, watch the Super Bowl until, now, we have one week before the exciting Gallery 194 Lapeer show must come down, (show ends Saturday, February 10!).

       The art studio has been surpassed by the above activities, so like many artists in many mediums, we all have our own methods to reboot, kick start, get back to business, whatever.

        For me it’s clean the studio, a dreaded process. So instead, I read a few old art magazines, favorites saved for the restart process. That was futile. Went back and read a few past blogs. A little help.

       Then I got the big guns out – Art and Fear – began looking through for a trigger that would get me going . For good measure, I also pulled out Hawthorne on Painting, an artist/teacher giving critiques on his art students’ work.

The groove is back. Worked on two paintings yesterday and it feels good. As the saying goes. Painters paint!

Birch Field, 24x20
Serenity, 30x40

Bees Delight, 20x24

Hope you can catch the Gallery 194 show before Saturday. Good to be back.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Owosso, Old Town Lansing, Lapeer original art sources

       Joel Ellis Art has been as busy as Santa’s workshop lately. We have three seasonal venues and one feature show to begin the new year. 
These are the venues:
Abalone Dreams, 24x20
Arts Council of Greater Lansing
  • five warm color paintings at the charming Shiawassee Art Center (SAC),open 7 days a week 12 to 5pm, (closing 4pm on weekends) 206 Curwood Castle Dr. Owosso, Michigan 48867
  • nine adventurous works for the December featured artist program at the ArtsCouncil of Greater Lansing, 1208 Turner Street, in Old Town Lansing, open week days,
  • five paintings at the McLaren Mid-Michigan Physicians Building, Lake Lansing Road, are available, three in the lower level are holiday paintings under $100,
  • up to 20 paintings coming up in January at Gallery 194 of the downtown Center for the Arts in Lapeer, Michigan. A nice way to start a new year.
    Bold Beach, 16x20 the original selected for the
    billboard project supporting the arts in Mid-Michigan

     Please treat yourself to a viewing of these original, one-of-a kind paintings by award winning artist Joel F. Ellis.
     If you have questions about the work or you are interested in purchase of one for your holiday, home or office, please contact Joel at 517-525-0150. Credit cards accepted through the secure PayPal system.
Spring Thaw, 20x16
McLaren Mid-Michigan Physicians
     Welcome to all visitors of this site and wishing all a loving season, from the crew at Joel F. Ellis Art      
Amber Eve, 20x30
To start the 2018 exhibit at Gallery 194,
Lapeer Michigan



Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Best Day of My Life - Creating Art

In preparing for an art show featuring retired art teachers, I had a chance to have a quick review of all the happy children’s faces over the years discovering the excitement of creativity.  The children were communicating not only their joy of the experience but also of making something they had to control to actually complete their creation.

All through these blogs are the stories of children’s experiences with their moment of sitting back and saying this was great or this was “the best day of my life”.
When people view our creative output, artists of all ages hope the viewer will also connect with that supreme moment – the best day of my life.

Mist Rolling In 14x16 at Absolute Gallery
In a recent exhibit at Absolute Gallery, the works of artists who also taught art are brilliant, thought provoking, and evidence of the good days of producing art. Those of you in Lansing area may want to  take a little time in Old Town Lansing in the next few days to check out exceptional art from passionate artists (show comes down October 3). Let’s celebrate the teachers and those who share art, they shine a light on the path to a brighter, happier, and safer future for generations to come. (Thanks to Zane Balks-Russell for organizing the show).

Call Home 12x12 diagonal
at Absolute Gallery

This is the season to get ready for many art shows in Mid-Michigan. Holidays draw many of the invites to exhibits such as Lansing Area Arts Connection (at the McLaren physicians building on Lake Lansing Road) the upcoming Holiday show with all works under $100. Shiawassee Art Center is also preparing for the Holiday season with lots of good art. I will have a display at the Arts Council of Greater Lansing during the month of December. There is more to come. Please watch for more specific art announcements in the weeks to come.
Joel ,

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hoffmaster State Park on Great Lake Michigan

Sand Dance, 9x12 oil on board
June 5 - We just might get our first trip to Lake Michigan in for this year. The blankets and picnic supplies are beginning to be found. The maps and G P S ready for use. The next step is where to? The shorelines are calling to us, “We are beautiful!” 
Morning Shadows 18x24 oil on linen
We nestled in to this welcoming slope
at Hoffmaster State Park  
We stifle a little laugh at our childlike giddiness as we go through the process we know so well. Will the sun be out to bake us or just warm the dunes?  Do we need all this food? ... And what about eating out? Should we leave at dawn like the many times before or let the morning sun sneak in and wake us hopefully in time to beat the morning rush hour traffic? 
All this planning is just to see the beautiful Great Lake Michigan. My family has been doing this for low those many years of my childhood. The family albums are full of little children, including me, sitting on a blanket trying to sit and smile at the Kodak camera.  At least I didn’t say Kodak box camera. Well, any way, you get the picture the dunes are calling again and with a lot of driving and a little luck my batteries will be charged for another painting season.

June 11 - P.S. Well, we did go the lake and yes we did get the weather report:  a cool day in the mid 60’s, so we planned sweatshirts and jeans. As we got near the lake the sun came out shooting the temp up to the low 80,s! What happened to the mid 60’s? If you know us you know we don’t give up, so we did get to the sand and water dressed for cool weather as other beach goers were in more comfortable swimming attire. The sand was hot as the morning sun beat down. We made our beach blanket nest and settled in for a little surf sound nap.

Cooling of the Dunes award-winning 24x20
oil sold during busy month of May.
Soon we were aware of the increasing sounds of happy children swarming the sand playing beach games. A few teacher types stood guard as the end of the school year party blasted into full swing. A wet boy, arms out stretched yelled, “Free hugs” as he flew by. His friends ran from him howling back, “yuk, change your wet shirt.” The hunger for a hugs boy retorted, “Here? in front of the girls? No, I’ll change in the bushes.” We watched the kids just be that great preteen sub set of the human family. The most memorable moment for me was not so much the beautiful sandy beach but how we all lived that day in our own special way enjoying Lake Michigan.

Spring Marsh Song 36x36 acrylic, sold
through Shiawassee Art Center
It sure was a surprising and fun way to recharge the creative batteries and we got a chance to peek into the funny lives of those free and happy children on their end of school year treat at the beach.

We are taking a bit of a rest from the current exciting art show season. The winner at Shiawassee Art Center for Best Abstract is still on display until June 30 (see last blog, May 17). Rise Up was a joy to paint and even more exciting to receive a thoughtful judge critique for the win. We had excellent experiences with both the SAC member show and the Riverwalk Theatre show including positive responses and some sales.

Great Escape 18x24 oil on canvas
sold early in June 

Go, look at the art about you this summer.


Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Creative Energy Begins in the Young

       We had another art experience courtesy of children at play. They were just doing what pleased them and the results were mind boggling. We, the grandparents, sit and watch in wonder at the shear flow of creative energy being generated after a long day of school. 

       The third grader is on the computer making a fast car to race. Superchargers and racing tires rated for high speed in place and off he goes learning about G forces. The pre-k artist is drawing a prehistoric shark. He gets scissors working to cut out his creation that Picasso would have been proud to see.

       Watching these young children grow and develop is my open door to the complex world of the creative process. Both have the drive to express the mysterious energy that flows in all of us. Each child releases the desire to make something in different ways. After their personal experience there is the moment of sharing and, through our admiration, the sense of fulfillment of their creative journey.

Nautilus, 24x24
currently at Riverwalk Theatre 
 This early spring has been a time for me to share my creative output and it really has been a trip of sharing. The two main shows went up with the usual details covered – one at Shiawassee Art Center (SAC) and the other still exhibiting until May 30 at Riverwalk Theatre Lobby, an elegantly design lighted to view a couple of dozen wall art pieces. We had a chance to meet the fine folks that put art shows together and work with them and experience their creative challenges. We also, gratefully, had sales of strong works and one award at the SAC membership show – a large abstract titled Rise Up.
Rise Up winner of Best Abstract at SAC Membership show, May 2017

       We all have the buildup of creative energy. Once we put the energy to work, we are compelled to share the sense of fulfillment that comes with the positive responses we receive.
Thank you to all who support the arts. Here’s to a creative summer.

Local mid-Michigan people will want to check out the Mid-Michigan Art Guild 12x12 Show. Some fine small sized art at Framer's Edge, Haslett, Michigan.

The beautiful Shiawassee Art Center, Owosso, Michigan, 206 Curwood Castle Dr. now celebrating 45 years! Open new hours Monday-Friday 12-5, Saturday and Sunday 12-4, Free admission.

Quest 40x30
currently exhibited at Riverwalk Theatre
Riverwalk Theatre, 228 Museum Drive, Lansing Michigan, the lobby is designed especially as an art gallery, now exhibiting 24 Joel Ellis favorites.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Guide to the Future

Silent Spring 24x30
now at Riverwalk Theatre
       A few years ago, well ok, one decade ago we were planning a major life change. This was no simple change. It was a job requiring a move from the house we built ourselves where we raised our children. That is a big time change.

       We, Helene and I, made detailed plans with timelines. We were in full moving mode but we had to first face the most challenging task moving families face: the stuff we collected over the years. We sorted through box after box of “important papers”,
Sunrise Mist 16x20
now at Shiawassee Art Center
mementos, photos, photos, clothes, making a thousand decisions -  but the volume of our stuff seemed to increase. One day I came back to the sorting area after taking a load to the truck and found a large hand painted sign hanging over the boxes. It proclaimed our guide to the future. ---HOW SHALL THE PAST BE REMEMBERED---?

Birch Sunset 20x16
at Riverwalk Theatre
       That questioning phrase has been haunting us after our big move and is still more haunting as we sort through and move the stuff from our elders through their final years. Just what are the criteria we use to keep or discard? We have so many variables for each situation.

       Now the same scenario appears with the Art. We have been asking artist colleagues how they build a strong body of work, as in how does the artist judge their own work to present to the viewing audience? If we get into a deep philosophical discussion, the usual response is strained because their emotional involvement is from the heart and soul, a very deep place. 
  Some responses are confidently vague: ---   You just know ---If the piece still speaks to you--- if the piece is show worthy. Show worthy, wow. I think show worthy means if the work is still strong after the moment when we first knew it was good and the artist is happy to have had a hand in its creation.
Spring Marsh Song 36x36 at Shiawassee Arts Center
We the creators of our artistic vision, in building a cohesive and enduring body of work, should be in touch with our future audiences and muse over the phrase, ---how shall the past be remembered---?
News on Joel Ellis Art: As of this writing, nearly 50 diverse Joel Ellis paintings are on display in the Michigan area. To enjoy paintings live, please check out these venues during April and May:

The beautiful Shiawassee Art Center, Owosso, Michigan, 206 Curwood Castle Dr. now celebrating 45 years! Joel Ellis Art, March 14 to April 23 in the Hebert and Docent Galleries, open new hours Monday-Friday 12-5, Saturday and Sunday 12-4, Free admission.
Flower Glow 16x20 at Riverwalk Theatre

Riverwalk Theatre, 228 Museum Drive, Lansing Michigan, the lobby is designed especially as an art gallery, now exhibiting 24 Joel Ellis favorites.

A grand thank you to primary artist-helpers during the set-up of both of these venues, Tom Tomasek  at Shiawassee and Jackie Borszich at Riverwalk Theatre. Thank you for all your help with these exhibits.
Jackie Borszich helping to set up
Joel Ellis show at Riverwalk Theatre
standing with Lascaux Nights

And Thank you to friends and colleagues who read the blogs or visit the art at public sites, we are greatly appreciative of your patronage. 

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Mysterious Moment of Inspiration

The main thing is to be moved, to love, to hope, to tremble, to live.”  Auguste Rodin 
       There is a mysterious moment when the artist stands in front of the blank canvas waiting for the inner energy to bubble forth. When a viewer stops to look at my work and asks what inspired me I want to give them the long answer. I have to admit this has happened and the viewer’s eyes have been known to glaze over out of boredom. So just how do we present “the story” that fueled the painting that stopped the passing viewer?
       For some artists who are painting in a theme or a series, the energy is already flowing and easy to tap into. Even with the familiar experience, however, there can be that moment of contemplation, “how do I get this painting going?”
       Please notice how long I have taken to get to the question, “what inspired me…” You get the point. There is for me and other artists no easy answer. So let me try again - ahem. Let’s see now. There is the cliché stuff like sunsets, really, and sand dunes and cloud formations and, and….
       Then there are the times when that special inner energy is easily tapped and sometimes it is agonizing. Staring at a blank canvas is an ancient experience, I think, like moments when multiple surprises come together, almost as if spirits are taking advantage of the pause. Those are very euphoric and blessed moments, we artists live for that Adrenalin rush. When it doesn’t work, when calling on inspirational keys doesn’t click, it is torture filled with self-questioning.
we are stardust expression in acrylic 36x36
exhibited at Shiawassee Art Center March 14 - April 23, 2017
       Some of the inspirational keys come from exploring a painting technique like the wide swaths of paint in we are stardust.
       Nautilus (below) was inspired by a conch shell that has been sitting on a shelf in our home. Some inspiration comes from an interplay of materials in hand - thin or thick or fluid mixes in action. Sometimes the inspiration hits the right beat with the music playing and we find the brush almost taps by itself. 
       It is all so interesting – the business of being inspired and the outcome of creating.

NAUTILUS 24x24 diamond acrylic
to be exhibited at Riverwalk Theatre, Lansing Michigan April 5 to May 30

Large conch shell on the shelf
What is coming up.
        This has been a busy Spring for showing my art – two paintings at the MEA building just off of Saginaw, East Lansing for the 53rd exhibit of Michigan educators art; groupings of some of my favorite paintings in two galleries of the Shiawassee Art Center Owosso, Michigan; and coming up in April a series of Joel Ellis Art in the beautiful lobby of the Riverwalk Theater off Museum Drive near Impressions5 science museum.
        Other news – my grandson, Tyler Smith, a graduating senior from Grand Valley State University, has three drawings selected for the Michigan Collegiate Art Exhibition currently exhibiting at Lansing Art Gallery, downtown Lansing, reception and awards March 24 6-8 p.m.
         I am honored that the venues are available to artists in mid-Michigan and that I am included. Think original art for home and office.

There is beauty all around us, enjoy.