People sometimes ask me why dunes are often the subject of many of my paintings. There is a long family history going back, way back to family trips to Lake Michigan for a long day at the beach. We packed picnics, fishing poles and blankets and left before dawn, our destination: Silver Beach in Saint Joseph, Michigan. The once thriving amusement park was a fine family getaway but for me the first sight of the truly great lake was breath taking. The sand, so much sand, and how it the met the pure blue water was imprinted on me forever.
Spring Dune 13 x 17 oil on linen (Joel F Ellis)
Over the years the hallowed visits still mean peace, serenity and a magical transformation from the day-to-day grind of the everyday life. So… this magical spot is what I try to share with the viewer of the dune paintings, sharing my many journeys through the noonday heat or the sunset breezes rustling through the grasses.
Some dune visits may be represented down to each blade of grass while others may convey the swaying wave of green dancing over the floor of sand as water and sky meet to create these magical moments. Every trip to Ludington State Park or sites farther north on Michigan’s third coast bring a dune surprise – little lakes, fences exposed then gone, historic ship pilings, small animals alive and some going back to the earth as my young daughter used to say about a dead creature. We are truly grateful to have the amazing the Great Lakes as our playground. Joel(Spring Rain, 18x24, oil on linen).