Art quotes

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

Friday, May 19, 2023

Why We Make Art

It’s been awhile since I have been at the blog and a lot has taken place for all of us. For me, the art

Quest 40x30

world has begun to recover from the pandemic with all of our routines coming back to our daily activities. Art shows and summer art events are beginning to pop-up making life brighter and just plain old fun again. We are sure to tell stories about the Covid event that changed us for years to come.

Many artists have experienced the awakening effects and the renewed tingle of joy for what we are called to do. I know this is clumsy, but the hardest task artists try is to explain why we make art. If you ever get a chance to ask the why question most will give a well-rehearsed answer. Let’s not go too far but think of the child we were a few years ago.  Some of us were labeled creative or arty when we just liked to draw, or paint or construct things or find ourselves in other creative arts - writing, music, theater. Anyway, we are here on this wonderful earth to enjoy and protect. We must use the gifts we have to support that overall good and continue to experience that tingle of joy at what has been created.     – Joel  Here comes Summer 2023, places to see Joel Ellis Art

My journey in the fine arts continues with new and exciting venues. Most recently we selected 20 larger favorite paintings for an installation on the main floor of The Armory in Owosso, Michigan. The works exhibited are part of the Michigan ArtShare project for art conversations both urban and rural. The Owosso Armory, at 215 N. Water St. in Owosso, is open week days from 9 to 5, on weekends when special events are scheduled.

The Owosso Armory show is planned to transfer my paintings on June 13th to another Urban Rural conversation site from Michigan ArtShare: Art634 in Jackson, Michigan, a fine venue supporting the arts. This show will be a shared art experience exhibiting my paintings along with the works of Timothy Orikri in a historic renovated building (once said to be a circus wagon factory)

Jackson is a unique and vital community support venue for the arts and artists. Watch for future updates.

Glacial Gift 36x36
Other travels of Joel Ellis Art include Owosso’s beautiful Shiawassee Art Center (SAC) overlooking the park along the Shiawassee River. SAC is filled in several galleries with one of a kind watercolors, oil and acrylic paintings, metal sculpture, jewelry, ceramics, photography. SAC center for the arts is a delight of creative stimulation. I was happy to see my large colorful painting, Glacial Gift, in view from the entrance to the art center clear into the main gallery. The painting is an homage to my long time interest in Geology. This membership show will be up until early July.

Stately Season 30x24

McLaren Physicians Building on Lake Lansing Road is also an ongoing source of viewing skilled art from local artists including two of my works this summer. 

We Are Stardust 36x36

Wednesday, March 15, 2023

Art of Looking at Art

Joel Ellis painting
How we view visual art comes natural to most of us. Some like the viewing to be warm and cozy realistic scenes with pleasing colors. Others would prefer a more dynamic event like leaning over a cliff to get the perfect camera angle. In a gallery setting there are viewers who stand face on with a painting, hands to face, staring, waiting for the perfect message to arrive.

At the Detroit Institute of Art viewers 
experience the work of Vincent VanGogh
While putting up the most recent show at the Armory, officially known as the Chamber of Commerce in Owosso, Michigan, we had office workers and casual visitors to the building stop and look at the installation in progress. They too were engaging in the art as the look of the large main entrance was changing. For the artist as curator, “putting up” a show means matching sizes, colors, form and frames as well as content of the works. Some of our office visitors were visibly pleased with their transformed environment.

Many people choose to place art objects in the surroundings of their personal spaces. Archeology digs are replete with artifacts that had significant meaning for the viewers of ancient times. They had their reasons of choice as we do. We too adorn our walls with what brings true emotional pleasure. Next time you have the experience of viewing art with other folks, please take a moment to consider what is before you the very expressions and definition of being human. 

Quest 40x30

The Owosso Armory, across the Shiawassee River from one of Michigan’s gems in art - the Shiawassee Art Center - will be displaying the Joel Ellis Art exhibition for a few weeks, possibly into June. As a project of Michigan ArtShare, the exhibit, or parts of, will be transported for showings in other Michigan sites participating in the Urban/Rural Conversation. I am also greatful to have some of my paintings in the beautiful Shiawassee Art Center (SAC), Lansing McLaren Physicians building, and other mid-Michigan community sites through summer. More about Joel Ellis Art will be announced through the year.

Enjoy this new season of original art as artists prepare to show their work. Joel

We Are Stardust 36x36 

Flower Box  24x30

Ocean Sunset  24x30

Sunday, January 8, 2023

Vincent VanGogh and Artists Unknown

Helene and I often look at a piece of art and say we wish we knew the history, the life that it could tell, the creator’s hand, its travels to our time and place. Of course we realize that our own creations are also on their own journey.

Over these many years we have often “rescued” other artists’ works from thrift stores and property sales. In bringing these works into our own environment we have tried to protect them for a time from the ravages of their journey, pondering the art pieces path to this precarious position.

When we go to an estate sale we recognize and respect the home owner’s efforts of their life’s adventure. Their story is often told in their things, including art works, on sale in their homes.

A few years ago we went to a sale that blew us away by the sheer number of paintings lined up on a damp cement basement floor each at minimal prices. As we looked at each one, still life objects on canvas, portrait drawings, we knew we were having a rare moment. Our inquiries were simply answered that the artist passed away with only a disinterested family member far away. The artist did not try to sell paintings during her lifetime. We bought arm loads, cleaned the mildew and growing mold and carefully stored them until their story might continue into the future.

Every active artist ponders their works and wonders what will happen to their pieces on shelves, in cupboards, and stacked under beds. Who will take that second look and maybe say, well done artist, I hope you had a life fulfilled.

First Light 30x40 acrylic, currently at MEDC

I am back to painting and feeling great. We are very pleased that Michigan Economic Development Corporation (MEDC) recognizes Michigan artists as a part of their mission of economic development. Currently, arranged through Michigan ArtShare, I have 14 paintings on the main floor of the MEDC building, 300 N. Washington, Lansing. MEDC is open week days during regular business hours.

In addition, I also have two paintings in the McLaren Physicians Building, Lake Lansing Rd., Lansing Michigan. I also have submitted a few paintings at the beautiful Shiawassee Art Center, Owosso Michigan. It feels so good to be back producing and sharing paintings.

One of the most inspiring events of last year was a trip to Detroit Art Institute to see over 70 public and private masterpieces of the one and only Vincent VanGogh. This wonderful exhibition is only shown at the DIA and only here in the U.S. until January 22. We hope you will try to get to the show within the few days remaining.

If you know of friends and others interested who would like to receive the Joel Ellis Art blog news, please share the contact. The website will be updated soon. Thank you for your patronage and your appreciation of artist’s expressions. Temporary contact address:

Here Today 16x20 acrylic

Purple Dunes 16x20 acrylic painted edge

Sunday, April 10, 2022

Art at Shiawassee Art Center

Though we are looking at a slow spring, I am still encouraged to travel to the incredible Great Lakes for some fresh reference photos to inspire new visions of my painting subjects.

Wild Summer, 30x40 oil

We  went to Shiawassee Art Center (SAC) to see the latest exhibit by regional artists on cats. It was good to see the artists play with the cat theme in colorful and poignant ways. I always enjoy coming here, it's a cheery place as staff member Linda acknowledged. 

First Light, 30x40

Folks at SAC are preparing for an exceptional 50th anniversary in August. Lots of fixups are planned around this beautiful Michigan art facility during May to August. One thing during the summer is a Pop-Up Gallery in downtown Owosso staffed by volunteers exhibiting and selling art for three months before the big celebration.

Those are the planning thoughts, but as Charles Schultz’ little dog Snoopy would say when starting his creatives, “It was a dark and stormy night…”  It has been a long time since the last blog post and a lot has come my way. A few health issues that are under control and I am back to painting, back to the routine that makes me happy.


Peaceful Morning, 16x20

Strait Ahead, 30x30

Sunday, February 13, 2022

One Month Later

February 11, 2022

I heard the news today; oh boy … famous words from the Beatles sure express my take on the world stage, so I take a step back and concentrate on the stuff where I can have some influence. The chest pains from one month ago did change my perspective on living and helped me dial in on what really matters. I was painting and felt suddenly ill, all the classic signs of, well you know. Leaving the studio, my thoughts were, could this be my last painting? The good news - all is improving and back to the painting soon. In one month you can sure rank your priorities and look to future works being completed. Thanks to family, friends and most of all the medical community that provided great care.

Evening Spirit
(January 11, 2022)

To get back to painting I needed a little warmup time so I found some stretcher bars. These wooden frame-like devices are for stretching canvas and securing tightly with tacks or staples ready for a gesso base and a surface to lay out dreams. So I stretched two canvases and will be painting again soon. 

JOEL, a greatful artist

Flowers on the Wall



Monday, December 6, 2021

2022 Getting Back to the Studio

          I always start a new blog post by reading a few of the comments covered in previous posts. So today past epistles have been reviewed and with a subtle smile and hope new insights and connections are revealed on the stuff of art . 
Purple Dune
         The spirit, inner light or whatever you wish to call the inner drive to create, can at times be defused, as we all know, by outside forces, and sometimes we have very little control over this mysterious impasse. A young artist I know who is full of bright ideas and not fettered by fancy art training but full of the joy of life suddenly stopped creating and was very solemn for weeks. A few days ago the joy of art making slipped back into place and a very complex drawing came back to the relief of all. To quote the artist, “I thought I lost my art.” 
          One of those outside forces, The Pandemic, is still here and as I write this I am still in my PJs at 10:30 in the morning. Oh well, we soon will be back to the studio. Galleries are waiting and we are making plans for another season of exhibiting new art. 
         We currently have four works at the Shiawassee Art Center (SAC). If you yearn for filling your heart with quality, original art in a beautiful winter setting you should plan for a visit to SAC this month in Owosso Michigan, open daily. These folks know how to decorate. 
          We are also happy to have two paintings in the Mid-Michigan McLaren Physicians building on Lake Lansing Road, Lansing, MI. We were scheduled to present a number of paintings at the Michigan Economic Development Corporation, 300 Washington Ave, Lansing Michigan, for a newly renovated opening, but the show has been put on hold because of , guess what –the haunting Pandemic in Michigan. Please where ever you go this season to see the art that lifts you, please wear a mask and be sure you are fully vaccinated, be a warrior against the virus and its friends. 
         Wishing the holidays will bring us joy and hope for the New Year and may we all find our art.  Joel

Florence at Dawn
Rue du Nord

Peaceful Morning


Saturday, August 28, 2021

Joel Ellis Art needs Flowers and Journals

I must have flowers always and always –Monet          

Ten Tulips
Favorite of
Helene's Mom

It is the end of summer with all its tricks, heat, humidity, mosquitoes and the end of waiting for the stuff of life to get back to, well you know do I dare say, normal.  We all hope to get that summer trip in before we are tied into our autumn routine. And, of course, we always hesitate regarding the pandemic.

O yes flowers, I hope you have noticed the flowers wild and planted by well-intentioned humans. What a year for flowers. As I type this last sentence, I looked around the house and see several new flower paintings mixed with old favorites. Careful traveling has helped put most of us in touch with things of beauty and meaning and given us time to reflect on the elements of our life that are so important to us.

Purple Pair, once in a botany
exhibit at Rackham Hall, 
University of Michigan

For years I have tried to keep a journal of the events that have been presented to us on this very interesting art journey. The hard cover journals keep piling up. A few years of the records were miss placed but after a thorough search the history records have been found. Reviewing the years in these pages is quite the long and revealing read. The journals became an important element of an ongoing and evolving inventory. After years of good tries at record keeping, we have finally a professional IT grandson to help with this daunting task on the location of missing paintings - where is it? Or where was it? Do we still have it hidden like the journals? Ryan’s good skill with Excel is proving to be a wonderful gift to help us into a more accurate record of the art inventory.


Elizabeth's Iris
For my Mom in her
last years
As for me and painting I am reminded of a good friend’s encouragement many years ago, “Bloom where you are planted.” Thank for your advice Janet S. and Claude Monet 

These are a few of my flower paintings over the years, most are in private homes.

Summer Joy, 36x36
(recently sold, displayed 
 the owner's charming



           Lellow (named by a darlin child)
Golden Flowers, 30x40
For our favorite granddaughter.
(Our only granddaughter)