Ellen Howard, “Transcendence,” oil, 20 x 20 in. My reference for this painting was work done in MacKerricher State Park at Lake Cleone. I have painted here many times and was inspired by Monet’s work and wanted to play with color and layering of paint.

Ellen Howard: “Ebb & Flow”
Peninsula Museum of Art, Burlingame CA
On view through October 20, 2019

Submitted by Ellen Howard

“Ebb & Flow” will explore my journey painting water scenes from the marshlands, ocean, and coastal areas as well as my journey experiencing the ebb and flow of ideas, creativity, and inspiration. I have included paintings that I have painted in plein air and works where I have used my plein air studies to paint much larger paintings in my studio. I have also included several paintings that I have been working on that are more abstract in nature and reflect my effort to capture my view of water in a new way.

Ellen Howard, “Rogue Wave,” oil, 20×20,. This painting was painted from plein air studies done in Pescadero.

I have become increasingly aware of the ebb and flow of my work as an artist. For me, artistic flow is having an optimal experience or being completely present and fully immersed in my painting process; distractions recede from my mind and I am fully open and attuned to the act of creating. This is the state of being that every artist wants — where we just create with no fear or blocks, and what we create is what we envisioned.

But there is also a flip side to this…

An ebbing of creative energy — when we don’t have a clear path on where we want our work to go. I’ve come to learn that both states can be beneficial. I love when things click for me as an artist and I’m inspired by my subject matter and can’t wait to paint. I find that embracing the ebb in my creative cycle can be quite beneficial also, but maybe not as much fun. When an ebb occurs, I know I need to find more quiet time, go for walks, and shake up my usual routines with new experiences. Usually during this quiet time, certain events coincide and begin to take shape and I usually find that I am back in a growth mode again. This cycle of ebb and flow was what inspired me to create the body of work for this show.

One of my paintings, “Transcendence,” (shown at top) is the beginning of an exploration of layering of paint, pushing color and working more abstractly. I chose this title to symbolize the spiritual aspect of painting. For me, painting reflects the climbing or reaching for something outside of myself and digging from within to express my emotions and feelings.

Ellen Howard, “Rolling In,” oil, 20 x 24 in. This painting was painted from my plein air studies done on the beach at MacKerricher State Park in Mendocino.

Sometimes I am drawn to other artists’ moodier works and paintings that are more open to interpretation. Most of the compliments I have gotten on my work include a reference to a sense of tranquility that my paintings can impart. I am happy that my work evokes those feelings in others. And I am always striving to give someone a visual place to rest, be at peace. I hope you’ll join me for my exhibition at the Peninsula Museum of Art this September.

Related > Read my guest blog post on “The Art of Flow” here.

Ellen Howard, “Sunset over the Headlands,” oil, 16 x 20 in. This painting was painted during my stay as an Artist in Residence at the Mendocino Art Center. The sunsets were spectacular this past winter.
Ellen Howard, “Coastal Cypress,” oil, 11 x 14 in. This painting was painted plein air on Carmel Beach, one of my favorite places to paint. The light was beautiful this day, and I loved seeing the water peek through the beautiful cypress trees.

Ellen Howard Biography

“I strive for my paintings to engage the viewer and evoke a sense of connection, create a stillness that transports the onlooker to a tranquil space. Each painting is unique and an expression of that mood or energy expressed at that time.” ~ Ellen Howard

Ellen is a co-chair and artist member of the California Art Club, San Francisco Region, member of the Salmagundi Club, a signature member of the Society of Western Artists (SWA), and the Monterey Plein Air Painters Association, a member of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society (NOAPs), the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association (LPAPA), the American Impressionist Society (AIS), the Outdoor Painters Society (OPS), and the Plein Air Painters of Colorado (PAAC).

Ellen has also been juried into 107th & 108th Gold Medal Exhibition with the California Art Club, American Impressionist Society Small Works Showcase 2018 & 2019, Featured Artist for Mendocino Plein Air Paint Out 2016 & 2018, “Best of America” NOAPS national exhibitions 2016 and 2017. She has also received Honorable Mentions from the Capitola Plein Air Festival 2018, Frank Bette Paintout, 2018, Monterey Bay Plein Air Artists (MBPAA) and the CPAP Annual Exhibition in 2017. National juried exhibitions include OPS 2015 & 2017, and PAAC 2017. She was one of 19 artists for the “Northern California Impressionism” exhibition at Peninsula Museum of Art.

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