Artist reception March. 7th
Painting became a passion for Ellen Spivey when she was in her early teens. She first started using pastels and was mostly interested in portraits of people. She won the 1st place award in the downtown Orlando Art Show at age 18 with a painting of a street scene of the downtown area. It was a picture that she hated and didn't want to enter because she thought it too primitive. Her teacher, however, insisted she enter it and to Ellen's total amazement it won. After two years of commercial art training in Orlando, Ellen decided to go to Ringling Art School in Sarasota as she felt her path was more toward fine art. She left , however, after a year to get married and have a family.
During the years her children were growing up, Ellen continued to paint from time to time still loving to do portraits, but began to also paint wildlife and sometimes to do whimsical art in wood and clay as well as painting. There was a period when she started doing oil painting but eventually went to acrylics and mixed media because of the drying time factor. It was not until the late eighties and early nineties when her children were grown that Ellen began to paint in earnest. Her income came mostly from her mental health therapy work, and she began about that time to paint from the moment she got home from work until midnight almost every day. This was a time of special growth in the quality of her work
Ellen has always had a love of native American peoples and was painting native peoples with wildlife, often hidden animals or faces which would often just appear. She was given the name White Star by native American friends and signs her work with a white star. She moved to North Carolina to the Smoky Mountains in1996 and was able to paint almost full time for the very first time in her life and felt continually creative. There was never a period when she felt "blocked" or didn't know what she wanted to create. Ellen came back to Florida in 2003 due to family concerns and has continued to work whenever she has time. She has also written a book, "ACHIEVING EVERLASTING JOY; A Journey-Map" published in 2011 and does seminars and workshops on personal/spiritual growth.
Ellen has had her work shown at Four Winds Gallery on St. Armands Key in Sarasota, The Bob Smith Gallery in Lakeland, Fl., Tu Tu Tango Cafe on International Dr. in Orlando where she was one of 50 arrtists who painted and sold their work there .In North Carolina her work was shown ar Earth Works Gallery in Waynesville and at the J.B. Harrison Gallery in Franklin, as well as,being part of several large art auctions at Carpe Diem Farms ( A Wellness Foundation). After 6 years in N.C. Ellen came back to Florida and was one of 9 artists who developed and was part of the artist co-op called "Cracker House Gallery" in Winter Haven. This past month Ellen celebrated her 85th birthday and plans to continue with her art until the very last day of her life..
My work as an artist has always been about expressing the "essence" of whatever It is I am working on. It is important to me that my paintings are not simply objects but that they embody the emotional/spiritual aspects of the subjects within the work itself. My passion in particular has been in the eyes. To me it is truly the eyes that are the window to the soul.
My major theme as always been portraiture, especially what I term character painting and for an extended period of time, I portrayed mostly Native Americans. I have great respect and love for the "people" I am not Native American by blood yet have felt that I am in my soul. I have painted a great many Indian portraits since the nineties and during my years in North Carolina. Usually the paintings included aspects of nature and wild life and horses. Often faces of animals or people would appear unexpectedly as part of the background and would be hidden at first glance. Sometimes someone else would point it out to me.
Over a period of several years I have worked on a series I call "Child of the Universe" with aspects of the solar system in the background. There are 5 in the series so far These are people of different ages, gender, and culture. I will probably not limit the number in the series.
Most all of my work has been human beings or animals but I also painted flowers occasionally and whimsical art, as well as some sculpture and woodwork. My palette is almost always bright or fairly bright using clear colors. Because color has different vibrations I usually use a wide range of color from the lower end to the higher vibratory levels to give an energetically balanced experience.
In summary, my greatest love or passion in doing works of art is to paint living things and to capture on canvas or whatever I am using, some essential part of their beingness, part of the dynamic of who they are or were.