Ellen Howard

The famous religious painter Carl Bloch was said to have dipped his paintbrush in his heart. As an artist, I relate to that statement because painting for me is a way to turn myself inside out and share what is there on canvas. Sometimes I see things that are so painfully beautiful that I can find no adequate words to describe them. My art has become a spiritual language where I can express myself without speaking. And hopefully those who view my paintings will feel what I am trying to say with no words passing between us. I have found that it is through visual imagery that I can best reveal my passions.

As an artist I am more interested in painting my emotional reaction to a subject than in creating a photorealistic rendering of it; consequently my paintings lean more to impressionism than realism. I tend to work in an abbreviated style where the suggestion is more important than the completed statement, and where the parts or details are sacrificed for the good of the whole. I’ve learned that the less I give away in my paintings, the more people seem to read in them.  To me, there is more poetry in an image when not every detail is spelled out and the viewer is allowed to solve some of the mystery.

I love to capture the abstract patterns of light and shadow in the subject as, paradoxically, I find this creates a more realistic image when viewed from a short distance. I generally paint things that I am close to, both in distance and in feeling. I am not about depicting vast expanses of nature, but rather of close, intimate corners of personal spaces. Any subject is game for my brush as long as it is beautifully lit. In truth, light is always the subject I find most exciting, as anything it touches is enhanced in depth, dimension, vibrance, and beauty. This is the spiritual implication art has for me.

I consider it the greatest of privileges to be an artist–to notice the grandeur in small things around me, to celebrate them on paper or canvas, and to share my passion for life though my artwork. 

I work primarily in oils, painting landscape and marine subjects on location. This allows me to be outdoors, taking in the nuances, beauty and diversity of Northern California’s environs. True enjoyment comes from painting the scenic marshlands and dramatic whitewater vistas along the Pacific Coast, capturing the light as it spreads across a scene. I have always been drawn to painting water and find it a place of peace and solace. The variety of color within the reeds of the marshlands and waterway change drastically depending on the time of day and season. Each season brings in a variety of colors and atmospheric changes. Spring and summer are filled with new growth and vibrant colors in the foregrounds along the coast. I enjoy the fall with its warmth of light in the sky and golden trees colors. Winter is one of my favorite times to paint because of the array of gorgeous clouds formations.
“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
National Juried exhibitions include: California Art Club’s 107th Annual Gold Medal Exhibition, American Impressionist Society Annual & Small Works Show, NOAPS Best of America, Outdoor Painters Society and Plein Air Painters of Colorado. She was one of 19 artists for the “Northern California Impressionism” exhibition at Peninsula Museum of Art. She is a member of the National Oil and Acrylic Painters Society, the Laguna Plein Air Painters Association, American Impressionist Society, the Outdoor Painters Society, and the Plein Air Painters of Colorado. Ellen regularly participates in plein air competitions and won “Best Water Scape” at the Mendocino Paint Out 2017 and People’s Choice at the Frank Bette Paint Out 2016.
Ellen is an artist member and Co-Chair of the California Art Club, San Francisco Region.

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