Stop by the gallery over the next few weeks and see Ellen Howards beautiful plein air California landscape paintings. En plein air is a French expression, which literally translates to ‘open air’. It is used to describe a process of painting or drawing done outside, directly from the landscape. This technique challenges artist to concentrate completely on the vista in front of them. It requires the use of all of senses to try to absorb what the artist sees, hears and feels in the moment and then channel the experience into their vision in paint on canvas.
Ellen paints primarily in plein air because it allows her to be outdoors, taking in all the beautiful diversity of our Northern California landscape. True enjoyment for her comes from painting the marshlands and highlighting areas along the Pacific Coast, capturing the light as it spreads across a scene. Color is very important to her and represents the abundance and richness of life. Ellen’s use of color shows vitality and reflects positive moments in time. Her goal is to brighten up a living space with her paintings.
Ellen has been a California resident for 20 years, but grew up outside of Boston, surrounded by relatives who were artists. Her grandfather was a cartoonist and her mother loved watercolor and gardening. While at Syracuse University, she earned a B.S. in Business and started her career in finance. It wasn’t until after she married and raised two children that she returned to her love of art and art history. She began taking art classes in 2005 and has had the opportunity to study with artists in the California Academy of Painters, the Palo Alto Art Center and the Pacific Art League. She has studied with noted artists including Jim Smyth, Brigitte Curt, Will Maller, Jeanette LeGrue, and Bill Davidson.
Ellen has received two first place awards and a third place award from the Society of Western Artists and was accepted into SWA’s Annual Exhibition. She was also accepted into the Triton Museum of Art’s 2013 Statewide Painting Competition. Ellen’s painting “Golden Light” was chosen to advertise Filoli’s exhibition: “Through the Lens: Nature Interpreted”, and was published in Gentry Magazine’s August 2012 issue. She is a member of the Society of Western Artists, California Art Club, Los Gatos Art Association, American Impressionist Society and American Women Artists.