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Ellen Elmes
Judge, 2002 Heritage Days Fine Art Show

In her profession as a watercolorist and mural painter for thirty years, Ellen Elmes continues to give visual voice to her love of life and natural beauty. Her watercolors have originated from themes on her home turf in the Appalachian mountains, in the Scottish highlands while on sabbatical with her family in 1995-96, and responses in her heart to family life, seasonal and human cycles, and political issues of community and global concern.

Ellen has exhibited and sold her watercolor work extensively in the middle Atlantic states. She is a full-time art instructor at Southwest Virginia Community College in Richlands, VA and has taught watercolor classes in Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, and Aberdeen, Scotland.

Last summer, Ellen and thirty participants from her college and local community designed and painted two outdoor murals celebrating their heritage and generational vision. Ellen has painted nine acrylic murals of her own in collage-style narratives about the histories of Richlands, VA, Kingsport, TN, Western Maryland College, Gettysburg College, United Methodist churches, coal mining in southwest Virginia, transportation in Wheeling, WV, and the art and science of western medicine.


Art for me is a bridge between inner reality and outer environment. I particularly enjoy the watercolor medium because the transparency and fluidity of the paint allow me to explore intangible, complex ideas in layered, tangible imagery.

Basically, however, I consider myself to be a narrative artist. I like to tell stories! My acrylic mural works are more graphic, historically-based narratives, while my watercolors utilize symbolism to tell more universal, intrinsic "soul paintings."

As a teacher of art, I have the opportunity to apply the function that I believe art serves in society and the world at large. Art is a language that allows us to share and communicate the essence of being human. Through my teaching and creating of art I am blessed to participate in such vital human dialogue.


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