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 stories...my "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.