My name is Ellen Negley and I was born and raised in Peoria, Illinois but now I live in Lake Worth, Florida. For me, watercolor is the perfect medium although I will agree at times it can be frustrating and very unforgiving. It’s elusive, unpredictable and has a mind of its own. One minute the colors are bold and electric and the next they’re delicate and transparent. Every time I step up to a blank piece of paper I feel a rush of adrenaline, like stepping off a cliff and not knowing exactly where I’ll land. Maybe it’s that ever-present challenge that keeps me coming back for more. There is always more to learn.
My watercolors are a reflection of my surroundings so lately, my paintings are likely tropical. There is something so special about the light in south Florida and I am captivated by tropical foliage, especially palm trees, as you might have noticed. I also love including figures in my paintings because it’s the people that make the place. I choose busy urban settings where I can use lots of color and have people bustling about. The more I paint, the more I move toward abstraction. I don’t strive for picture-perfect representation. I care less and less about accuracy and think more about composition and color. I often move things around for composition’s sake and I rarely eliminate elements to make a “pretty” picture. If there happens to be telephone poles in the scene, they’ll likely end up in my painting!
Travel has been an important influence in my paintings. I spent quite a bit of time in the Caribbean as a child and the travel bug has taken me to Europe, South and Central America as well as Africa. Traveling has opened my eyes to so many colorful places and someday I hope to be able to hosts workshops abroad so that I can combine my love for both painting and travel.
I’ve had the wonderful opportunity to be selected as the featured poster artist for several amazing art shows over the past few years. People are very passionate about their home town and I enjoy bringing their city to life in watercolor and seeing their excitement. I am also currently collaborating with Bealls Florida where my paintings appear on all kinds of products: apparrel, bags, dishes, towels and more. It’s been a challenging project and has pushed me to explore subjects I might never have considered.
Currently I participate in eight to ten art shows a year throughout Florida. It’s a great way to get feedback on my paintings and I enjoy talking to people about my painting process. I also teach several workshops a year and it feels very gratifying to help others explore the amazing world of watercolor painting.