Ellen Glasgow ~My life as an artist and military wife has involved a great deal of travel. Painting on location has been a constant source of inspiration and stimulation while becoming familiar with each new locale. The lifestyle has been a great advantage for a landscape painter.
My work has been described as “luminist”, “fauvist”, “impressionist”, “colorist”, “minimalist” and even “abstract”. I don’t mind any of these descriptions, but I don’t really think of my paintings in that way. It really is just NATURE that interests me. I like vistas, strong horizontal lines broken by groups of trees or distant islands…coastal North Carolina and the Outer Banks. Edges where sky meets horizon and the mysterious habitat of the fence row and the open spaces of Northern Indianan with clouds or islands “floating” on the horizon continue to enthrall my eye.
And reflections…Reflections in the water have been a mesmerizing subject for quite a long time. Moving back to Kentucky and living on a boat on the Kentucky River gave me an opportunity to really look at and contemplate the color and light at all times and seasons—as well as the aspect of the ridges sloping down to meet the water. The geometric shapes and simplified forms repeated in the mirror of still water–changes in texture, color and distortion of shapes– is ever fascinating. In recent years I have noticed an intensification of color—my paintings have become brighter, more saturated with intense, pure color, odd combinations, totally intuitive choices. I am not sure why.
In November, 1994, hand surgery enforced a seven month sabbatical from painting. During the months of therapy I looked at my paintings a lot wondering what would happen after so long a respite from the daily activity of making marks on surfaces.
The first watercolor studies seemed timid and pale–quite a bit the way I felt as I exercised to rebuild strength in my hand and arm. Then, during a week of intense work in a monotype seminar, saturated color seemed to burst forth in rather abstract landscape compositions. Instead of the usual location painting of specific places which has been my greatest source of stimulation, I began to use “remembered” images of the Kentucky River—things with which I was most familiar. Returning to the painting studio, these same images were transferred onto canvases, eliminating most detail, relying on intense color combinations to carry these simplified compositions. The paintings have become meditations rather than records of the world as it is. And the monotype has become a new adventure and means of exploration of the landscape.