Lorraine Ellerson

 

Interview conducted by Gallery Director, Sigrid Trumpy.

 

What projects are you working on at the moment?
I am currently working on a series of six paintings entitled Body of Water. There are three large-scale paintings and three small, which depict the human form merged with water – ocean, bay and tributary. The concept is to unify the human form with these bodies of water to demonstrate how interconnected we are.

What are the primary materials that you use?
I use oil paint directly from the tube or can, occasionally mixed with plaster, wax or linseed oil to give it some texture.  I work on triple primed canvases. My larger works are up to 5' x 5' and small around 30" x 40."  In order to get the desired affect, I use a variety of palate knives and filbert brushes.

What's your earliest memory of art?
My earliest memory of art is my mother bringing home a landscape painting when I was about 5 years old, followed by her painting of a vegetable still life in oil. It was a very small canvas and tightly worked, realistic in style.  Around the same age, I recall watching my grandfather handcraft a violin.  I remember feeling in awe of him, and knowing at that time I wanted to learn how to create something from nothing.

What work of art do you most wish you'd made?
Great question.  A painting, Marc Rothko's White Center.

How do you know when a work is finished?
Something I learned early on is a work is not finished when someone else thinks you’re finished; it’s about how you, as the artist, feel. To me something is finished when I feel a connection with the work, that it’s able to communicate what I had intended it to communicate.  

How has your time as an AIR been?  Was it how you expected?
My time as an artist-in-residence has been extremely satisfying. I’ve enjoyed the studio space – the scale, the light – as well as having the opportunity to connect with the other AIRs and learn from each other.

When you work, do you love the process or the result?
I choose the result.  The process of laying and shaping paint can be tedious, followed by the tightening and enclosing of the shapes. Perhaps like designing a room, or making a paella, the assembly process is long and often wrought with challenges, but the result is well worth it.

What are your habits?  What patterns do you repeat?
I tend to repeat a combination of smooth and heavy/relief surfaces with paint. Additionally, I float the edges, providing a frame-like finish.  I work left to middle, then right to middle, using both hands.  

What is your ideal creative activity?
Painting.  Alone. Or, with a book-on-tape.

Which artists do you most admire?
Louise Bourgeois for her range of work and feministic themes.  Holding Sunday Salon's - a crit. for student's and creating the movement of confession art.  I love her spider sculpture in DC. Helen Frankenhaler for her gorgeous stain paintings and the first artist who introduced me to the color field style. Also, locally, Claire McCardle for working with marble, which frightens me.

Does anyone in your life regularly inspire you?
A childhood friend, a New Yorker, who embodies "the art of living beautifully." 

What is your creative ambition?
I would like to have a greater presence in commercial spaces. Most of my work is large-scale and lends itself to open, public spaces.

I also have an aspiration for the local arts community as a whole.  Artists are challenged to find the right environment to learn, create, and be inspired to hone their craft. My hope is someday we could identify a benefactor to support local artists by dedicating a building to studio and gallery spaces. Think the Arts Tower in Baltimore (Bromo Seltzer tower). 

What are the obstacles to this ambition?
Regarding my personal ambition, it's simply about finding the time - and mental energy- to develop a greater presence on social media in order to engage with architects, commercial builders, etc., instead of going through a dealer to form those relationships.

In terms of community outreach, Annapolis is fast recognizable as an artist haven. Given that, it just comes down to the funding. Build it and we will fill it.

How do you begin your day?
I always start with coffee and the NYTimes, followed by walking my dog, Scout.  I use that time to mentally plan how I'm going to use the studio time for the day.  I try to walk from my home in Eastport to the studio at least a couple times a week to clear my mind.

Is a creative dialog important to you and if so how do you find it and with whom?
It is important.  Painting is a singular vocation, and although I'm comfortable with alone time, I do feel outlets for shared passion are vital.  Art speak is in everything -fashion, food, travel, architecture and design.  Perhaps "Sunday Salon" needs continuance.

 

For more information about Lorraine, visit her Artist-in-Residence profile

This is part of an ongoing monthly series featuring a Maryland Hall Artist-in-Residence (AIR). Check Maryland Hall's website every week for a new post. Each month we will feature a different AIR. Click here to visit the Maryland Hall AIR page.

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