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Ellen Anderson: Wisconsin Nature in Oils

The arts were alive at Schlitz Audubon as we hosted the work of inspired local artist Ellen Anderson! Through August 15, 2022, visitors viewed the exciting art show titled Ellen Anderson: Wisconsin Nature in Oils on the upper level of our Visitor Center in our Mezzanine Gallery. 

This stunning artwork depicts the natural world in all its majesty. Using light and atmosphere to tell a story, Ellen’s paintings often show a myth-like reality that only nature can lend. To see her paintings is to step into another world depicting a time and place of importance and power. 

Ellen’s Inspirations 

Ellen began her creative career as an illustrator, running a nationally sold greeting card company for 15 years and illustrating 15 children’s books. She primarily worked in watercolor/gouache, doing smaller, whimsical pieces. Longing for a change in style and subject about 10 years ago, Ellen switched to using oils and focused on painting nature. The result has been the creation of large oil paintings that put a voice to the magic of our outdoors, blending what is observed with color and light. 

The drama of the changing seasons figures heavily as inspiration. Ellen appreciates how the light and colors change, as well as how animals evolve during the year with the transformation of the landscape. She loves the woods, the wetlands, Lake Michigan, and the rivers across the state.   

Indigo Passage: Ellen Anderson

The Importance of Nature 

Ellen works from her studio on the Milwaukee River in Mequon, Wisconsin. She sometimes drives across the state taking photos of her subjects, remembering things she sees by look and feel, and then paints them in her studio, creating the wonders she has observed. Taking inspiration from the natural world, she hopes that her paintings draw viewers into our woodlands and waters and the wild places that she believes are so important to preserve.     

Nature is painted as it is, without much attention to human influences such as barns, roads, or other phenomena. Ellen uses her work to tell the story of our natural world and her experience in it. 

“These paintings are very much a reflection of me and nature,” Ellen said. “I find peace most in nature. It is healing.” 

Feature Image: Dimming of the Day by Ellen Anderson