Friday, August 7, 2015

Spirit Animal Art Series: Be Like Elephant

The year is half over and somehow, I have managed to finish over 30 paintings in my current Power Animals of the Planet series - despite having had major shoulder repair surgery in January.  Don't ask how I did it because honestly, I don't really know.  I suppose I immersed myself in this series as a way to deal with the physical toll this surgery took on my body.  Regardless, I am extremely proud of what I've accomplished so far and would like to give each piece it's own post here, along with the message each animal brings.  So without further delay, I give you:

Painting One.  Elephant Spirit

Elephants have many qualities that resemble our own; to those who listen they have much to teach about developing a sense of well-being and belonging. Elephants are highly aware and convey emotions such as sadness, joy and anger. They cherish the relationships they have and use their trunks to console, caress, and soothe one another.
Elephants have been known to give their lives in order to save one of their own. They passionately care for their young, selflessly protect their elders and deeply mourn their dead. These are just a few of the traits that make them worthy of our respect and admiration.

Elephant Spirit teaches us that by honoring and loving one another we don't just survive, we thrive. Be respectful and honor your relationships. Be your authentic self.

~~Be Like Elephant.

See my entire series on Etsy at Ellen Brenneman Studio

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Power Animals of the Planet - a new series of paintings

Each year I focus on a single series in which to devote my time.  In 2012 it was Birds in Flight; 2013 I spent a year working on Yoga inspired paintings, and in 2014 I loved working on my Mother Earth series.
This year I decided to focus my energy on Power Animals of the Planet - a series in which we can learn about the mysteries of the Animal Kingdom and how each living creature has a message to share.  

I am half way through this series and am incredibly grateful for how well it has been received, both via the Etsy community and through my social media sites on Facebook and Instagram.  I am now closing in on 2000 followers there and truly, I have the best support system I could ever ask for.  I intend on celebrating by offering a bundled gift package with prints from every series.

Here are a couple of examples of my current favorites from Power Animals of the Planet:  

Great Horned Owl Spirit

~~Owl symbolizes wisdom and power. She is the bringer of truth and sees clearly what others cannot. Owl is strong, intuitive, and announces that change is forthcoming. 
Be wise, be aware. 
Be open to change - Be Like Owl. ~~ 

Frog Spirit

~~Frog moves gracefully between two worlds. She's hopping on land one moment and leaping into water the next. One splash and she is purified, restored. Frog symbolizes transformation. Major changes take place as she makes her way from tadpole to adulthood - living two entirely different lives in one lifetime. We too, have the gift of renewal and can move graciously from one stage of our lives to the next as long as we are receptive to change. Be restored; feel renewed. Be transformed. Be Like Frog. ~~

Thursday, May 22, 2014

A dream come true: a painting of Mother Nature come alive

Mother Earth is being portrayed here as the nucleus of Life. She embraces a tree struck to its core by lightening.  With her loving arms around it and by using color as symbolism, she radiates life back to the ravaged area.

What started out as a conversation between friends - one a painter, the other a photographer, evolved into this beautiful, unique piece of artwork that combines painting and photography.  This was such a fun collaboration between Ashley Beige Photography and me.  Brooke (the photographer and owner) and I work incredibly well together and I feel it shows in this final piece.

This unique, one of a kind image will be available in my Etsy shop for a limited time.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mixed Media May 2014

I have been fortunate enough to be included in this year's Mixed Media May event, held by Cindy Jones Lantier.  For the entire month of May, 30 artists are spotlighted and there are some great prizes to be won.  Here is a link to my interview; while you're there, stick around and check out the other artists - they're sure to give you some inspiration.

Mixed Media May featuring Ellen Brenneman Studio

Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Living Mother Earth Project

For the past few months my friend Brooke and I have discussed the idea of collaborating on a project together.  Brooke owns Ashley Beige Photography and works with some of the finest shops in town but her real passion is doing artistic pieces.  I of course, have been working on a series of mixed media pieces featuring Mother Earth/Nature as the subject.  Brooke proposed the idea of shooting me as a ‘living’ Mother Earth for a new series.  Doing something like this is an artist's dream; how often does one get to transform her work into a real life portrait?  I eagerly said yes and was incredibly excited about being involved in such a creative project. 
Sunday was our photo shoot and I think the images turned out beautifully.  The hard part will be deciding which one I will use for a painting.  Here are just two from several different poses that Brooke took.  
If you had to choose one of these to turn into a painting, which would it be?

"As she leaves her cocoon of solitude she feels hope in her heart that she can repair 
what has been destroyed".

"Lone Oracle"

Monday, April 7, 2014

Behind the Painting

I've recently been reminded of the phrase, 'You'll know when things are about to get better - it's when you feel like you've reached your breaking point.'  Not terribly comforting I admit, but it's usually true.  At least I hope so for the sake of me and those around me.

My husband and I were talking with our neighbors across the street about an accident that had just happened down the street from us.  As we were watching the firetrucks and police cars block the road from traffic my neighbor asked if I knew the neighbors directly to the right of us.  I replied that because of our 6 month hibernation from the brutal winter, we hadn't had much of a chance to make small talk.  She said, 'Well, their dog keeps getting loose and runs all over the neighborhood. I keep telling them that they need to fix their fence before someone gets hurt.'

Not more than 30 seconds after she finished that sentence, our next door neighbors opened their front door to step outside.  The dog squeezed between their legs and started running toward the street.  Within seconds we witnessed the dog as he was struck by a passing vehicle.  I remember hearing a long, wailing sound, thinking it was the dog; it wasn't.  That scream was coming from me.
The vehicle stopped and the driver stepped out, the look of disbelief on his face.   My husband and the neighbors across the street rushed to come to the aid of the dog and owner who, by that time was knelt down in the street next to his companion.  As for me, I suddenly felt like I was going to crumble to my knees.  When I finally willed my legs to move, I headed straight for the house where I broke down and sobbed.

I was upset for the dog, most certainly. Heartbroken for the owner, definitely.  But the majority of my uncontrollable crying came from deep within.  I was having flashbacks of being at my mother's side after being struck by a car a few years ago.

The accident involving the dog (whom died within 5 minutes of being struck) caused me to come to terms with certain things about myself that are likely to remain for a long time to come.  No longer am I able to watch the News.  Reports of sad or depressing stories seem to wound me deeply.  Shocking photos or videos in my Facebook newsfeed are quickly eliminated from my view, for once I allow my mind to accept what my eyes are seeing I find myself grieving for days.  Even movies with too serious a storyline are off limits.

It's been a week since the unfortunate accident with the dog but I am still having flashbacks.  If I allowed myself, I could easily use those feelings and make them tangible in the form of new artwork.  Perhaps in the future I will be able to explore that part of myself within the safety of my studio, but for now I distract myself with images that bring peace, happiness and love to my mind.  This latest piece is a result of that place in my mind which I reserve for beauty and comfort.  My place of solace:

Title:  Serenity of Spring

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Art and Poetry

I received a request from a poet who wanted to use one of my paintings to accompany a poem that she'd written.
Beautifully written and they pair together very well.  This is indeed one of the joys of connecting with other creatives.
You can read Brenda's poem here.    Be sure to check out her other musings as well while you're there.