Pamela Jo Ellis, artist painting watercolors, header

P A M E L A  J O  E L L I S
email:            W A T E R C O L O R S             phone: 207-592-7427
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Watercolor Maine Farm“Why so small?”   Does art have to be big to be acceptable?  I have found comfort in this small size, this square format...  and yet most of my work does not qualify as “miniaturism.”  Early on I did try quarter sheets, but it's just not how I see things. When I look at other artists' paintings I am always drawn to the small ones– the ones that just capture one moment, one item, one instant all in front of you to absorb.  Then the artist's ability can be appreciated: not the hugeness of the composition but the brushwork and use of color.  I feel that an image doesn't gain importance when rendered on a large scale– it's the quality of the rendering...

            “Why strive so hard for realism?”   Actually, I look for the abstract quality in the realism - the way the warm sundrenched pinks contrast with the purples and blues of the shadows in a close-up view of snow covered branches.  I push these colors beyond what my eye sees and yet when I’m done the effect of the pushing is just to have really grabbed the subject. 

            People ask me, "Where did you study?"  I study art by  looking at art, all art. I'm the one who trips the buzzers by getting my nose too close to the surfaces of the Monets and Degas’ in the museums.  I did not go to fine art school, (my parents thought it impractical... “You can’t make a living as an artist...”) but as a student of art history I am well versed in what makes art enduring as opposed to popular, and hopefully am able to apply some of that criticism and razor edge editing to my own images.  I also look very carefully at the images I'm trying to capture.  Keeping the focus simple, looking for color contrasts, finding the really darks... these make compositions pop for me. I never make up a scene; all my images are real places, real moments. How could one improve on what God has placed here in front of us?  I say, "I paint from life," but rarely do I paint on-site because life doesn't hold still long enough to enable me to render the amount of detail it takes to convey the instantaneity of my images.  I take photographs endlessly and then use these as references to create finished paintings. The visual beauty of the earth that God has given us astounds me everyday–

            People say, "Wow, these look like photographs!" and then, embarrassed, say, "I bet you hate it when people say that."  But I realize it's a layman's way of saying the pieces capture reality: convey depth, light and form.  This is my goal, so I don't mind the comment.  I am not about photographic realism, however, and although my paintings are very small, if you look closely you can see the brush work– the scribbles and swirls that added together make up that bank of trees, or field, or ripples on the water.  I want the viewer to see the brush at work; that's what I like when I look at art – to see the hand of the artist. 

Subject matter:

Winter  - we have lots of winter in Rangeley. I try to capture the crispness in the air, the minutely different grays, the brilliant blues. I love it when someone with their nose right up against one of my paintings turns away with a shiver.

            Children - I do children because they are gifts from God. I capture them just playing, just being, busy inside themselves... but I reach for the late afternoon sun to warm their bodies.  I push the contrasts: warm skin/cool shadows, looking for the abstract shapes of the shadows within the confines of the figure.

            Landscapes - It stretches out all around my home inspiring me to the west, the south, across the field to the east, the sun playing across the win’rows of hay at the end of the day... Why not paint what’s breathtaking but also so simple? I paint the same scenes over and over, but it’s always new to me, (and people rarely notice it’s that same scene; I enjoy pointing that out to them.) I never get tired of looking out my windows and of watching the variations that weather, time of day, and sunlight can do to the same buildings and hillsides I pass everyday.  God creates the earth anew with each sunrise.  I want to paint it.


Watercolor painting of figures by Pamela EllisPam Ellis received her degree in Art History concentrating in Fine Art from Colby College in Waterville, Maine. She has gleaned stylistic elements from the depth of English landscapes, the immediacy of Homer and the simplicity of Japanese compositions. Her small scale watercolors are tiny gems that convey a huge scale through a loving rendering of atmosphere and light. She captures the essence of a scene by keeping the focus tight and the details precise, drawing you into her world.

We live in the Garden of Eden... one only has to look.

Pam’s studio is open by appointment.
It is located at 2091 Main Street in Rangeley: on Route 4 one mile south of Rangeley Village. Please call 207-592-7427 to view her new works and works in progress.

She is represented by:
Fore Street Gallery in Portland,
Small Wonder Gallery in Camden,
Birds of a Feather Gallery in Rangeley,
Gallery at Stony Batter in Oquossoc.

Pam offers ongoing small group and private lessons for adults in watercolor technique throughout the year. Contact her for more details and scheduling. All levels are welcome!



Pamela Jo Ellis ©2016 . All rights reserved.