Ellen J. Brown


I have been painting all my life. I come from people skilled in draftsmanship and the arts. Workshops, universities and private art instruction all inform my work. Lucky to live close to Chicago growing up, I’d take Saturday drawing instruction at the Art Institute of Chicago. I would walk the galleries from the huge front entrance on Michigan Avenue to the School of the Art Institute of Chicago on the back side of the building. The museum was closed to the public at that hour, and I could linger alone with paintings, sculpture, and collections of ceramics, silver and fiber arts. They all inform my work. To come face to face in front of what I call Live Art is still such a delight and a thrill.

I’ve studied art history throughout my academic years, and still I research cultures which seamlessly use visual forms in their everyday lives. We all use complex visual languages that inform our emotions, dreams and fears, and reveal what we need to share. Knowing more about these extinct visual languages keeps me in my studio to study ancient cultures of Europe, specifically Neolithic peoples who left behind grave goods to assist their dead, but now inform our cultures as to what was valued, and we can see how similar we all are.

My fine arts degree was finished at Western Washington University with a focus on painting and printmaking. All my life I have loved figure drawing. I worked for many years as a forensic artist for local law enforcement agencies.

My  painting is deeply personal using my dream imagery and personal myths. I use the pathway through the Padden Creek Gorge as a set for the wild dance of forests and how cosmic light reaches down to the earth and ignites a vibration of colors. 

I’ve lived in Bellingham for a very long time in an old cottage close to Lake Padden Park.

Ellen J. Brown