Throughout her life, Ellen Lawler has loved art and nature, especially birds. Although she followed a career path into the sciences, she always found time for artistic endeavors, especially drawing. When possible, she took art classes at institutions including the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, University of Minnesota, Salisbury University, Salisbury Art Space (SAS) and the Art League of Ocean City (ALOC). Since arriving on the Eastern Shore of Maryland in the late eighties, watercolor has been Ellen’s medium of choice. After retiring from Salisbury University in 2015, she has had more time to devote to her artwork and has exhibited at local art centers and galleries like the ALOC and SAS, the Lu-Ev Gallery (Easton) and Classic Custom Framing (Salisbury). She recently placed second in a Worcester County Arts Council show, had a solo exhibit in the ALOC’s Spotlight Gallery and been juried into a number of Delaware Watercolor Society shows.
I love the range possible with watercolor, from delicate washes to bright vivid colors. I especially enjoy mixing colors on the paper, and the “happy accidents” which make the painting process exciting and a constant source of discovery. I look for color in my subjects, especially in shadows, and try to accentuate that in my paintings. I also keep in mind the quote “Value does all the work, but color gets all the credit” and pay close attention to the value range in a work. But ultimately, I feel that the composition is what makes or breaks a piece, so I put much effort into developing a strong composition before I even touch the watercolor paper. I feel very fortunate to live on Delmarva and spend much time observing local flora and fauna in the diverse habitats present here. I endeavor to share these moments with others through my paintings which I hope encourage them to take a closer look at the natural beauty all around us.