Dunfey Exhibition, NH Art Association


I'm excited to announce that my work

Late Afternoon

(original pleinaire watercolor on paper | $775 framed) has been accepted into the

NH Art Association 17th Annual Joan L. Dunfey Open Juried Exhibition.


November 2 through November 26

The NH Art Association

Robert Lincoln Levy Gallery

136 State Street, Portsmouth

(603) 431-4230

Sarah Chaffee, Juror (Gallery Director, McGowan Fine Art, Concord, NH)

Peppers/6" x 6"/Oil on Board/$150

I'm so happy I did this little still life of peppers...actually black and green peppers...no creative license on the black peppers!

I primed the board with a vermillion and let it dry. In this case, I chose priming the board ...this works in situations where you know your subject matter will relate to the..??? in this case my complimentary, green peppers and contrasting indigo/black pepper. The complimentary color of the green against the vermillion background is contrast which adds interest.

The light or white filled foreground creates a sharp contrast as well in front of the black pepper. I like the little glowing shadow areas in between the peppers. I'm going to be trying more of this.


Talent and flexibility, translation....fluency!


In an effort to gain more fluency in painting, I took a workshop by a well known painter this year in Hawaii. As you can imagine, the color palette is very different from say, New Hampshire, where I live.
There were several members of the class who were commenting negatively on the instructors palette on the first day of class. I am more of a "wait and see" kind of gal. After all, this is a wonderful, master painter and we're paying a goodly sum to have his talents.
What I re-learned and wasn't expecting , was that you can make a pretty darn good painting using only 3 colors, and white. It made me feel confident and more fluent.
This concept isn't new to me, I'd been taught this by the nuns in my college art classes; terms like "economy of line" "mixing mother colors" "painting in masses"
"expressing the shapes".....but after all these years, I'd forgotten! 
After the workshop I realized I had made some very insignificant, small paintings, but I'd gotten my power back!
Perhaps combining translation, talent and flexibility all adds up to fluency? There must be hundreds of combinations of approaches!
The more tools in our tool belt the easier we can translate, but a ginormous palette of colors isn't necessary! Fluency in the technique of painting is necessary.
Thank you! Ellen



Production with a broken wrist.

Producing art has been descirbed by artists as a "3 ring circus", " a "juggling act", "a roller coaster ride", "getting an enma everyday", "having my period 24/7", "a game" "an act", "an act of self deprivation, a life of rejection, and don't get married", "a good bit of fun", "people think you're an artist because you can't do anything else but I only produce when I'm inspired, "you can't hold down a regular job, so why not make the world prettier?", "it's genetic...my family is full of artists", " a wonderful, lifelong journey", "learning something everyday and illustrating it for everyone else", "enjoying travel and business combined," and..."being busier than a one-armed paper hanger". The last one is my personal favorite. 

Halliimaile General Store/Oil on Board/ 10"x10"/$300/Ellen Friel@copyright.

The air in Halliimaile, HI is not really cool and not really hot. It's more like  a combination of both. It's very moist and the light is filtered. This is one of the best chef owned restaurants on Maui.The location of Halliimaile is where the ancinet king's beautiful, maile flowers were grown. These special, fragrant flowers are used today in lei making, and are seasonally grown. 

The production of art means a myriad of things to a myriad of artists, and right now, i have a cracked wrist, so i'm  busier than a one-armed paper hanger. This concept stands as a true testament to what I do everyday, when ihave the use of both arms....I keep working on the business of producing. i keep networking, keep looking at art, keep taking classes, keep going through reference photos,complaining about the weather, keep cleaning the studio, donating art, supplies, time or money to organizations that want my help, keep having lunch with other artists, and communicating with others on social media, working on my web site, freaking out, uploading, downloading, and the list goes on. I like the concept of a "daily painting", but I'm a one woman show, so it's more like a "weekly painting"....except when there's great plein aire painting weather.

No matter, keep on the business of art. it's a production process. If you're not doing anything, come over and bring lunch. i'll show you how to mix black with two colors, my new pleinaire easel, how to make Greek cookies, and ..????

Sorry for the typos. Ellen

The Bonfire

Every year, I have a bonfire and burn works which I can't keep. I can't keep them because of a variety of reasons:

The colors are wrong.The perspective is wrong. The people look like cartoon characters. My husband, friend, mother, dentist, next door neighbor just won't tell me they don't like it. It keeps getting passed over at shows, I've spilled something on it, it's covered with cat hair, it's just something I don't want my ancestors seeing. It has a bad memory attached to it....and the list goes on.In the piece below, I realized what a dog it was  after I painted the same scene 3 subsequent times. The colors were wrong. The waves are too unrealistic and I think there's something else that I don't like about it, but I can't put my finger on it. I really like the trees and they way that they transition into the sky though. That part of the painting is something which is a bit of a breakthrough at that point in time. It's still going on the burn pile though!

Thanks for supporting the arts. You're supporting a dying breed. The "squeeze out" sister and brotherhood do something which is one of the most archaic things left on the planet.

How much?!

A couple visiting a gallery happened to comment while discussing a piece they both liked. I overheard them while volunteering behind the punch bowl during a recent holiday reception.

"Wow, that's beautiful!"

"It'll look awesome in our kitchen, and it's the perfect size."

"Yeah, lemme see how .....whoa! It's $500 big ones!"

"Okay, well maybe next year."

"Yeah, okay..."

I've heard this conversation among people numerous times, even from my own mother. Why does original art cost so much?

1. The cost of materials. Quality materials are up there. As a pro, I'd never use student grade materials of anything in producing my work.  A 5" x 7" Belgium linen canvas board starts at $20 with shipping. One tube of cerulean blue is around $20. A small, quality brush is $30. Etc... You get what you pay for. I've tried scaling back and using materials which are cheaper and it's a nightmare.

2. Paying myself. I've tried adding in the cost of labor. Trust me. It ain't happening. My accountant calls me his most dedicated, die hard artist ever!If you ask me how long something took to make, I'd tell you 40 years. That's how long I've been studying and selling my work. It's been a joy and I've got no regrets being a member of the sister/brotherhood. 

3. Galleries, shops, art associations now take a 40-50% commission on sold works. That's what I've got to work with when I price my work.

4. The cost of rejection. I don't get into every show I enter. There are jury fees to be considered for certain shows, and those fees are sometimes built into the cost of the artwork. Most venues now charge them because they cannot survive from the sale of art only. 

Buying original artwork is an investment, whether it costs $100 or $1 million. No one will come to your home/office and ponder with wonder over your framed Monet poster. Your personal story is connected to the work; why you chose it, what it depicts, how you met the artist and what you know about them.These moments certainly fill a great conversation that gives other people an insight into who you really are, and the fact that you have remarkable taste and sophistication!"Home Goods" is doing all right, pro artists...mmmmm....Buy Original.

Depending on your heirs' taste, what a great legacy to leave behind; works to family, friends, and foundations. Your expectation is that someone will enjoy your art collection just as much as you did. The bonus is that most original artwork increases in value, so bequeath accordingly!(A blog for another time!) 

Buy Original Art. Thank you for supporting the arts!



Plein Aire Painting soon!

Wow! What excitement! This is going to be an interesting winter. Almost as exciting as pet sitting my daughter's 2 cats. Really...I'm going to miss them, but off I go to Maui so I can get into my plein aire painting in oil and watercolor. Some favorite spots on Maui will be: Kihei, Makena, Haleakala volcano, Paia, Ahihi Kinau....just to mention a few. I'll keep you posted!

I swear I won't get too tan or have too much fun....and I'll keep you posted with new works!


New Homes for my work in 2015!

Happy New Year everyone! Many thanks to all the art patrons, friends and family who came over to the studio to choose artwork for their homes and offices! Thirteen paintings went to new homes this year and I am so thrilled! 

"Three Red Trees"- Watercolor on D'Arches 300lb. paper

Sunflowers and a new season

I've been trying to get used to the fact that with fall here, winter's just around the corner. So off I went to my fav flower farm and bought some awesome sunflowers. I decorated my porch and mantle with some seasonal pumpkiny things. Now I'm into it. I'm playing with my uke group; "UKESTRA" at The Milford Pumpkin Festival....it's out of control!

This whole week I'll be painting en plein aire, but in the meantime, I did this sunflower painting and I'm liking the results.

Thank you for supporting the arts and reading my blog.

"Sunny". Oil on board. 6" x 6". $150. Framed.

Flute Music and Oil

Stupid me. I was all set at the beginning of this week to play my first solo piece at a flute workshop this Saturday, and felt pretty confident. It felt like it wasn't perfect, but I had rehearsed my brains out and thought I was in pretty good shape. Working with my flute teacher, who's a DIVA, BTW, quickly changed my mind!

She inspired me by thinking of this short, seemingly simple piece called "Andante" by Ernesto Koehler, as "a little bouquet of daisies that I will present to the audience." Picture this: Blinking eyes and complete silence. What? "Be mindful of the phrasing that's involved." Boom....back to square one...and wow,  was she right. I just sounded so awful. 

After starting my 7th year with my dear teacher, I am beginning to understand. I really am in an ascending level of "Maslow's Pyramid". Just as I've been in the process of learning to oil paint, for the past 7 years, after exclusively painting with watercolors for 25 years prior to that...I'm learning to run with the big dogs...no, this is huge.

At this age, I am keenly aware of integrity. This is such a magic word. As my friend, and fellow watercolorist, Bill Childs, once said to me; "Don't ever sacrifice the integrity of the medium for gimmicks. There's no substitue for a solid painting." So, I'm hoping that as a beginning intermediate flute player and oil painter, I can be bound by integrity. My piece sounds so much better even 3 days before the performance. I will sound even better than today, 1 day before the workshop. It's okay if it sounds almost perfect 1 day after the workshop, and I have learned so much about my own limitations. It's so much fun to be "in process".

"Spring Daffodils" New Work

"Spring Daffodils" 6" X 6" / Oil on Board /SOLDThis piece has some cubist vignettes in it. One day, I was just fooling around with this concept. I am not a fan of Picasso, but I do enjoy his concepts. This piece sold, and I'm glad I tried something "out of the box."

Spring 2013 New Small Oils ~ Sneak Peek!

"Pink Carnation" /Oil on Board/ 6" x 6"/ $200Here's a sneak peek of about 24 new small oils that I'm going to be presenting for sale, at The Kennedy Gallery for the month of May. The Kennedy Gallery has graciously offered me this show as a "featured artist", which is truly an honor since I've only been represented since December! I'm excited and will be presenting works in oil and a few watercolors. Everything I've done has been painted to celebrate spring. You will see a collection of florals, and still life, along with a few pieces created from my imagination.

When they first approached me, they said "We really want lots of color! We want a fresh body of work to celebrate spring." As you know, I'm not shy about using color. As far as celebrating spring, I sure hope we get closer to that season. Today is more like winter out there!

The Kennedy Gallery is located in downtown Portsmouth, NH @ 41 Market St. A huge parking garage is located just steps away. The Gallery is having my opening in conjunction with "Art 'Round Town", which always falls on the first Friday of the month. The opening is free and will be from 5 to 8 PM. I'm going to be there to meet and greet and offer you some biodynamically made wine and goodies. Please join us!

The show will run through the entire month of May.

See you there! Ellen

Go To: www.DailyPaintWorks.com

It's been awhile since I've posted any blogs, so I do apologize. Since I've been catching up from travel and plein aire painting, I realize that I now have a body of work which I can offer for sale. My galleries have been wonderful to me. They offer professional expertise on selection, framing and interior space design with my art. There is the guarantee that if you buy it and hang it, and for some reason you don't like it, you can return the piece for another selection. Makes sense!

But now I can offer work through my web site and a new auction site for easy access to people who don't have the time to visit the galleries. This is easy and a fun shopping experience! My work generally has a long standing following, and contemporary art buyers are tech saavy. So go for it...check it out!

The new auction site is called "Daily Paint Works"...Hope I got that right...I know, I know...you buyers are the highly ordered tech saavy types.....me, on the other hand.....

Thanks for viewing my work! Ellen

Into Fall

Those of you who know me personally, know that I am more of a warm weather person than a cold weather person.The thought of going into fall and then winter always makes me shiver. This year, I decided to change things up a bit, and try to swim and do pool aerobics through the winter. I've also taken lots of photos of flowers (hate painting from photos), and will wear my flip flops with socks if I have to. When the weather gets snowy, I will switch to my UGG boots which aren't too bad if rolled down from the top to exposed the cute shearling lining.

I'm painting en plein aire now, on the coast. Will post a couple of those adorable beach huts soon.

I've joined an ukelele club people! I'll pretend I'm sitting under a coconut tree until I can return to my little grass shack in Kiawekapu!

Roll on!Hugs, E


Ellen Friel in a ginormous zinnia field in Rosaly's Farm, Peterborough, NH.Well, here I am with my webmaster, Elise, starting my new blog!  

For several years, I have had an exhibit news blog which has given the details of what, where, and when for my exhibits, but I thought that it would be good to have a place to express more about my new studio space, my artistic process, the New Hampshire and New England art worlds, and to provide a place to invite other artists and art lovers to join in.  

Today I'm beginning my new website feature, Ellen's WOW!  (Work of the Week!).  Ellen's WOW will be featured on the home page of the site.  

I always hope that people will add more color and art to their lives.  It's important for people to live with art, and to choose works that they really love.  Don't be embarrassed to buy the art that really makes you feel good, just by looking at it!  Please don't go through life without adding some red to your home, office, or vehicle! Add some tropical blue to your summertime retreat!  If you have a Colonial home, Wedgewood Blue is not the only decorating color available!