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Artist Spotlight: Ella Anderson

Updated: Aug 29, 2021

Natural textures, dramatic geometric shapes, and muted, neutral tones: an elegant, beautiful combination.

Ella's art walks the line between soft, delicate, and organic and geometric, full, and earthy. Every piece is rich, dreamlike, and gorgeous.

Let's talk to her a little bit.

Ella, can you talk a little bit about your background? How did you get started painting?

I first started painting regularly in college – mainly because I always liked painting when I was growing up and hadn’t given myself time to do it. I didn’t have much money or time to spend on it, but I was having a really hard time with my health. Once day when I was in therapy, my therapist asked me: What brings you joy throughout the day?

“What brings you joy throughout the day?”

And I couldn't think of anything. I knew I enjoyed being in the ocean and I remembered how much I enjoyed painting. My homework was to paint for 30 minutes every night, and type A people love homework, so I would set a timer to paint for 30 min to an hour.

As time went on, I got more into it and when I graduated from college I would paint for hours. I didn’t start to think of it as a business until I realized I was spending so much money on art supplies. I get so excited to make a sale now, because I can reinvest it into my business.

How have your subjects changed over the years?

In the beginning I painted landscapes in oils. It was really messy and probably not a great idea, but I did serene typical landscapes and now I’ve moved more into geometric kinds of things. I painted solely in black and white in college, because they were the only two colors I could afford. Limiting my color palette helped me Learn about values and color blocking and that's how I structure my figure drawings now - I color block them in first.

one of Ella's portrait paintings is framed in white and surrounded by scattered paints and brushes. The figure sit up, face turned partly towards us in muted browns and reds

You work with a very soft, earthy, muted palette. Why do you work with those colors?

Last year I was using brighter colors, but since the 100 day project they’ve toned down. I did a mood board – I’m not a colorful person. I love neutrals.

two of Ella's portrait paintings are in an elegant interior scene

I painted all these swatches and now when I’m painting, I pick swatches off the wall and those are the colors that I’ll use.

And the same goes for interior design – I’ve been paying more attention to the things around me and slowly pulling colors from that.

“I really love interior design; it has a big influence on my work.”

I love the marshes that you've been painting. Are those inspired by real life places?

I usually find the photos on Pinterest. When I find a picture with a composition that I love, I sketch it out in charcoal and start layering with acrylic.

I can’t wait to travel again and take my own pictures. The last time I traveled I wasn't intentional about painting and photography like I am now. It'll be interesting to do it again with these new skills and passions in mind.

I'm excited to collect my own inspiration from the world.

Ella holds up a painting of a soft, muted marsh with vibrant green grass and a snowy colored sky

Do you start off all your paintings with charcoal?

art supplies and swatches with muted greens and neutrals beside a painting

Not always. I

've been doing that more often recently. Before I would paint with very little preparation, but now I like to plan my pieces out more. I started really getting into charcoal a few months ago.

My work is a mix of acrylic paint, some wax pastels, colored pencil, graphite, and charcoal. It's really very mixed media.

Do you paint in collections?

I started the 100 Day Project in December, but that was just painting whatever I wanted every day. It was more about feeling free and allowing myself to do whatever I wanted to do and not limiting myself.

Before that, I was working in collections, but I felt like my ideas were going faster than I could put out paintings. I like to focus on one thing for a specific amount of time.

Ella holds up a soft painting of a road winding across a field, through the trees, in the mountains.

You're going to do some traveling soon, right? How will that change your work?

I don’t know if I'm going to do pieces in each location that we’re in or not. Starting in May we’re spending two months in Denver, three months in Portland, taking a two week vacation to drive down the California coast, then two months in Phoenix, and two months in Austin.

I’m excited - trying to stay busy. There's a lot to do before we go.

What are your goals for this year?

This year I really want to focus on setting up my business for next year. By the end of the year, I want to have a seamless experience on my website. I want to work more on the interior design and styling of my work. I want to prepare myself for next year’s goals. I'm hoping to collaborate with designers, galleries, and shows. Since I’m traveling this year, I won't be able to do that.

I'm trying to set myself up for success and be creative in the meantime.

Ella Anderson is an artist based in Tennessee. Check out her website at Follow her on Instagram @ellaanderson

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