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OF JAMES ELLISON
As an artist, educator, and theologian I bring to my work a unique blend of aesthetics, theology, psychology and creativity. I believe that we all are created in the image of God and thus we are by nature creative beings. When God breathed the Spirit into the first human being, God breathed it into each of us. Thus there is in me and in everyone a pure child like spirit, an inner voice. I follow this voice closely for it is the Divine within me and it does not lead me astray in the creative process. As an artist, I have committed myself to the communication of this Divine presence iin the world to others. Often we miss this because life has dulled our senses and imprisoned our spirits with the burdens of life. Thus, my paintings are a means by which ordinary people can grasp the great and the sublime.
When I begin to create individual works of art I seek out the paradox in what I have selected to be my subject. I hold this paradox in tension, not trying to solve it but to behold the unity within the diversity of all that lies before me. As I move from the creative insight towards the finished painting I seek to communicate the meaning of what I have seen in my minds eye and in the world around me. The Essence of God is revealed to me in nature and in the human form in subtly different ways each day (Romans 1:20). I seek not to impose my will upon what I create but to draw out the fullness of its very being. I do this so that those who gaze upon the painting may experience eternity. They are one with what they see, as if they could walk into the painting and participate with me in the experience.
I am a Symbolic-realist, in that might paintings have a heightened sense of reality which includes conscious and unconscious symbolism. There are two genre in which I paint. The first are super realistic nature scenes with little or no human involvement and the second involves humans but in a surrealistic manner. To accomplish this, I use in my paintings a combination of techniques. Like Friedrich of the Romantics, my designs are based on the symbolic use of line, shape and color. However I use Jungian Psychology to evoke specific emotions creating an impact that will cross cultural boundaries. Like the Impressionists I use many small dabs and strokes of various harmonious colors in my paintings to create the rich colors caused by retinal fusion in our eyes. To this I have added the use of complimentary contrast to achieve an opalescence from the Post-Impressionist Renoir. While from Cezanne I gained insight into creating unity, in form and color, except I do it within a depth of field by delineating my forms through the use of chromatic value contrast. I have combined the use of clash and discord from the modern colorists with the dynamics of Salvador Dali to charge the picture with an unearthly energy. In this process I pay attention to the slightest detail. Not one thing is of secondary importance to me as I create. Each element is to work towards the whole, the single inspired goal which I pursue with all my skill, insight, and knowledge to communicate the essence of what lies within my heart and mind.
My desire for the people who gaze upon one of my paintings is that they
will be led to experience the celebration and struggle of a brother who
is on a life long pilgrimage like them. My hope is that as they experience
this they will feel a resonance between what I have created and their own
joys and sorrows. The success of my painting is measured in the stirring
of the spirit that is deep within them. In their receiving this beauty which
is born out of strife they come to the appreciation of the worth of their
souls. This inspires them to seek out new possibilities in life, as their
crutches are turned into wings.
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