James Ellison is a Symbolic Realist working in both oil and pastel media. As a Symbolic Realist, he is always looking for meaning in nature. Symbolic Realism is the intentional psychological use of color, line, shape & page placement to communicate meaning. The meaning is on a subconscious level using basic human understanding and is not subject to cultural or historical limitations. Even though all people understand the image he has created on a subconscious level, James also writes artistic statements to bring the meaning to a conscious level. These are based on his studies as an artist and ordained minister giving James a unique blend of aesthetics, Christian theology, psychology and creativity. He believes that we are all created in the image of God, thus we are by nature good but life has wounded, imprisoned or burdened our spirits. God is present reaching out to us but we often miss it because our senses have become dulled. In nature James sees this so he has committed himself to the communication of this divine presence.
“To find my subject matter I hike the Angeles Mountains and foothills looking for scenes that speak to me. Once I find one I hike back with my Backpack French Easel for a full day. If I am working in pastel I will hike back 6-8 times more to finish it. If I am working in oil’s I sketch and begin my painting as well as take photos to work from in my studio as it will often take me 2 to 3 months to finish it. The photos are taken from different perspectives to record the volume and depth as well as at periodic times to catch the shifting light and shadows. It takes this long because my work is very detailed. Though realistic I subtly changed things either buy moving my easel to left, right, up or down to catch different angles and by actually moving an object in the image to communicate a specific message about life."
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