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Barn Art Studio
84 Watson Rd | Exeter, NH | 03833 | 603 770 1592 | EllenWhitman@barnartstudio.com

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Ellen Whitman

The North American Horsemen's Association is pleased to announce the selection of Ellen Whitman of The Barn Art Studio, Exeter, New Hampshire, as the recipient of the 2006 Equine Artist of Distinction Award. Ellen Whitman is given this award in recognition of her distinctive artistic talent, versatility creativity ad skillful ability to paint and sculpt horses with the exceptional accuracy, realism, consistency and beauty in the uniquely soft and luminous style that successfully captures the character, life spirit and "glow" of her equine subjects. This award also acknowledges Whitman for her work of introducing the creative arts to adults and children. Ellen presents traditional and new concepts to beginning art students and advance professional artist.

A year prior to graduating with a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Studio Art, Art History and Philosophy Ellen established The Barn Art Studio as a way to introduce the creative arts to adults and children in her community. Today, through her studio, she teaches classes in drawing, oil painting, watercolor and sculpture. Ellen provides demonstration classes, group classes and private instruction on subjects such as wildlife, flora, seascapes, landscapes, still life and portraiture. The Barn Art Studio has stimulated community interest in studio art, which has resulted in extensive commissions for portraits of individuals as well as animals and very large murals. These activities have made for a successful and profitable business, as well as for the Artist gaining a high professional reputation from her peers. Ellen is supportive of her students goals providing opportunities for them to exhibit and compete in juried exhibitions. Her students are frequently first place winners in local competitions. At the present time she is working with these students to prepare art for the Junior National Duck Stamp Competition. The last few years one of her students was the first place winner and a short time ago a student won the Competition.

In her own work, Ellen enjoys mediums of oil, charcoal and clay. Her approach to animal portrait art is to study light, shadows, life and sensitivity within and around the form in order to reveal the soul of the subject to the viewer. Through illumination her intention is to capture elusive emotions and to stir the imagination while demonstrating the power of spirituality in art.

When interviewing Ellen, one is immediately taken with the artist's softly articulate voice and knowledgeable, warm way of expressing herself: t hese qualities are indicative of a gifted, enthusiastic and high respected teacher who has made a positive difference in the lives of many. Ellen is a rare individual who is living the life that she dreamed and planned , and it is clear that she loves that life she has crafted for herself. Her accomplishments started early at age 26 when she designed her own house in a setting amongst the trees. Several years later she continues to live in and enjoy this many windowed house on six acres of land. Confides Ellen, "My Life is art, nature, animals and travel. In addition to a love for horses and riding, my relaxation activities include camping, canoeing and kayaking, cross country skiing, backpacking, and often just walking in the woods." The pleasure of these activities is heightened for an artist like Ellen because these give one a chance to observe and study ever-changing light, reflection, shadow, landscapes, and animals in the natural world.

Ellen developed a love for horses early in her life. As a girl she could not understand why one could not keep a horse in the back yard of a family house in the city. Her yearning for a horse was assuaged a bit when by the age of ten, she would walk some distance up to the MSPCA (Massachusetts Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) where she would pet and draw the retired horses. It was not till she finished college that she fulfilled the dream of acquiring her own horse. Not only is she an artist today, but she is also a devoted long-term horse and stable owner. Ellen has continued a relationship with the MSPCA and has included them in her will and has arranged for her horses to be taken care of by them if ever necessary.

Thinking back to who encouraged and inspired her along the way, Ellen shares that Barbara Baldwin, past owner of Castle Art Studio in West Newbury, Massachusetts was and is a significant mentor. Ellen relates "Barbara has been an inspiration for 33 years, she has helped me to develop the techniques of creating light-filled works with life and feeling".

Another of Ellen's mentors is Professor Liana Cheney, of the Art History Department of Lowell University. This professor had an important influence on Whitman's artistic career. Ellen reflects "from studying the Old Master's techniques of using light and shadow to the studies of the impressionists and the use of color, I was filled with excitement from learning about these great artists. Professor Cheney's enthusiastic teaching gave me an understanding of the great masters in art that made art history come alive for me. Later, when I visited museums in Boston, New York, Florence and Rome everything my professor had taught held so much meaning for me."

To the next generation of equine artists, Ellen suggests and urges the following: "First in importance", she says "is to draw - to draw everything. A professional artist needs to know how to draw line, composition, shadow and lighting". She continues, "to be successful you will need excellent technical skills, all the while developing your creative abilities. Pay attention to what you like to paint, to your emotional response to color and luminosity". According to Ellen, second in importance is to have a plan. She counsels, "try to look ahead two years, five years, and to where you want to be by then - is it teaching equine art in university, or illustrating, or is it having an art studio and painting equine commissions." Concerning the future outlook for budding artists, Ellen responds, "I see tremendous opportunities for motivated, focused hard working equine artists. But, it starts with making a plan and understanding that plan with heart, mind and soul."

Our Congratulations go to Ellen Whitman as we compliment her on her achievements and on her life though this NAHA award.

Home Students About Ellen Prints Paintings Sculpture Classes Contact Barbara Baldwin
If you have questions for Ellen about her work or to commission a painting, please call or send an email to emailto: EllenWhitman@barnartstudio.com.