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Featured Artist, Janis Ellison

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Janis Ellison Janis has been teaching art in the Central Art Supply classroom for several years. Before that, she had a 39 year career teaching special needs children which as it turns out, becomes in very helpful in teaching adults.

Her art journey began when she started drawing at about 8 years of age. Her mom would frame her work and hang it on the wall. Later, in high school she was the “go to” person for drafting posters and in general fulfilling any art needs for her class.

Janis went to college at California State University/Chico to major in art but was disappointed in the expressionistic techniques being taught at that time so changed her major to education and became a teacher. (Her father had cautioned that she may not be able to make a living wage from art.) She continued to honor her creativity by always being involved with some sort of art related project.

After she married and was raising her family (and still working full time) she taught her children to appreciate creativity. She says the kitchen table was always covered in paint, glitter and paste. Recently, her sister reminded her, "Dad didn't think you could support yourself with art but he didn't realize what a joyful life you could get through art”.

When Janis moved to New Mexico in the 90's she found the natural light of the landscape, and the colors inspiring. She had been painting in watercolor but felt she could get more vibrant colors with pastels.

After moving to Grants Pass in 2006, she joined Richard McKinley's weekly Wednesday Group and continues under his mentorship.

Janis is well versed in applying technology to art instruction by using iPad and phone apps available for value analysis (Value Viewer), Keynote for lectures and demonstrations. She’s also sensitive in teaching artists who may not be so literal in the technical world. In her classes you will find her well prepared to teach, “it makes me feel more prepared if I prepare for my students”, she says. Her classes are fun!

Janis is a natural experimenter when it comes to art and considers herself a life-long student of art technique, theory and history. She thinks it's important to take pastel and oil painting workshops every year from other inspiring artists. "I've learned specific lessons from every teacher, that helps in keeping my work fresh and interesting. Richard has given me ongoing, multifaceted inspiration for painting, encouragement to try new things and to be open to many opportunities. Through these various experiences I can pull back and paint what is natural for me”, she says.

Janis is a signature member of the Pastel Society of America, based in New York City, She will be receiving her Pastel Master Circle award from The International Association of Pastel Societies (IAPS) June of 2015 in Albuquerque, NM. She was published in the Mar/Apr 2014 issue of the Pastel Journal magazine for winning honorable mention in the Pastel 100 competition. In addition, she has attained Master Pastelist status in the Pastel Society of Oregon and is a signature member the Sierra Pastel Society, the Pastel Society of the West Coast, the Northwest Pastel Society and the Pastel Society of New Mexico.