Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

Home · Articles · News · Art · Third Career. Limitless...
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Third Career. Limitless Perspective.

Frankfort painter Ellie Harold never intended to become an artist for her third career.

Al Parker - June 16th, 2014  

She started her working life as a registered nurse, caring for patients in an intensive care unit. Later she became an ordained Unity minister, leading a church she pioneered in Atlanta. About a dozen years ago, Harold picked up a paint brush and began creating landscapes and still lifes that vibrate with color.

One of her landscapes, “Boathouse Impression,” recently won the People’s Choice Award at the Leelanau Community Cultural Center’s plein art event. “That was a very satisfying painting to do,” says Harold. “There were so many good artists in the competition. I was a little nervous. But the brush just took over and it flew out. And it was sold before the judging.”

HOW I GOT STARTED

In the early 2000s I advocated for women who had been childhood victims of clergy sexual abuse. I became involved in SNAP (Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests). While in Boston for a meeting, I found myself unable to sleep on three consecutive nights. Instead, I seemed to hear an inner voice imploring me to “Do Art, Do Art.” Having previously had a similarly insistent calling to ministry, that I’d ignored for several years, I decided to respond to this calling in a more timely manner.

I bought some oil painting supplies, an easel and some canvas. Twenty years prior I’d dropped out of a beginning oil painting class, but remembered enough to get started. That partial class and a year of life drawing are my only formal art training. Once I got my equipment together, I put it in a corner of our screened porch and more or less forgot about it. Six months later, I spied some blue asters and orange tiger lilies, grabbed them up, stuck them in a pitcher and started painting. I’ve been at it ever since.

THE STORY BEHIND MY ART, MY INSPIRATION

The skills I developed as a nurse -- the ability to scan the environment and respond quickly -- and as a minister -- the ability to think on my feet, sense where energy is flowing and interact creatively -- have served the painting well. The painting seems to be part of a continuing evolution of spiritual purpose, one that I love and enjoy serving. While I devote most of my time to my painting, I also love my work mentoring artists who seek me out for assistance in learning to fulfill their aesthetic needs more completely.

WORK I’M MOST PROUD OF

I try to avoid taking a lot of pride in my artwork or getting too attached to any one painting. Pride is a tricky thing and if I start feeling like “I” am doing “good” work, hubris takes over. As a chronic people-pleaser, I’ll start trying too hard to reproduce the good result and in the process lose any aliveness or energy, the qualities I feel determine the real value of a work. That said, I do love most of my artwork! My Frankfort studio & gallery occupy a large portion of my home and my work is everywhere. Until they go to another home, I’m in constant conversation with the paintings. I actually believe they don’t sell because there’s something I still need from them and then, when I no longer do, they fly off to a new home.

At the recent Leland Plein Air event I had the experience of selling a wet painting. It’s the first time I haven’t had the opportunity to hang out with a painting before it went to a new home. I can only conclude that, based on the evidence, I got all of what I needed simply from making the painting.

YOU WON’T BELIEVE

How everything in life conspires to equip us with what we need to fulfill our spiritual purpose. I feel fortunate that I learned early on how to transform the so-called bad stuff in my life into a tremendous sense of meaning and purpose. I keep on painting the way I keep on living – to see what’s going to happen next!

MY FAVORITE ARTIST

I can’t say there’s one artist who is my favorite. I enjoy Monet and Bonnard, Diebenkorn and Matisse, but mostly because of the inspiration for an artistic lifestyle they demonstrate.

ADVICE FOR ASPIRING YOUNG ARTISTS

My advice for all artists is “Do your Art.” As I wrote in my book 7 Habits of Deeply Fulfilled Artists: Your Aesthetic Needs & How to Meet Them, if you’re an artist, making art is a need, not a want. My father was a commercial artist who for various reasons didn’t do his creative art. As a result, he was very critical of my early attempts to make art and I didn’t get around to fulfilling this need until I was 52. I’ve met a lot of older artists who’ve also been put off from doing their art because of family and other obligations. If as a young person you have the opportunity to pursue your art, just do it! Don’t deprive yourself! Do whatever it takes to do your art. As Dr. Seuss suggests, “Oh, the places you’ll go ….”

MY WORK CAN BE SEEN/PURCHASED

At my Frankfort studio and gallery and at the Sleeping Bear Gallery in Empire. I have my Caribbean paintings in the Siddhia Hutchinson Fine Art Gallery in Vieques, Puerto Rico.

clockwise from top left:

Boathouse Impression

Point Betsie Dune Scene

Barn Vista

Ellie Harold welcomes visitors to her in-home gallery in Frankfort.

 
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