The Artistic Philosophy of James Ellison a Symbolic Realist
To do this I bring to my work a unique blend of aesthetics, theology, psychology and creativity. I believe that we are all created in the image of God and thus we are by nature creative beings. When God breathed the Spirit into the first human, God breathed it into each of us. As an artist, I communicate this divine presence in the world by which people can grasp the great and sublime. As I create the image I begin with evolves into something far as each element works towards the single inspired whole I pursue with all my skill, insight, and knowledge to communicate the essence of what lies within my vision.
To find my subject matter I hike in the Mountains and foothills or along the ocean shore looking for scenes that speak to me. Once I find one I hike back with my Backpack French Easel. If I am working in pastel I will hike back 6-8 times more as well as take photos to finish it. If I am working in oil 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 takes this long because my work is very detailed.
I am a Symbolic-Realist. This is different than traditional symbolism, which is tied to specific objects and can only be understood in the context of that specific culture or time. Symbolism that is based on the psychology of color, line, shape & page placement is free of such limitations because it is based on our common humanity. Thus I do not reproduce as a p camera would because 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.
Using this approach I can communicate meaning to anyone on a subconscious level. When a person views my artwork and it appeals to them, they understand the message I have put inside though they may not be able to verbalize it. Thus I write artistic statements to bring it to conscious level. What has happened at shows where I have not displayed the statements is that people buy a print or original on impulse and later read the statement often returning to tell me how did I know this was what they were feeling or experiencing in life.
The images I create are considered super-realistic because what I strive to do is create a painting that is better than a photo, so real you feel you could walk in to it. Everyone has experienced where a photo of a favorite scene falls short when compared to what they saw. First reason this happens is because a camera is monocular and cannot reproduce volume and depth. Our brains interpret volume and depth in photographs because of overlapping and size reduction. They lack reality because of their flatness. Because I either paint on location and/or do a photo survey taking pictures in a 180 arc I can reproduce the effects three dimensionality that we see because of our stereo vision. In addition by taking photos at various times of the day I am able to catch the effect of the shifting lights and shadows. The second reason a camera does not capture what we see is it can not see color in reflected light and thus turns it white. Where through using clash and discord I an able to capture the colors in reflected light for you to see even though you may think it looks white, because that is what the camera has taught you to expect.