Ellen Dreibelbis Statement
It is the inner world that inspires me, the psychological, the contemplative, the spiritual.
In my painting I celebrate the beauty of life, the hopeful, the creative and the amazing surprises life can hold if you just hang on long enough. Whatever the subject matter, musicians, portraits, figurative studies, or flowers, I bring compassion and a deeply spiritual element to my art.
I love to paint people of all races and the Bay Area with its rich ethnic mix has been deeply inspiring to me for that reason. I am blessed to live in Oakland which has a large African-American population (among other ethnic groups) and I am constantly being moved to paint the people here. I believe we are all one in the important ways, and I love to find those everyday moments that have a universal quality, something we all recognize and resonate with. Frequently as I do my daily activities I will encounter faces that fascinate me. I'm always noting the way the light falls on the head of the person I am talking to, even as I'm buying groceries or paying for my lunch.
I'm very attracted to strong inner emotion. I love to watch people on the street, in cafes or buses. Sometimes, as I'm watching, a face will become aflame with intense feeling, in response to some inner thought. This illuminates the anonymous environment like a beacon. I love the contrast between the drab, functional environment and the unique, complex human being.
I never feel that I am controlling a painting - making it happen. I am waiting for a moment of illumination. If I sit quietly with the painting for a while, communing with it, quiet voices inside myself will tell me what it needs. I'm on the lookout for a face, an expression or gesture that reaches beyond the mundane and somehow seems to embody some universal human experience or truth, in all its poignance and beauty. Its when I can evoke this kind of experience in my painting that I feel most satisfied as an artist.