Art and Sustainability

"Why should we think upon things that are lovely? Because thinking determines life. It is a common habit to blame life upon the environment. Environment modifies life but does not govern life. The soul is stronger than its surroundings." –William James (1842-1910), American philosopher and psychologist

Photos from Ellen Borison’s show at Sightline February 28, 2011

Filed under: Ellen Borison,pen on paper,shows — Becky @ 3:30 pm
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The view of Ellen Borison’s “Instrumental Lines” series from the hallway


060224.3 guy clark, gel pen on brown paper 8.2″ x 11.7″ by Ellen Borison


Ellen Borison’s art hanging in the lobby of the Sightline Institute office in downtown Seattle


left: 050430 banjo bass workshop, gel pen on brown paper 8.2″ x 11.7″ by Ellen Borison
right: 030426.25 banjo bass workshop, gel pen on brown paper 8.2″ x 11.7″ by Ellen Borison



“Instrumental Lines” by Ellen Borison January 5, 2011

Filed under: Ellen Borison,pen on paper,shows — Becky @ 8:28 pm
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Detail of 030425.24 darrel scott, gel pen on brown paper 8.2" x 8.2" by Ellen Borison

With our tenth show in the “Art & Sustainability” series now on view at Sightline Institute in downtown Seattle through the end of February, we go back to the very basics of creating art: making marks and making music. Issaquah artist Ellen Borison elegantly (in scientific terms) combines the two in “Instrumental Lines,” a raw collection of 30 figure drawings on brown paper. This series of line drawings captures both the simplicity and the complexity of accomplished acoustic musicians performing live in concert, mostly in the genres of Americana, bluegrass, and blues. She says:

I have discovered that I listen better while drawing and draw better while listening.

The most interesting thing about drawing musicians is that they move. Rather than trying to draw impressions quickly, I draw deliberately using a modified blind contour line, often adding detail to faces . . . I often capture multiple superimposed views, giving the drawing dimensionality and dynamism.

In this body of work, Ellen juxtaposes the natural brown paper with the modern-day gel pen, which she likes because “the ink is saturated, and [she] can get strong lights on toned paper.” The results are drawings full of movement and energy.

Though both Ellen’s academic and occupational backgrounds are in computer science, she has been drawing most of her life. Most of her work is figurative and based on observation.

An active member of artEAST, Issaquah’s non-profit arts organization, she and fellow member Gretchen Van Dyke, have curated figure drawing shows the past four years, including one where participating artists drew from a model on the walls of the gallery. Ellen will also be facilitating open studio figure drawing sessions there, as well as teaching an expressive figure drawing class. For the past five years, she has also had her work included in Unclad: The Fine Art of the Figure, an annual international juried art show at Gallery by the Bay in Stanwood, Washington.

Formerly from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Ellen currently resides in Issaquah with her husband and cats. See cat drawings here.

To view Ellen’s lines (literally) of line drawings at Sightline during January and February, visit the office between 10am and 3pm on weekdays. All works are available for purchase. Contact Ellen directly at ellen.borison (at) gmail (dot) com with sales inquiries.

Sightline Institute
1402 Third Ave,
Fifth Floor, Suite 500
Seattle, WA
206-447-1880 ext. 100

What thoughts about sustainability are inspired by Ellen’s art (and by art in general)? Share yours in a comment.