Hi, I’m Ellen Negley and I am a watercolor artist living in West Palm Beach, Florida. For me, watercolor is the perfect medium. It’s elusive, unpredictable and has a mind of its own. I’m fascinated by its nuances. One minute the colors are bold and electric and the next they’re delicate and transparent. If I painted every day for the rest of my life, I still wouldn’t know all there is to know.
Traditionally, watercolor is done by first drawing the subject matter in pencil on the paper and then painting on top of the sketch. I decided the pencil marks were inhibiting so I eliminated them. Now I just start from the top and paint my way down the paper. It’s a lot riskier, but unexpected things happen along the way and I like that. I like the feeling of losing control of a painting and then trying to get it back.
My subject matter almost always involves the figure. I choose busy urban settings where I can use lots of color and have people bustling about. Although I often move things around for composition’s sake, I rarely eliminate elements to make a “pretty” picture. If there happens to be telephone poles in the scene, they’ll likely end up in my painting!
As much as I love painting, I spend a lot of time drawing. To me, they go hand in hand. I sketch on location for my paintings as well as work from photographs. For the past ten years, I’ve also been part of a sketch group that gets together weekly to draw a live model. It’s a great way to connect with fellow artists and exchange ideas.
Over the last few years, I’ve had some wonderful opportunities to have my watercolors featured on several Florida fine art show posters, t-shirts, marketing material and magazine covers. You can see the resulting products in the slideshow below.
M.Graham Watercolor Merchandise Award, Transparent Watercolor Society, 1999
Signature status, Florida Watercolor Society
Delray Beach Magazine, May/June 2013,
Palm Beach Illustrated, November 2003
“Sites to Behold”
Palm Beach Illustrated, December 2002
“For All It’s Worth”
Best of Watercolor, Painting Color
Rockport Publishers, 1997
Frank Webb, Frank Francese, Larry Gerber, Garri Katz, Don Andrews
University of Iowa BA in Journalism and Spanish language