Sunday, February 28, 2016

Turn Back The Pages - Artist Ellie Bogardus in the News

My wife has been caring for my dad in his home for the past four months - my mom moved to assisted living in November. While going through some of my mom's things still in the house, Jan came across a newspaper article about Ellie Bogardus in the Cambrian dated August 18, 1983. Like Ellie's paintings, the text in the local paper was bright and descriptive, and biographic - tells a story about the artist, much like her paintings. The writer, Shirley Howell, is mentioned as an alumnus of the paper in an article this past summer about the Cambrian moving office locations. Whether Howell is one of the youngish staff shown in this photograph, I don't know, but this picture also gives a feeling of fanciful playfulness, like an Ellie painting.
The Cambrian staff in the 1970's
But of greater interest to me is the cross-referencing of Bogardus's painting The Streaker in the news article, that it was on display at the Cambria Coast Gallery (a photograph of the piece is found in an earlier post), as well as mention of another work, Somewhere Over the Rainbow, that is captioned by Howell: "...a typical part crowd which includes a banker and his wife, a retired actor, a gossip columnist and others." The article mentions Ellie having done a European tour in the 1960's. I was a gentleman in Italy who came across my my blog and furnished me the photograph of The Streaker - his brother had received the painting from Ellie when he visited her in 1982 (perhaps the memory of dates was slightly off since the painting was on display in 1983).

Shown in the newspaper article is photograph of the artist in her studio - the only one I have seen of her working at her craft.
Bogardus at work in her studio
Also, a copy of news photo of Ellie with her painting Somewhere Over the Rainbow.
Artist with her painting
The Cambrian, August 18, 1983 – Page 13
Life’s episodes on canvas
Ellie’s paintings depict fat cats, dancing friends and more…

Story and photos by Shirley Howell

Ellie Bogardus pulls her acrylic painting right out of life’s most impressionable episodes.
Plucked from daily experiences in the kitchen or in her garden, with fat cats, dancing friends, at gourmet picnics or parties, her characters burst from the canvas in bold, simple designs and electrifying purples, oranges, reds, blues and greens.
Each with a story to tell, the images convey Ellie’s excitement with life.
“I’m just a born wacko – that’s all!” the Park Hill artist explained with a subtle smile. With a tongue-in-cheek, child-like quality evident, Ellie appears to relish the idea of unfolding a story.
“They’re like my children,” she said. “They’re something that come from me. And they do have a story behind them.”
One enormous painting call “The Streaker,” currently on exhibit at the Cambria Coast Gallery, paints the story of a naked man about to job through a park full of people. The viewer observes that, upon his jaunt down the winding path, the streaker will encounter a nun with some children, three old men, a woman eating a sandwich, a mother pushing a baby stroller and more, with a good possibility that he may upset all of them.
Another painting, depicting a sleeping cat (a favorite subject), a burning table lamp and a bird stepping out of a cage in the background, is aptly named “Impending Disaster.”
“You know something is going to happen,” Ellie says with a twinkle in her eyes.
A native of Long Beach, Ellie attended Chouinard Art School in Lost Angeles and has a long list of illustration credits, including the designing of background for the animated “Fractured Fairy Tales” and “Crusader Rabbit” and more recent Charlie Brown specials.
Following a six-month world tour during the 1960”s, Ellie settled in Paris, where she designed several award-winnings films for Les Cinemastes.
Although she insists that other artists have not influenced her work and that she has never had to “search around to find a style,” Ellie became familiar with the work of Henri Matisse after friends pointed out the resemblance between her work and the impressionist painter’s.
“I did some research one day and found out that he was born in Cateau, France, and didn’t live far from a town called Cambrai,” she disclosed. “And he also died the same year I went into school. I thought that was sort of strange – I don’t know if there is such a thing as split souls.”
When Ellie is not working in her enormous seaside garden or concocting a gourmet meal with husband Mike (lovingly portrayed as a pleasantly-plump television watcher in her painting, “The Man, His Dog and His Woman”), she is creating detailed backdrops for Garfield the cat and his friends to [gallivant] about in their upcoming movie.
The artist also has ready for publishing two children’s books and a gourmet cookbook that she has written and illustrated.
Several of Ellie’s painting will be included in “Creatures – Wild and Otherwise,” a show opening on Saturday at the Cambria Coast Gallery. A wine and cheese reception for the show will be held from 4-7 p.m. (The public is invited).

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