Ellen Van Treuren

Fort Worth, Texas; United States

Mediums: I most enjoy working in oil on canvas. I would like to learn to watercolor as well.

Style: My style of painting can be described as loose realism. While I’m working, I choose to make certain aspects detailed, while other parts are very loose. I tend to be more detailed with my portraiture and less detailed with landscapes and plein air painting.

Favorite Quote: One quote I really like is by Edgar Degas: “Art is not what you see, but what you make others see.” This helps me to remember that I can use my artistic license to make a painting what I want it to be.

Favorite Book: My favorite art book is probably Art: Over 2,500 Works from Cave to Contemporary by Andrew Graham-Dixon. I use it a lot when I am preparing art lessons for my students. One of my favorite books of the Bible is Psalms. There is so much imagery and emotion-lots of painting inspiration!

Favorite Movie:  There are so many movies I love! Megamind is on top movies list for sure.



Little Friendlies
© Ellen Van Treuren
Oil on canvas

This painting was done from a photo I took at the Dallas Arboretum during Dallas Blooms during the spring.


I am a Texas native and currently reside in Fort Worth. I have always been involved in creating artwork, growing up taking art classes. My passion for painting was ignited while earning a B.F.A. in Studio Art at the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. My chosen medium is oil paint and my work is defined by bright colors and strong texture. While I paint mostly from my home studio, I also periodically paint en plein air. Beauty inspires me so I paint a lot of natural scenes. I also paint still lifes, portraits and abstracts. I hope that the viewers of my work see the glory of the Lord our Creator and experience joy and peace.


Please tell us about your first experience creating.

I've been creating since I was a child. Some of my happiest moments growing up were those spent in the middle of the floor of my room or garage working on an art project while listening to my favorite audio series or watching my favorite TV show. I took drawing and sculpture classes during elementary, middle and high school. It wasn’t until I went to college that I found my love for oil painting.


What music do you like to have playing while creating art?

My playlist is all over the musical genre map! I have pop, classical, oldies, classic rock, and more. Some great painting music is the soundtrack from How to Train Your Dragon. I also love to listen to audio books or sermons while I work.



Lighted Pines
© Ellen Van Treuren
Oil on canvas

This painting was done en plein air in Monument, Colorado during the summer. The contrast of the shadows and sunlight on the trees was an amazing thing to see!


If you have a job besides being an artist, can you tell us about it?

I teach art and Spanish part-time to home school kids as my “day job.” For those of you who don’t know much about home schooling, there are co-ops where students come once or twice a week to take classes from teachers with specialties. I teach every age group! My youngest class is a pre-k art class and my oldest is a high school Spanish class. I think that I get more excited about the art projects than my students do! I love to look up different artists and learn the history behind a project before teaching it.


What are you trying to convey to viewers through your art?

I hope that in anything I do I direct viewers, friends, family to the Lord. He is the author of all good things and all creation is an echo of His majesty.

There are so many hard, sad, ugly things in the world, so I want my viewers to feel refreshed when they see my work. I hope they find joy and happiness in the colors, movement and content.


Tell us about your creative process, from the beginning of a typical piece to its completion:

My process really depends on how I’m feeling and what I’m painting. Sometimes I tone a background and sometimes I leave it white. Other times, I block in pieces and finish details another time, and sometimes I complete a painting in one day.


What things inspire you to create art?

Beautiful, colorful things inspire me! That’s why most of my work has very bright colors.



Merry Yellows
© Ellen Van Treuren
Oil on canvas

This painting was done from a photo I took of some gorgeous sunflowers in a beautiful blue vase I bought for my mother. Before I gave them to her, I took plenty of photos to use for paintings.


What exhibitions have you had?

I have been in several exhibitions during my undergraduate career, including a required senior exhibition. Recently, I have been included in three shows at the Fort Worth Community Arts Center.

Also, I had a booth at The Granbury Festival of the Arts in October 2013.

You can see my full show list on my website in my resume section.


Have you sold any of your artworks? How?

I sold a couple small pieces in The Granbury Festival of the Arts. I have also sold postcards and prints of my work through Facebook.


How do you promote your art on the internet?

I have my own website (www.ellenvantreuren.com) where I blog and have an online portfolio. I also use my Facebook Page Ellen Van Treuren Artworks where I post progress shots, completed work and other fun artsy things. I have recently started an Etsy shop (EllenVTArtist) and am hoping to dedicate some time to developing it in the near future.



T&K Engagement
© Ellen Van Treuren
Oil on canvas

This is a painting I did of an engagement photo of one of my best friends from college. I was so excited that they decided to display it at their reception. It was fun to watch people walk over and look at it.


Tell us about influences

If you look on my art board on Pinterest, you can see that I am attracted to many different types of artwork. I don’t know that there is any specific artist or movement that directly influences me, but I am influenced by artists with strong mark making like Van Gogh.


Please recommend another artist you admire, and tell us a little about them:

There are so many great artists I follow on Facebook and Instagram and it’s hard to pick just one! Julie Dumbarton is a Scottish painter I admire. Not only is her work beautiful, but I think she seems like a very nice person. One time I sent her a message asking a question and she responded to me. As an emerging artist, it was so encouraging that a full-time artist took the time to respond and help me.

I also admire the work of Jennifer Cavan who is an artist based in New Mexico. Her pastel work is vibrant and expressive. I enjoy visiting her booth in various art festivals around Texas.


Tell us something interesting in your life.

I was really excited to be awarded honorable mention in two student shows in college as well the Austin-Burks Award for Outstanding Art Student my senior year of college. I was able to go on two study abroad trips during college. One was to Querétaro, Mexico, for four weeks, and another was a two-week trip to Italy. There I saw many incredible works of art. I was blown away by the church ceilings and moved by Bernini’s sculpture Apollo and Daphne.



© Ellen Van Treuren
Oil on canvas

This painting was done from a photo. I love the way the blue and yellow work together to create this vibrant painting.


Do you have an embarrassing moment in your life?

One embarrassing moment I had when I was a lot younger was getting called out for talking in Sunday School. I wasn’t used to getting in trouble a lot so I was pretty upset about it.


If you could live your life over again, would there be anything you would do differently?

I wish that I read more and paid more attention in my Art History II class my freshman year. I am fascinated by art history, but I hardly ever find the time to read about it.


What plans do you have for the future of your art?

I hope to get my Etsy shop up and running this year and to be accepted into more art festivals, hopefully around the country! I would like to experiment with painting in a more impressionistic manner, forgoing so much detail and using more physical and color expression. I hope to do more painting from life rather than photos going forward as well.


Do you have any good advice for emerging artists?

ellen-van-treuren As an emerging artist myself, I have found that joining the Texas Artist Coalition based in Fort Worth has really helped me. They send a monthly email with artist opportunities, workshops and other information for local artists. Find a group near you and join!


Ellen Van Treuren

Fort Worth, Texas; United States


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