Ellen Sereda

acrylic, ink, pencil and thread on paper

I almost feel redundant posting this here. I think the 4 out of 5 people who read this sorely neglected blog have already seen this piece posted on my facebook. But I really like how this turned out.

I think I’ve exhausted using my kids as models.  I’m meeting a friend tomorrow who is posing for me.   I’ve had my own issues with using friends in artwork before because I find myself  getting wrapped up in their own anxieties about their appearance and I let their personality influence the art too much. In the end,  all I make are exceptionally boring portraits. When I use my kids in my artwork I see them as vehicles for an idea I want to convey, not a portrait of them. And kids are far less self conscious, they’re not worried about the sags, wrinkles, fatty rolls that might show up, they just see posing as play. I’ve decided to approach my friends the same way from now on.  Letting go of the traditional portrait idea has gotten me really inspired about what the end results may be.  For better or worse, I think tomorrow my incredibly down to earth friend is going to end up surrealistically glam.

Speaking of unusual portraits, you can go here, upload a photo and transform yourself into a Modigliani or an ape or a manga character. Yep, bit of a time waster. Here’s a little montage I did, the man one freaks me out the most for some reason:



Illustration Friday - Contagious

This week’s Illustration Friday is Contagious. I had every intention of doing something upbeat, like the contagion of great ideas, but instead just quickly doodled this tonight with whatever came to mind. I also was too lazy to gather my art supplies so I drew this with my kid’s art supplies they had lying around – pen, pencil and crayon, then smeared in a little digital black after scanning it.

I asked people on Facebook what was their favorite light reading book they’d read over and over again. I’ve decided to read the books from everyone’s answers. The first answer I got was Stephen King’s The Stand. How fitting for this weeks IF theme since The Stand is all about man made plague and apocalypse. And certainly a little plague, with an added dose of mutation crept in my drawing today.

Anyone else have any suggestions for favorite books they’d read over and over again?

The cat had to go…

This is Emma, she’s in my extended family. When I asked to take some photos of her a few months back, I asked her not to smile. Toothy grins just look goofy in art. She’s probably one of the most warmest people I know, so this portrait seems a bit out of character, yet I still really like it. This is what it looked like before, yep, the cat just had to go…


Not always what it seems..


I did this piece yesterday, the drawn birds pop out from the background.  As I was looking for something to collage in the background, I abandoned the pretty paper I had lined up. I couldn’t resist the urge to use an article from a 2006 issue of  Harper’s Magazine entitled, “American Gulag”. It’s  about Guantanamo. Suddenly my quaint bird picture gained a little more substance, even if only to me or to those who read the fine print off the flowers.

Messing about


“It’s simple, you just take something and do something to it, and do something else to it. Keep doing this and pretty soon you’ve got something.” Jasper Johns.

I love this quote.  It strips art of  much of it’s pretentiousness. Art made simple. Art = you have an idea, go manipulate materials and try to make it happen OR just manipulate materials and SEE what happens.

I’m about halfway through Jasper Johns quote with this one. I had about two and a half hours to fill while my daughters and their friends swam in the community pool yesterday.  I doodled, among my drawings was this bird and the (whateveritis?) birdhouse/lock. I have new gray and black mica embedded paint which I love and layered on an art board when I got home from the pool.  The glare is the glitter of the gray mica  peeking through the scratched out doodle.  It’s actually really pretty (the glitter anyway).

I know this piece isn’t that successful. I’ve been struggling with sorting out big assemblages and hitting my limitations and learning curves every step of the way.  Stopping everything and just working on something simple, like this little piece helped my anxiety, as does watching this song from the Discovery Channel. Who cares if my attempt at assemblages isn’t working out at the moment, the world is still so awesome! “Boom De Ya Da”.




Ellen Sereda

Acrylic on cradled wood panel


This isn’t the greatest photo, the paint is still wet and there’s a glare.  I’ve been yearning (actually fondling them at the electronics store) for a digital SLR camera and I realize it might be a necessity if I want to take good photos of my artwork.

I started this painting a few months back and finally got back to finishing it. I like it but I prefer the thumbnails I did of it more.  Having an image of the final piece in my mind, of something more powerful, more engaging is a bit of a bummer when it doesn’t translate with the same intensity in reality. Perhaps it could have a lot to do with the flush of an initial idea that you loved, then getting time away from the idea your enthusiasm wanes a bit and you become more pragmatic. That is so much of the creative process – excitement, the busyness of starting to work out an idea,   than  a little bit of work and drudgery, then objectivity and doubt, then more work, then enthusiasm again, completion, satisfaction or dissatisfaction.  Then onto the next idea.

"The Forest Garden"

"The Forest Garden"

A page for the traveling sketchbook. This one is for Dinah.  It’s made with pen and coloured pencil.  I drew the flowers with my new hypotrochoid art set (otherwise known as a spirograph).  I never had one as a kid and desperately wanted one, so 30 odd years later I finally bought one and Ican’t stop playing with it. Who says you can’t go back and be a kid again.