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Ellen Gaube

Nature has always been my environment. My favorite childhood toys were flowers, rocks and sticks; my favorite tools a pencil and paper. This holds true today as I collect subject matter physically and with a camera on my rural property and hikes through conservation land. I consider myself a botanical artist through my documentation of natural forms in all stages of growth and decomposition.

Drawing is my great love. The materials are simple. My son presented me with a piece of bittersweet-wrapped wild cherry commenting “I thought you’d like to draw this.” That was the beginning of a body of work documenting the invasive, sinuous and dangerous beauty of Celastrus orbiculatus, Oriental bittersweet. I love drawing curves. I’m continuing new work illustrating curly willow, Corylus Avellana contorta and wild mountain laurel, Kalmia latifolia.

Although my photographic images are abstracted through digital manipulation, their source is always the natural world of plants, insects, rock and water usually from my immediate environment. I manipulate color and shape with digital filters that allow a great deal of "plasticity" to happen, often with results that are more robust, textured and complex than the source images. I work hard to maintain a sense of organic naturalness despite the obvious conceptual results. The images have a familiarity and yet a newness resulting from shifts in color, line and form.

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