Ellen

Click on the colorful side links to see Ellen paintings, hear her original music, read rhymes, and to visit her photos on facebook.

National Archives Interview A 2009 Canadian Archive, two hour interview containing Ellen's life story, especially pertaining to her spiritual journey, the arts, Dutch heritage and her immigration to Canada.

~Writeup from Art Gallery of Algoma show, 2013

Living on Lake Superior between Pancake and Lake Superior Provincial Parks provides me with unsurpassed historical, geological and weather encounters that yell and whisper: feeling, color, and sound.  One day, I was driving down Highway 17 and said, "I think I'll stay here for the rest of my life."  Why?  Beauty and nature transcend all human problems and activities, and prepares one for life and death.  Land speaks to me, and I want to listen.

Originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, I have been on a spiritual journey, doing many things with my life, including: being a grandmother, a bush cook for tree planters, housing Native walkers, teaching at all levels (history of humanities, music, art, piano, violin, design), social work with high risk families, church liturgist/musician, elected government official, sailing across the ocean on a 29' boat, performing music, touring Michigan schools, writing columns for local newspapers, and now running an "Arts and Adventure" retreat on the shores of Lake Superior.

I am a very tactile and self-disciplined person.  I relate to painting and land as if I'm in a conversation.  Call that crazy if you'd like, but to me it's sanity.  My mind and body don't feel healthy if I'm not painting, singing, gardening, walking, writing, or playing an instrument. I am a creativity addict.  Lake Superior provides my inspiration.  I was lucky to go to a private school where we had art and music every day.

My father had what I would call "beauty attacks", and would swoon in places of great natural beauty, or perhaps while listening to music.  I'd be right beside him, stating that I was going to find the most beautiful place in the world and live there.  I FOUND IT!  He would take us on long summer camping trips to National Parks, art galleries, cathedrals, and the ruins of the world.  He'd collect the Art History syllabuses from each area college, and then take us to see each original painting. We twice bought VW camper bus's in Germany and the shipped them home to pay for our trips.  We weren't wealthy (but my parents did buy a Baldwin Grand piano before they bought a house.  I'd always bring this up to them if they suggested I wasn't managing money properly).  They would constantly say, "We can't eat out, drink pop, or have steak.  If we do, we can't go to Europe!"  Passion and priorities?  Oh yes.  

Ellen has a Master of Arts, Central Michigan University, 1994