Hobby fuels career choice for senior artist
Lakeland University senior Ellie Roe is a self-described perfectionist who values patience and dedication. Those traits are on full display in the artwork she is showing as part of her senior exhibit in the Bradley Gallery through March 12.
Roe’s style is primarily realism, but she also enjoys creating abstract paintings using impasto, a technique that involves laying paint on an area of the surface in very thick layers, usually thick enough that the brush or painting-knife strokes are visible. When dry, impasto provides texture; the paint appears to be coming out of the canvas.
“When it comes to landscapes, I enjoy using the impasto technique to bring out the natural beauty and textures of the scenes I’m recreating,” said Roe, who is a double major in studio art and psychology. “I have great admiration and interest in art history, so when I recreate a masterpiece from another it is with respect and admiration.”
Roe, who is from Plymouth, Wis., and graduated from Sheboygan Falls High School, said when she recreates oil paintings, she mimics the technique and style the original artist used as much as possible.
“The soft, smooth style that you see used in some of my oil paintings is accomplished by mixing paint thinner with the oil paint until the consistency is thin, yet still opaque when applied to the canvas,” said Roe, who has been selling her work through the website Etsy since 2014. “I typically work in small areas at a time with this technique because I blend everything so that no texture is present before moving on to a new section, and I pay extremely close attention to detail.
“I also like to use pastels for some of my pieces because I love the way the medium blends into the paper with my fingers. I primarily use earth tones for my paintings, and I strive to create paintings with harmonious color stories.”
In addition to recreations and landscapes, Roe also creates portraits in a variety of different mediums.
“I am greatly influenced by my experiences in the real world and what I see around me in my everyday life,” Roe said. “When I create portraits of people, I want them to look as realistic as possible. I try to capture their quirks, emotions and personality as best as I can so that the memory of them is forever encapsulated in my work.”
Driving it all is her quest for perfection and a close attention to detail, which has become a hallmark of her work.
“When people look at my art they can tell how much time and thought goes into every work of art I create, and they are surprised to see how many different styles and techniques I use,” Roe said. “My thought process is constantly changing during a painting depending on what technique, mood or style I want to use for a portrait or landscape.”
Painting is one of Roe’s hobbies, and she plans to channel her passions for art and psychology into graduate school as she works toward a career as a school counselor.
“I know that many children use art as a form of communication, and the creative process can be stress relieving for many students,” Roe said. “I plan on using my knowledge of art to inspire and help students during my time as a school counselor.”
Art is just one portion of Roe’s well-rounded Lakeland experience. She is in the Honors Program, qualified academically for the Dean’s List every semester and has been a NACC Scholar-Athlete Award winner each year.
She is a member of the Psi Chi International Honor Society in Psychology, the National Society of Leadership and Success, the Lakeland women’s tennis team, treasurer for the Psychology Club and was a member of the Phi Delta Omega Sorority.
She has previously won awards in the annual LU Student Art Exhibit, was a finalist in LU’s Sheboygan County Scholars competition and receives numerous scholarships.
In addition to being a student, Roe has worked at the Boys & Girls Club in Sheboygan as a youth development professional and she was an art department assistant at Lakeland.
Whatever happens post-graduation, Roe will always have her art, and she hopes to show her work in some local galleries.