Ellen Burgin

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(415) 828-9340


A painting begins long before I put my brush to canvas. Images and ideas float around and take shape in my sketch book in the form of notes and drawings which often influence the direction of a current piece or function as notes for follow-up research. My painting process occurs in a similar fashion with each days shapes and colors informing the next day’s work. I prefer to paint on paper. One of my favorite ways to start painting is to cut four pieces of paper into 4 feet x 4 squares. I stack two pieces of paper on top and two on the bottom to make an 8 x 8 foot square unit. As I work, the papers get shuffled around and turned upside down. As they develop, I pull them apart and finish them individually. The final images surface after months of working and reworking the painting and are influenced by many different inspirations. Migraines with Auras are my current obsession as well as vintage Russian textiles, haute couture, medical and scientific illustrations and other bits of everyday detritus. Most paintings have multiple finished images lurking underneath the final image. While the paintings coalesce into forms on the edge of recognition, they are as much about the process as they are about the images that remain.