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Memorial to a Big Brother

December 11th, 2014

Holland Lake Lodge by Mary Ellen Anderson

On Labor Day 2014 my big brother, Bob, passed away. Bob was an avid outdoors man and loved nature. These are a collection of works I did while visiting or traveling with Bob over the years; a wonderful friend and brother.

Mary Ellen Anderson

Online Gallery – Originals, Commission, and Artist’s Prints
POD Online Gallery – Giclee, Acrylic, Metal and Fine Art Prints.

I was actually stranded when this painting was painted as a tree had broken under the weight of snow and killed my car.

Rusty a Hunting Dog by Mary Ellen Anderson’ title=

    Bob loved his dogs and the sentiment was returned.

Gayle Highway by Mary Ellen Anderson’ title=

Road trips with my siblings, good times.


    Colorful Colorado, where the love for nature began.


A deer Christmas card for a Dear brother.       


View from apartment we shared in Lawrence, Kansas while in college.

Sunset Over Serenity Lake by Mary Ellen Anderson’ title=

Float and Fishing Trips.

Mountain Island Sanctuary by Mary Ellen Anderson’ title=’Mountain Island Sanctuary by Mary Ellen Anderson

Hiking trips.

Thanks, Bob. You were a wonderful guide. Love, Mary.

WIP Oil Painting - When things go seriously wrong.

December 11th, 2014

What do you do if what you were painting suddenly disappears?

Online Gallery – Originals, Commission, and Artist’s Prints
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I’m just getting back to a project that got interrupted this year with personal tragedy (See Memorial to a Brother), called ‘Different Views’. My daughter had texted me this cell image of her at the lake with her now ex-boyfriend’s dog which inspired this project.

I started wondering about what each of them were thinking looking at the same world. So I decided to do a piece around how friendship bonds overcome our different view for the companionship of each other. I loved the expressions and pose of the girl and the dog, like the fingers curled into the dog’s fur to remind the dog not to get carried away with her dream of chasing the ducks.

Because the piece was going to be about thoughts and the scenes are completely different (yet connected) I decided to do the work as a quadriptych (4-painting set). The first scene would be based on the photo and friendship. The second would be the girl’s view of a romantic sunset. The 3rd would be the dog’s wish to chase the ducks on the lake, and the 4th is the hunting dog owner’s dream of his perfect dog retrieving a duck.

I had completed the basics of the first 3 painting when my daughter broke-up and I lost my dog model. So my early efforts on the 4th painting were just sad - lol. A model change was require, so the Kat's actual best friend ‘Minnie’ takes the stage. Only problem is Minnie is a totally different breed, size, sex, and coloring. So what do I do about a different dog in the first 3 paintings? I had left this problem on hold while I caught the 4th painting up to the same developmental level as the first 3.

Photography PrintsArt Prints

However, after living with this on the easel for almost a year then I’m leaning towards not changing the dogs. One, because the pose and expression of the initial photo was the inspiration for the piece, but also because each painting is suppose to be a different dream. The theme and title of the 4th painting is, Hunter’s Pride; the dog owner’s dream where their actual mutt is a champion specimen with incredible training and talent; which Minnie certainly is. But what convinces me to stay with different dogs is the ‘lost dream’ element it brings the piece that mirrors this and all reality. How easily our dreams slip away. “Hunter’s Pride” represents a future lost, not just a lost dream.

However, not changing the dogs isn't going to save me painting time, as I now need to connect these pieces together while not weakening their strength as individual pieces. I want an overall landscape or mural effect, without losing the concept that the scenes are not physically related (happening next to each other) but thought related. But first a bit more work on the individual pieces, that have to stand on their own as well as combing into the quadriptych.

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Click on image for larger view. This is as close as can come to with showing how pieces will display together. There is space between the center stacked painting so follows land and horizon lines.

So this catches you up to date on where I am on this project. I've got these prop up for a few weeks while I get through the Christmas obligations and study how to approach this finish. Welcome any feedback.

Come back for updates in 2015, or subscribe.

Mary Ellen Anderson

How to create story or historical art.

July 29th, 2013

How to create story or historical art.

Occasionally then I do story paintings. In this case the eyewitness account by my ancestors of Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, KS on August 21, 1863 during the American Civil War that became known as Bleeding Kansas.


Photography Prints
Conceptualizing a scene you've never witnessed is a challenge. Finding that single iconic image that will incorporate the event. I start very similarly to a writer in that I start putting together a visual outline of my story. I list or sketch out the characters, location, date, etc. that I know about the event. It is from these sketches that I determine perspective (view), size of canvas, and importance of elements in the painting.

background - Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, KS on August 21, 1863. This event became part of "Bleeding Kansas" which triggered the American Civil War. This painting is the rendering of my ancestors eye-witness account of the raid. Although to young to fight the boy is drafted by the local freight wagon driver to leave his boyhood behind and take over the duties of delivering the freight so the driver can help and fight his neighbors in this guerrilla war. The deep ideological differences that erupted in violence on this day and split the nation still exist in the people today.

In this sketch you can see the wagon and people, Lawrence, KS in the background, etc. This sketch will mean little to anyone but the artist, but it really is critical in keeping your focused on your vision.

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References like this map of Lawrence, KS in 1869 are very helpful. This is close to the view of Lawrence I used. I want to be historically accurate as possible for this paint. This event took place at dawn, at specific location. Landmarks in existence today will be different then in 1863. What did the clothing, vehicles, landscape look like. What technology wasn't invented yet, like barbed-wire, metal buckets, guns, etc. There is little photographic records of this event and period. Paintings and drawings are interpretations, and are not necessarily accurate. The more research you do the more richer both the painting and your artistic experience.

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Starting with a blank canvas I just place and size my sketches in accordance with the image in my head. Perspective is my focus. Get everything to fit on the canvas with some plan to compensate for required disproportionality (sometime you intend to make things bigger than life). As I develop individual elements I have to pose them in relation to the viewer's perspective, but at this time I'm just fine with stick-figures and area outlines. It's critical that you transfer your planned perspective.

Photography Prints

Now that I have the basics of my story (raid, kid, fright driver),I start developing elements. Artwise the sky is the most important single element in my painting because it will establish my color palette and establish my light source. The sky is the interactive artistic element that unites the story elements in the painting. It will unite the scene; the background clouds, the middle ground smoke, and the foreground tree are all in the same sky. The sky is revisited later in the creation process as it creates the mood and drama of the painting. But at this time my colors are anything that is close in the box. I work on the unity first and then colors. In this painting sky is also an important story element as the raid happened at dawn.

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Telling the Story

After I've placed my horizon and my basic characters, then I start adding outlines of elements that I need to tell my story. Why are the characters there and what are they doing? I don't worry about colors, detail, pose, or anything else but composition placement. At this point most paintings (including this one) start taking on their own personalities; how you imagined it would look is different than it does. It's this painting personality that ends up determining my other mechanics: color, pose, etc.

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At this point than most of my story elements are incorporated and I start thinking about light. Light is essential in my painting (or any painting)to establish mood and drama. I want an epic feel to this painting. Color mixing is an art in itself. Color and light are normally developed in overlays of glazes and paint. Color, light and mood foundations are started here but will be continually developed as the painting progresses.

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We have establish the story elements but now we have to pose them. How are the characters in my painting able to convey action and reaction? This is a detail of my original compilation sketch; how the element would look to the paintings viewer. In this sketch then the figures are climbing into the wagon. By the time I was working on canvas (see pose 2) I had already changed the positions of the figures. Eventually then the pose of the figures also changes in order to focus the story. I want to portray more defense than aggression, so I lowered the driver's arm and changed his pose. The boy is barefoot and doing chores (youth and naivety). As I research costume then figures will change; I have the antique shotgun that research shows is more likely the driver carried to use as a model, rather then a sword. Pose is determined both by the viewers perspective but also the required communication with the action of the story (get your faces looking where they should).

Photography Prints

I've added elements to enhance the story. A dropped bucket of chicken feed tells why the boy was there and portrays the change in life (chores are abandoned for adult work). Likewise the driver is laying down his whip and taking up arms. As you fill in elements in historical work then you need to research each element you add. Barbed wire fencing was not yet available, horse tack, landmarks, clothing, tools, weapons, etc. will all need to be research.

At this point then I'm about 1/3 the way through the painting process. The story line, scene, light, etc. are all established and just need to be developed. But you should now have a good idea of where I'm trying to go with this painting. It's still too early to see if I can pull off the image I'm trying for, but check back for updates.

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Update1 - Shadows

Pose and shadow work to emphasize dawns streaking light and bring eye-movement and a sense of action into painting. Color and detail is developing in overlays. Light is used to highlight abandoned chores and figures.

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Scenes within scenes, detail. Detail is built in layers. Here you can see I have started adding fine detail like expression, and costume detail to my figures. Have started adding a tarp to wagon and changed the sword into a shotgun (or will be, takes a few layers). Details add interest and story to painting.

Art Prints
Detail2 - Lawrence Burning

Continuing to work on my details; here the burning of the city of Lawrence, I intentionally use different disciplines in my sub-scenes to more closely interact like natural sight. Here an abstract of the burning city allows detail to be created by the viewer, while still appearing impressionistic in the overall painting.

The realistic foreground is countered against the abstract with impressionistic work. Disciplines are mixed to give maximum utilization of the painting to provide different views (sub-pictures), eye-movement, and natural perspective.

In the impressionistic middle-ground, then known landmarks of the period are added; the planning for the University of Kansas (scaffolded building), the windmill, Railroad bridge, Ferry, Plymouth Congregational Church, chalk quarry and other geography of the area.

Art Prints

Mood and Drama
An overall view of the details so far. Lot's more detail to finish but I'm now shifting my focus to mood and drama. When developing details I focus more on developing the mood, and drama of the scene and in getting the elements to look seated, then I do on tiny detail. I can't get an overall epic proportionality of the event if I rely only on impossible to see detail to tell my story. Even if the paintings viewer can't see the expression on the drivers face or bodies of people in the town from a distance, I still want them to have the overall impact first. Details fill out the painting and reward interested views, but are just intended to be the lyrics not the melody of the painting.

The Finish: This isn't my HR scan (still waiting for paint to dry) but thought I'd add title and descriptions that will be on original.

Title: Bleeding Kansas - A life and Nation Changing Event
Oil on Canvas, 28" x 34" (unframed)
Artist: Mary Ellen Anderson
Original and Prints available for sale Online Gallery

This painting is inspired from the oral history that has been passed down in my family of my ancestor's eyewitness account of Quantrill's Raid on Lawrence, Kansas during the American Civil War. I have endeavored to be as geographically and historically accurate as possible, while still taking the necessary artistic license to tell the story.

Photography Prints
At dawn on August 21, 1863, 12 year old David Anderson's life and world changed forever when war came to his home, just outside of Lawrence, Kansas. Although too young to fight in the guerrilla war that became known as "Bleeding Kansas", David was drafted by the local freight man to take over his delivery route, so that the driver could fight in this war of neighbor against neighbor.

Leaving his childhood behind, David climbed into the freight wagon and in an actual 'rites of passage' successfully delivered his cargo to Salt Lake City, Utah. This triumphant arrival occurred just as the local Methodists minister's daughter was crossing the street and young David was immediately smitten. Her name was Rose and David called her his "Rose of the Valley". One thing leads to another and the former Irish Catholic boy returned home a man, with a new career (freight driver), a new bride and a new religion, changing forever not only his life but the lives of all his descendants including myself.

War changes all of us forever but rarely in the way we expect. Ideological differences that you assume war will settle still exist today and are even compounded by the scars of events like this raid. But inevitably in war boyhoods are lost, and futures are changed forever.

--Mary Ellen Anderson

WIP fb gallery on this painting:

What is Giclee? What makes it a Fine Art Print?

May 20th, 2013

What is Giclee? What makes it a Fine Art Print?

Giclee Prints

What is GICLEE? What makes it a Fine Art Print?

Giclee – pronounced (zhee-klay) - The French word ’giclée’ means a ‘spray’ or a ‘spurt of liquid.’ Giclée is a process not a brand or a product. When a print is created using the Giclée process, it is most often referred to as a Giclée print.

What is a Giclée Print?
The term "Giclée print" represents a modern advanced elevation in printmaking technology. Images are generated from the highest resolution digital scans possible and printed with archival quality inks onto various high quality substrates including canvas, fine art, and photo-base paper. The Giclee printing process provides a higher degree of color accuracy than any other means of art print creations.

The prints that results from the Giclée process are considered reproductions if there is a traditional fine art original (oil, acrylic, pencil, pastel painting or drawing) that was digitally captured, thus creating the original digital master file. The colors are rich, seamless and amazingly vivid. The archival inks, papers and practices allow them to last for generations. This will allow you to pass them down generation after generation to your contemporary art admirers. Giclee prints will exceed your expectations in quality, color and presentation.

Giclese are not mass edition reproductions such as a quality lithograph that easily runs into the tens of thousands and posters (usually cheaper paper and ink are used). The owners of open and limited edition Giclée original reproductions, know that they have the highest quality reproduction possible. They are almost indistinguishable from the original and with proper care will last for generations.

Giclee is an exciting new medium for both artists and art print buyers because it has unparalleled quality, longevity and the much sought after desirability of custom art printing.

The Giclee Process

Giclée is a process that results in a print that is called a Giclée art print. It is a new type of original that is reproduced on-demand from a master digital image file that is the digital scanned version of an original piece of art. The art is scanned, digitized, and color proofed with systems that are tightly calibrated to create true fine art print representation of the originals, all under the original artist’s supervision.

Professional grade large format printers are used with archival pigment inks. This printing method results in an extensive color gamut allowing the prints true colors to be representation. They look stunning and will last for years. Whether you choose giclee prints on paper substrates or canvas, the quality remains outstanding. Just like the ones found in art galleries & art museums.

A Giclee Print is simply the closest replication of original artwork that is currently possible. The result is brilliant, eye-catching prints that you’ll enjoy viewing every day in your home or office with your family, friends, employees and colleagues. Your art will be admired by everyone who sees it and you’ll feel good that you made a smart decision, buying quality art prints at an affordable price.

Giclee Advantages

Fine Art

These fine art reproductions are no ordinary pieces and make exceptional gifts. Giclee art reproductions are the closest prints possible of the original art and also the most affordable way to own and collect fine art. Fine art is a sharing of the human experience. Art is very personal, moving and memorable. These fine art prints will make you or the recipient feel like they are the most important person in the world. You'll be remembered for giving a personal gift unlike any other. Just think how great it will feel every time you or they proudly show off their unique gift to their friends and family.


Another tremendous advantage of Giclee printing is that they can be custom printed in many different sizes and onto various paper or canvas substrates, while maintaining the highest quality. This gives the artist and art print buyer the ability to customize prints for their own specific needs and desires. What all of us want is to have a wide selection available and choose our own configuration of an art print. We want quality art prints that are affordable. We can choose exactly what we want, without being limited to size and type of art in stock at stores and gallery.

Giclee Longevity

What distinguishes Giclees from other print methods is that much attention is paid to using archival materials and practices. Now Giclee prints can be created using pigmented inks and papers developed specifically for fine art prints. With this in mind, giclee that are properly cared for can last a lifetime or more.

Collectable - Giclee’s in Museums, Galleries, Famous Artists

Giclee prints are widely accepted at many museums and galleries. Many museums in the United States and abroad have mounted exhibitions of Giclée prints or purchased prints in their permanent collections. Those include the Metropolitan Museum of Art (New York), the Guggenheim (New York), The Museum of Fine Art (Boston), The Philadelphia Museum, and The Smithsonian Institute.
Many distinguished photographers and artists, produce works that are Giclee art prints. There have been recent auctions of Giclee prints that have fetched tens of thousands of dollars.

Why are our Giclees better?

Because of our product

Mary Ellen Anderson Fine Art prints are produced using the latest technology under the artist's supervision and simply astound our clients. Is it the original or only a print? These prints are made from superior Giclee technology, and creates reproductions heretofore not thought possible. Look, touch, see for yourself. Thanks to this new production technology, we can produce domestically a better product at a better price then our Asian competition. Seeing is believing.

Because we use only the best materials available

We use only top quality materials all made in America. No inexpensive, under performing materials from China.

-Archival poly-cotton canvas and paper

Created on high quality artist’s canvas our canvas prints can be mounted with a gallery or museum wrap that can be hung on the wall with no frame or you can have it produced with the intent to frame.

-Pigmented inks

Our prints are made using aqueous pigmented inks rated at 200 years.

We don't use solvent inks for they emit harmful VOC (volatile organic compounds) into the air that may be harmful to your health.

-Superior coating

We offer only one coating surface which is somewhere between gloss and semi-gloss. In our opinion it is the surface that offers the best saturation and contrast but without the drawbacks of high gloss. It is enhanced UV, water and abrasion resistant. A machine is used to coat the canvas.

Gallery Opening Smash Success

March 12th, 2013

Thanks to everyone for stopping by and making our gallery opening such a wonderful success. It was truly an honor to be able to show you all our new art. Here is a picture Cindi took of Addy (my 5 mo. old German Shepherd) and me at the opening. Since we were serving hotdog, Addy had a particularly good time.

Special thanks to my fellow exhibiting artists: Kathy Brecheisen, Lynne Wright, Doreta Boyd, Don Wright, and Talya Johnson. We are getting new and exciting works in everyday from these exceptional artist. Please follow us on here and facebook, it helps us get seen.

Card - Flowers of Light
Card - Flowers of Light by RealisticOilPainting
Add your photos and text to blank greeting cards at Zazzle

Spring flowers and a touch of the nostalgic shine in this painting by Mary Ellen Anderson. Available as greeting cards, that will add elegance to any Easter basket or Spring greeting. These and other unique cards and gifts are in stock now at:

Mary Ellen Anderson Fine Art

(Inside Anderson Rentals Building)

1312 W. 6th. Street

Lawrence, Ks. 66044

Gallery Website

Gallery Opening

March 4th, 2013

Mary Ellen Anderson Fine Art is more a personal shopper service for fine art than a traditional gallery. The internet has made the availability of fine art limitless, but SEO has made that availability a joke. No matter whether you’re looking for a painting or that perfect card, we specialize in finding that unique perfect match for you. We have scoured the net for the best-of-the-best, and we really can find exactly what you’re looking for.

Make custom gifts at Zazzle

Mary Ellen Anderson is a real person with a half-century career in fine art. Our featured artists are personal choices representing some of the best contemporary (living) artist in the world. We offer a more personalized relationship with both our clients and artists. We strive to understand your fine art needs and match you with artists that specialize in those areas. Whether you are a collector, decorator, or just looking for that signature logo or gift idea we represent both established and emerging artist in all disciplines and medium. Abstract or realistic, painting or sculpture, local or international, we represent exceptional artist for all your fine art needs.

Personal contact with our artists is available through our social media and well as personal appearances, commission and consulting work. Art is so much richer if you feel a connection with the artist. Commissioned specialties include Estate Painting by Michael Swanson, Portraiture by Talya Johnson, and local artist Lynne Wright and Mary Ellen Anderson.

Picking art is harder than it looks, but especially challenging over the internet. Being actually able to see originals vs. prints in different configurations eliminates the guesswork. Experts can help you avoid the frustrations of printing mistakes, decorating blunders, poor quality products, and internet scams.

Need a last minute gift? In stock, many of our most popular artist prints and merchandise are in stock and available for personalized gift delivery. Our artist designed merchandise is unique and often with customization and personalizing available. In addition we offer expedited service on many products, all with 100% satisfaction guarantee.

Big savings and discounts over internet POD services. Because we deal directly with the artists we are able to offer you the very best in pricing and as a brick-n-mortar there is no shipping, handling, or packaging cost.

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Press Release
Painter Mary Ellen Anderson Gallery Opening
Dates: March 8-9
Location: Anderson Rentals Building
1312 W. 6th St.
Lawrence, Kansas 66044
Phone: (785) 843-2044

Local artist Mary Ellen Anderson will be unveiling her first public offering in over twenty-five years on March 8 – 9 at her local business Anderson Rentals. Mary Ellen Anderson is a contemporary American oil painter residing in Lawrence, Kansas USA. She is known for her oil paintings that blend ultra-realism and impressionism into a unique style that is reminiscent of Renaissance masters. Common themes are mid-west and western landscapes, portraits, and nature. Although Anderson exhibited extensively in the 70s and 80s, 2013 will mark her return to professional art. The event will coincide with the grand opening of ‘Mary Ellen Anderson Fine Arts Gallery and Studio’ located at 1312 W. 6th Street; Lawrence, Kansas 66044.

The Grand Opening will premier completely new works as well as a collection of personal favorites never before offered for sale. In addition, then archival giclee prints and merchandise will be available of Anderson’s work. Please join the artist in an informal setting for some terrific art, refreshments, and BIG discounts at this long awaited event.


Art Prints

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Reminiscing on my art career

February 14th, 2013

In a group discussion today on Fine Art America we were talking about our art careers and reminiscing and I thought I’d share my response.

I have to admit that I've always felt I had it easy. I was born into art utopia, but I've also always had so many options. There was a time when representational art was not just out of fad, it was illegitimate. But even then I had choices. I could probably have done marketable art, but I also have interest in science, business, engineering, and philosophy in which I could and did pursue as professional studies and careers (I think I have over 300 hours of college classes). So I thought I had left art with an “oh well – sigh attitude. But my deciding not to exhibit was my greatest disappointment to my Dad. It also turned out to matter to my two kids, so last Thanksgiving I picked up a brush again.

I've been totally surprised at my emotional response. I’m incredibly touched (probably more for my Dad’s memory then my own sake) at the acceptance of representational art. I could almost weep at seeing these wonderful artists and their works on FAA. I’m really surprised at how deeply I had buried my love of art. But even now I think I have so many advantages over artist that took a different path or are just starting out. I've gotten to work at CERN (a particle accelerator in Switzerland), start several successful businesses, had two kids, traveled most of the world; I have some great stories to tell, and my paintings are my voice. It truly means more to me then I imagined to be able to sing again.