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Our ability to perceive quality in nature begins, as in art, with the pretty. It expands through successive stages of the beautiful to values as yet uncaptured by language. The quality of cranes lies, I think, in this higher gamut, as yet beyond the reach of words.

                                                                          Aldo Leopold, "A Sand County Almanac"

Ellen’s competence to paint Whooping Cranes comes from her ability to observe them (old painter's saying- Paint what you know!).

She is fortunate to live near Wisconsin River lowlands, 8 minutes from The International Crane Foundation and an hour from the Necedah National Wildlife Refuge where she is free to observe, photograph and relish being a crane groupie! In that split second of discovery- light casting shadows on a tree, a bird caught in a momentary perch, a wildlife garden full of Monarchs, or a crane calling you to attention- the creative juices in Ellen start flowing and down the road, a painting evolves. Watercolor gives her the glow of light she sees in nature, but acrylics seem to give voice to certain other subjects. And above all, nature is inspiration for her inner life!