Mary Ellen Riell
Landscape and figurative artist Mary Ellen Riell is a recipient of top awards in both watercolor and pastel, most recently Grand Prize in the Cooperstown Art Association’s 79th Annual National Exhibition and Best in Show at the Laffer Gallery’s competitive annual juried Upstate Artists 2014 exhibition.
A former professional illustrator and college instructor, Ms. Riell received her art training at the Art Student’s League in New York City, the Fashion Institute of Technology, and Brooklyn College, where she studied with painter Sam Gelber and sculptor Sylvia Stone, before receiving a Master’s degree in art education from the College of Saint Rose in Albany, NY.
Now a full time artist working in her upstate NY studio, Ms. Riell is a member of Oakroom Artists, a membership-by-invitation artists’ association. Her work is included in both institutional and private collections.
I am always looking for new ways to see the traditional subjects of garden, sea, landscape and the human figure. Viewing a scene from a variety of vantage points and times of day, often with the aid of a camera, is a key first step in finding the presentation that best suits the visual and conceptual ideas I want to convey. Working en plein air, I enjoy emphasizing the rich color and sensuous grace found in the curves, tilt and sway of plants and trees set against the hardscape elements of barns, houses, fences and sheds. Looking closely, staying focused and going with the flow are essential methods for expressing a subject’s mood and capturing a sense of place.