Mary Ellen Riell
Landscape and figurative artist Mary Ellen 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.
Mary Ellen is a recipient of top awards in both watercolor and pastel, including Grand Prize in the Cooperstown Art Association’s 79th Annual National Exhibition, Best in Show at the Laffer Gallery’s Annual Upstate Artists Exhibition in 2014, the Adirondack Pastel National Silver Award and, most recently, Best Depiction of the Human Form at the Schenectady Stockade’s 68th Annual Outdoor Art Show.
Exhibiting since 1995, Mary Ellen has participated in over 100 exhibitions throughout the Northeast. She is a current member and former co-director of the Oakroom Artists. Her pastel landscapes, watercolors and prints are found in private and corporate collections.
Arboretums and outstanding gardens, both great and small, offer the receptive visitor unique sensory and emotional experiences. In addition to a focus on my own backyard garden, I travel to public and private gardens near and far as a member of the Garden Conservancy.
A favorite place to sketch, paint and photograph is Schoharie County’s Landis, a public arboretum and garden open year round and the subject of many of my pastels such as Looking Up at the Lape House; Yellow and White Trumpet Daffodils and Blue Hostas and the Lape House. I feel a sense of gratitude to the past creators and contemporary caretakers of Landis who have given me the opportunity to observe and interpret the character of an evolving and special outdoor garden space, a haven created with love, knowledge and care which offers itself to the appreciative visitor for free.
Viewing a scene from as many different vantage points as possible, usually with the aid of a camera, is for me an indispensable way to find the presentation best suited to the visual and conceptual ideas I want to convey. I enjoy emphasizing the arabesque – the curves, tilt and sway of plants and trees. Looking closely, staying focused and going with the flow are essential to staying interested and capturing a sense of place.