Local artist opens gallery on ranch
By BRITTANY FHOLER
An artist in Kempner has opened an art gallery on her own property, featuring pictures she has taken and then worked on to achieve her final result.
Ellen Dunn, former adjunct professor at Central Texas College, taught dark room photography, digital photography and infrared photography for 13 years. Prior to that, she started the Volleyball program at Copperas Cove High School 28 years ago.
Dunn now lives in Kempner with her husband on a ranch with dozens of sheep, a dog and an emu named Suzette.
In a small studio behind her home, Dunn enlisted the help of RNC Construction to create a way to display her artwork in a small gallery. Dunn specializes in mixed media and has dozens of pictures displayed, depicting scenes from Austin, Arkansas, Colorado, Hawaii and more.
Dunn starts by using a matte photo paper and an image of something she has photographed. She then makes changes or additions to the image using paint or ink or photoshop
“When I do it, I always come back and do more to it by hand,” Dunn said.
Dunn said she first got into photography after her divorce in the late 1970s.
“I was always interested in art. My sister was an artist,” Dunn said.
She took a photography class and found out she really liked photography.
“I liked it more than painting or drawing because it was quicker,” Dunn said. “You got your satisfaction quicker, but then I started doing things to it, just experimenting, doing things to the photograph, and I still do water colors and regular painting.”
Several of the pieces displayed featured sandwiched layers to give a complex effect. Others are black and white infrared pictures. Many pictures also feature a composite of several images to create one new image.
One of the larger pieces displayed was made on one sheet of Masonite and was created without a camera, according to Dunn. She bought artificial flowers and made a backing out of wallpaper with different patterns to act as the background for the flowers as she scanned the image she had created.
Dunn Layered and sandwiched the flowers, added rice paper and added colors to the piece and finished with white rain drops on top.
Dunn said she feels art is very important.
“It’s a good way to show beauty,” Dunn said. “You can put the things that you really love inside, like I love animals. It’s a good way to show animals or any subject for that matter, and it’s soothing. A lot of people who need therapy for emotional problems, art is good for that and just for expression, bringing ideas and creativity, it’s wonderful. The more I did it, the more creative I got, or I would explore it more and go off the cloud and the edges and go out here, just like the pelican picture. It’s weird but I like it.”
One of her pictures of trees was made by stacking three different images together. Another rpicture featuring a seahorse is layered with a colorful fish.
Dunn previously had her art displayed in a gallery in Arkansas when she used to live there and had entered plenty of art shows. She has long been waiting to sell her work in Central Texas.
“I would love to sell some art,” Dunn said. “I’ve never really tried to sell art before.”
To visit and view the gallery, people are invited to call Dunn at 254-290-3425 to request an appointment. Dunn said that a purchase is not required, but viewers will need to wear a face mask.