Ken Elliott

"Impressionist would be the best description of my work. I'm working with bright and unusual color palettes to produce landscapes that are not realistic portraits. I find that the more canvases I do, the colors become more intriguing and the style more abstract. It is never a dull day in the studio"

Making the Artworks
My involvement in the art business has now spanned over 40 years. I began as a picture framer, then worked alongside an art restorer, became an art dealer, and about 25 years ago, began to draw and paint. In my career, I’ve been fortunate to have seen remarkably good works of art and met some of the best painters in the field.

My focus is the landscape and its rich store of ideas and inspiration. I am compelled to work from the trees, skies, lakes and streams in their endless variations. I don’t try to recreate nature (even Monet said he never got it right) or attempt storytelling. Instead, the works are simplifications and exaggerations of nature. There was a time when I felt the tyranny of the landscape. That is, I felt limited by making pictures of a place. Now, instead of making pictures, I am free to make paintings, art that comes from nature but is far more reliant on the strategies of making good art objects.

Fortunately, I’ve learned that what some would call mistakes are part of the creative process. So, I try to begin boldly, not worrying about mistakes, using more color than might exist in nature, and varying the types of chroma and marks. During the process, I allow my vision and the inevitable missteps to become a part of the emerging image. Some of these missteps will be eliminated and the more delicious ones are incorporated into the process as unintended surprises.”

Painting is not a linear, start to finish process for me. I typically have a number of paintings and pastels in progress in the studio. I welcome interruptions. They are also part of the process. If the phone rings, I’m talking and looking at other paintings, gazing out the window, or at photos in the mail order catalog. Sometimes the very solution I’m seeking is found that way. Otherwise, I might continue to focus on the singular canvas in front of me and miss a chance to make it better. All the paintings and little images in view feed each other, offering solutions and more problems. Those paintings that make it out the door have come to a good but sometimes torturous conclusion.

On occasion, I also do monotypes (unique prints) and collages as a departure from painting. The monotypes are a great departure from working on canvas. With monotypes I’m painting on plexiglas plates and then the images are run through a press and the image is transferred to paper. The results are unexpected and free. It is exhilarating working under the time pressures of the printer’s studio and I’ve learned a lot from the process. With my collages, I have lately used wine and champagne labels. There is a freedom to making art without the limits of land and sky. With the collage, every edge, color, shape and design is exactly as I want it. The brush and canvas and interlopers here: they change the texture and edges of everything. With the collage, the entire design can be precisely changed by just moving a piece of paper.

Tomorrow in the studio, new oils and pastels will emerge. The fun of it all is that sometimes the pastels become new oils, oils morph into different pastels or prints. All of nature is altered, perfected and abstracted. When I run out of variations to an idea, I’ll go back to nature where all the inspirations and colors for a lifetime are always waiting.


Selected Exhibitions
  • 2012 Group Show, Madden Museum of Fine Art, Denver, CO Nov 2012
  • 2012 Group Show, Total Arts, Taos, New Mexico May 2012
  • 2011 Group Show, Total Arts, Taos, New Mexico
  • 2011 Group Show, Madden Museum of Fine Art, Denver, CO
  • 2011 Group Show, "Decade," Madelyn Jordan Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY
  • 2011 Group Show, "Exploring Abstraction," Michele Mosko Fine Arts, Denver
  • 2010 Group Show, Total Arts, Taos, New Mexico
  • 2010 Group Show, Madelyn Jordan Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY
  • 2010 Two-man Show, Total Arts, Taos, New Mexico
  • 2009 Group Show, Madelyn Jordan Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY
  • 2008 One-man Show, Arden's Gallery, Houston, TX
  • 2008 Group Show, Madelyn Jordan Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY
  • 2008 One-man Show, Framed Image, Denver, CO
  • 2007 Group Show, Madelyn Jordan Fine Art, Scarsdale, NY
  • 2006 One-man Show, ZYT Gallery, Los Altos, CA
  • 2006 One-man Show, Arden's Gallery, Houston, TX
  • 2005 One-man Show, Arden's Gallery, Houston, TX
  • 2005 Two-person Show, Open Press Ltd, Monotypes, Denver, CO
  • 2004 Group Show, Open Press 15 Year Retrospective, Colorado Springs Contemporary Arts Center, CO
  • 2004 One-man Show, New Monotypes, Arden's Gallery, Houston, TX
  • 2004 Group Show, Millsap Moore Gallery, Evergreen, CO
  • 2004 One-man Show, Arden's Gallery, Houston, TX
  • 2003 Group Show, Colorado Painting, Grant Street Studios, Denver, CO
  • 2003 Group Show, ZYT Gallery, CA 2003 Group show, Grant Street Studios, Denver, CO
  • 2002 One-man Show, Arden's Gallery, Houston, TX
  • 2001 Group show, American Landscape Paintings, Editions Limited, Oakland, CA
  • 2001 Group show, Joseph Thayer Gallery, Castle Rock, CO
  • 2001 Group show, Colorado Art Open Exhibition, Golden CO
  • 2000 One-man Show, Sharon Park Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
  • 1999 One-man Show, Sharon Park Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
  • 1999 Group Show, Sharon Park Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
  • 1996 Group Show, Kismet Gallery, juried by Janet Fish, San Jose, CA
  • 1996 Group Show, I. Wolk Gallery, St. Helena, CA
  • 1995 Group Show, Triton Museum Biennial, Santa Clara, CA
  • 1994 One-man show, 3Com, Palo Alto, CA.
  • 1994 One-man show, Hitachi, Santa Clara, CA
  • 1994 Group show, Pope Gallery, Santa Cruz, CA
  • 1993 Group show, Gump's, San Francisco, CA
  • 1993 Group show, Triton Museum Biennial, Santa Clara, CA
  • 1993 Group show, Baker Gallery, Half Moon Bay, CA
  • 1993 One-man show, Arden's , Houston, Texas
  • 1993 One-man show, Van Kampen Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
  • 1992 Group show, Santa Fe Institute of Fine Arts Alumni Exhibit, Santa Fe, NM
  • 1992 Group show, Joanne Chappell Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 1992 One-man show, St. Francis Foundation Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 1991 Group show, Joanne Chappell Gallery, San Francisco, CA
  • 1991 Group show, Gallery 30, Burlingame, CA
  • 1990 Group show, Pastel Society of the West Coast, 4th Natl Open, Sacramento, CA
  • 1990 One-man show, Burlingame Bank and Trust Co., Burlingame, CA
  • 1989 One-man show, Hewlett Packard Headquarters, Cupertino, CA
  • 1989 One-man show, Coyote Point Museum, San Mateo, CA
  • 1989 Group show, Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, Texas
  • 1988 Group show, Wilhelm Gallery, Scottsdale, Arizona
  • 1988 Group show, Meredith Long Gallery, Houston, TX
  • Coopers and Lybrand
  • Hewlett Packard
  • Kaiser-Permanente
  • Ritz Hotel, Denver
  • Four Seasons Hotel, Denver
  • St. Anthony's Hospital, Denver
  • Panhandle Eastern
  • National Dairy Board
  • Grubb and Ellis, Denver
  • Marriott Hotels
  • Holland America Cruise Line
  • Stanford Cancer Center, Palo Alto
  • Raychem
  • St. John’s Mercy Medical Center, Creve Coeur, MO
  • Rose Medical Center, Parker, CO
  • Denver Hospice, CO
  • Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minnesota
  • Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston
  • Vail Mountain Club, Vail, CO
  • Visa
  • Vectra Bank, CO
  • Blue Shield
  • Hitachi
  • The David and Lucile Packard Foundation
  • Glenmoor Country Club, Denver
  • Project Energy
  • Pinnacol
  • Magnet Bank, Atlanta
  • Ford, Harrison Law, Atlanta
  • Lowry Medical Center, Denver
  • Town and Country Hospital, Houston


  • Southwest Art Magazine, May 2012
    I want to pass on this very nice magazine piece for May 2012. Thank you SW Art Magazine and writer Gussie Fauntleroy for really 'getting it.' Excerpt: "There is paradox in Ken Elliott’s landscapes: They pulse with powerful color, and yet collectors speak of his paintings as exuding a sense of calm. They contain choreographed rhythm and order, even within the seeming disorder of winter trees along a creek. “I’m trying to give the paintings muscle, poetry, power, and gentleness. I’m screaming—but in a civilized way,” the artist jokes..."
  • American Art Collector Magazine, June 2008 excerpt: "Total Arts Gallery is beginning its 39th year as Taos' preeminent destination gallery. ...the gallery is happy to announce the new addition of painter Ken Elliott. Elliott's canvases display the strikingly vivid modern hues in which he chooses to render his contemporary landscapes."
  • Colorado Expression Magazine, June-July 2008 Julie Fryberger Art Consulting article, with illustration of "Blue Wall" oil, 40x40 inches.
  • InformArt Magazine, Spring, 2003 issue
  • US Art Magazine, March 2002 issue. The giclee print 'Cherry Red Trees' has been selected as one of the 50 best images of 2001.
  • The Pastel Journal May-June 2002 "Giclee print becomes part of the painting process"
  • New York Times On the Web, Wine Today, December 26, 2000 by Kathleen Buckley
    excerpt: "What to do with the foil, cork and wire cap .. There is always the tendency to want to save these as a memory of the event. While it is sweet, it does not enhance the home décor any more than colored water does in clear Appalachian glass bottles. There are a few exceptions.... American artist Ken Elliott makes striking abstract collages using pastels, oils and the foil from the Champagne bottle."
  • Artweek Magazine, September 1991, "Lovers of the Land, the Landscape in Pastel at Gallery 30"
  • US Art Magazine, October 1990, "Six California Landscape Painters"