May 2020 Issue
About the Cover Artist
Ellen Brenneman For as long as she can remember, Ellen Brenneman of South Bend, Indiana has been in love with nature. As a child, Ellen could be found doodling and drawing animals under the cherry tree in her backyard, while carrying on lengthy conversations with the squirrels and birds. Her doodling turned into a vast love of art, which continued through her teen years and into college where she studied graphic design in Muncie, Indiana at Ball State University.
Ellen thought her next step would be a master’s in art therapy, but she first wanted to spend a year working with developmentally challenged children before heading back to school. She ended up working over a decade as a devoted direct support professional, while serving her South Bend community as a solo art muralist. (Ellen also dabbled in furniture painting and graphic design) “I mostly created children’s bedroom murals, but one time, had the privilege of painting murals at a renovated old school. Each one was enlarged from old photos from past school days,” she said.
In 2012 Ellen made the decision to become a full-time working artist, discovering she had a unique ability and fondness for creating series of artworks. “Painting in series allows me to become consumed by the theme, as I live and breathe each one. Each series usually lasts about a year.”
Our cover this month, titled “Spring Rain,” is from Ellen’s “Mother Earth” series. It depicts our artist’s continuing love affair with nature, even including some artfully placed rain droplets. Ellen shared, “I see Mother Earth in my mind as a woman who walks the land. I have done eight or nine of these; this one is the third, and she is ‘in the moment’ enjoying all that life offers.”
Not only have the paintings in Ellen’s “Mother Earth” series been well-received, she has also completed “Power Animals of the Planet,” which is her largest collection of 150 paintings she worked on for five years. Featured animals appear in rich color combinations with the intent of capturing the spirit of each subject. From this labor of love, Ellen then selected 35 cards to utilize as an accompanying 87-page companion guide, depicting each animal’s symbolism. This has become her popular publication—Power Animals of the Planet: Oracle Deck and Companion Guide.
Some of Ellen’s artworks have also been featured in two books: Pigments of Your Imagination, (Second Edition) by Cathy Taylor, and KOALA, by Thames & Hudson Publishing, Australia. Ellen’s artwork also reside in businesses and private collections across North America, Europe and Australia.
Ellen adores her repeat customers. “People bond with me as if they have always known me. My paintings are the connection.” Ellen, and her husband, Craig, remain connected to nature’s offerings and to South Bend, where they live with their new golden retriever pup, Maven.
You can connect with Ellen and shop for her oracle cards and many other colorful, happy products at: www.etsy.com/shop/ellenbrennemanstudio; www.ellenbrennemanstudio.com.