Ellen Kaiden attended the Philadelphia College of Art, where she studied painting with Will Barnett. Her education also included private study with Herbie Rose in Sarasota and Johanna Salomon inNewJersey. Kaiden also studied at Beaux Arts in Paris, the Interlaken School in Lenox, Mass., and the Art Students League and the New School in New York City. Today, Kaiden is a full-time painter, with studios in Sarasota and the Berkshires. In Sarasota, her new work is on display at the Katherine Butler Gallery through Jan. 14.
How long have you been making art?
Making art seems to be an inherited trait with me. My father and grandfather were both painters and sculptors. I first thought of myself as an artist when I was 9 years old, painting in my corner of my dad’s studio. I look back on a photo of that now and think, “How could I have taken life so seriously at such a young age?”
In which medium do you work?
I work exclusively in watercolor. The medium has an excitement and life force of its own. What other medium can capture movement and life in a rose petal?
What kind of art have you been making recently?
In recent years, my work has taken on an urgency and dimension that has evolved from my life experience. Every year, my art seems to gain more clarity, vibrancy and depth of feeling.
What drives you to create art?
I want to make the viewer see a life force and sensuality in my paintings — though “feel” is, perhaps, a better word than “see.” Ultimately, I want them to experience something fresh and unique.
Has the way you approach art-making changed in the past decade?
The world has changed greatly in the last 10 years. We’ve become more fragile and vulnerable. As an artist, I remind my audience that there’s still joy and wonder in everything around us. I might have a dark side; I don’t choose to paint it.
Why do you make art?
I’ve had many different lives. The common thread in all of them is the need to communicate and touch people. My art work gives me an avenue to celebrate the wonder and love in my life, and perhaps leave behind the sorrow and anguish and fear in the world today.