When Mary Ellen was in high school, her art teacher told her she had no talent. But the desire and aptitude were there. Some of the work of her mother, Helen H. Tiller, can be seen at Paradise Cottage. She created in textile mediums also. Mary Ellen was living in England in 1979, when a gentleman came to the Air Force base occasionally to sell wonderful English wool at the Officer’s Wives Club. Mary Ellen made herself many stylish suits and dresses from that quality fabric.
One day the man, Mr. E. J. Willey, appeared with oil paintings instead of wool. Mary Ellen asked him if he would teach a class if she were to organize it. He ended up teaching a series of six classes. That was her art training.
Mr. Willey painted on canvases he made himself to be rugged! They were heavy fabric stretched and glued onto masonite with wallpaper paste, then sized and gessoed. He always started with an underpainting in the color he wanted to shine through, most often light-red for warmth. He was good at skies and clouds.
The typical progression of one of Mary Ellen’s paintings is illustrated here. Guests at Seanook wanted to purchase the unsigned painting done for her parents as a gift many years ago. Of course, that is not for sale, so Mary Ellen made a copy of it.
Please enjoy viewing Mary Ellen’s other available oil paintings in chronological order (with the newest ones at the end followed by photos of Paradise Studio) through the following link: https://photos.app.goo.gl/DtCEXLrM4MAkqiTn8