Ellen Welch Granter has been with Maine Art Paintings and Sculpture for over ten years. Her love of nature and wildlife, especially the winged ones, is well known in the Maine art community. Her work is peaceful and warm and welcomes the viewer in with open arms. Yet, her life did not start at an easel.
School for Ellen looked a little different than you might expect. A bachelor’s degree in Political Science, a master’s degree in History. Government? Politics? This isn’t the jumping-off point for most artists. Like so many of the most interesting people in our world, Ellen’s past is varied and fascinating. Having the opportunity to chat with Ellen at an opening is always a pleasure. She is intelligent and well spoken, and offers so much insight into her work. However, there are pieces of her past one would never guess. The pinnacle being six years of studying Mandarin Chinese. “I started learning it as a study-abroad student in Hong Kong in 1982. Then I did Middlebury College summer intensive language training… twice. After that, another year in Beijing. I had an internship during that time at a very sleepy import/export company. There was virtually no importing or exporting actually going on at that time, 1985, so I hung out with the drivers and office staff and learned a lot of Beijing slang.”
There were some years, like the rest of us, Granter had to work her way through. Her patience with her art and with her clients certainly was earned from the beginning of her employment history. “My first job… I worked for the Sisters of Saint Joseph as a nurse’s aide in their infirmary at Nazareth College,” say Granter. “I was also a lifeguard, a waitress, a quilt piece cutter and a knitting shop assistant.” She did it all. “Making submarine sandwiches for drunk students was in there somewhere as well,” Ellen remembers. “But hands down my worst job was working a folding machine in a print bindery. It folded those little paper instructions that used to come inside pill bottles. I lasted a full two days!”
Eventually, her odd jobs began to lean a bit into the art world. “I was a technical illustrator, video editor, t-shirt silk screener and graphic designer/art director in various places.” When a person really looks at their past, it is hard to have regrets when happiness fills the present. “It all enriched my life, and sent me on my path. Non, je ne regrette rein,” says Granter. No, I regret nothing.
Please visit Maine Art at 14 Western Avenue in Kennebunk to see all of Ellen’s work. You can also see it online on her Artist Page.
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