Schiff talks abstract art at Roslyn Village Gallery

(Photo courtesy of Ellen Hallie Schiff)

The Roslyn Village Gallery is expanding its reach with different types of art workshops taught by artists themselves.

Ellen Hallie Schiff will give an abstract art demonstration on March 20 at Roslyn Village Gallery. (Photo courtesy of Ellen Hallie Schiff)

Ellen Hallie Schiff of Glen Cove will give the second from 7:30 to 9 p.m. on March 20 focused on abstract art.

Tickets are $10, and RSVP is requested to gallery owner Marsha Tarlow. Tickets include refreshments as well as an abstract art history overview, a demonstration by Schiff and audience participation.

Schiff said she started painting when she was 45.

“I had a husband and a family, and everything was fine, but there was something missing,” Schiff said. “I’d always been very creative as a kid in music and dancing, but I hadn’t really taken art classes except at school.”

She took her first art class at the Nassau County Museum of Art in 1998 but didn’t take the abstract path for about eight years.

(Photo courtesy of Ellen Hallie Schiff)

“Gradually I was abstracting the figure more and I became more interested in the space on the canvas between where the figure ended and the end of the canvas was,” Schiff said.

Inspired by the works of abstract artists Robert Motherwell, Franz Kline, Mark Rothko and Richard Diebenkorn, Schiff began exploring abstract art and copied a painting of Diebenkorn’s for practice.

“In terms of learning to paint abstract, I basically taught myself,” Schiff said. “It took a long time. I would try something, and it would be awful. I’d wait another three months, six months and try again. My first attempts were just terrible.”

(Photo courtesy of Ellen Hallie Schiff)

Now, Schiff has become an accomplished abstract artist, teaching the process weekly. Schiff’s work has also been shown in 13 solo shows and 19 group shows as well as The CBS drama “The Good Wife” for three years and will be seen on the first season of Alan Cumming’s upcoming CBS show “Instinct.”

Schiff and her students’ work is currently on display in the “Embracing Risk” show at Bryant Library and will be there until April 6.

Though she has worked more than a decade as an artist, Schiff said she never saw herself as a teacher until recently.

“I never wanted to teach, but this is so gratifying,” Schiff said. “It’s so amazing to be with these people who are exploring materials. Everyone is so interested in what everyone else is doing.”

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