Ellen South

I grew up in London, England and have been attending life drawing classes since my teens. Drawing from the model embodies everything that is most meaningful to me; the process of trying to capture a complex, living, spiritual and inevitably transitory being.

I graduated from Camberwell School of Art & Crafts and worked as a model for various art schools before starting work at Marlborough Fine Art gallery. At that time I also modeled for artists RB Kitaj and Bill Jacklin. I relocated with my family to Los Angeles, where I worked for five years as an assistant at Margo Leavin Gallery and then moved to the J. Paul Getty Museum where I remained for 24 years as the senior staff assistant in the sculpture and decorative arts department. While there I co-started a life drawing group for employees and volunteers, which continues to this day.

I have always been a fan of the European impressionists like Degas, Toulouse-Lautrec, Bonnard, Cezanne, and study drawings by artists from the Renaissance to modern Lucian Freud.

Drawing from a model requires the unspoken agreement between model and artist to suspend their individual personas and lives in order to share their efforts and vulnerabilities to express beauty. Painting and drawing the nude from life allows me to express my appreciation and compassion.