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Surreal Tableaux: Art by Ellen Cornett

A pastel drawing of a woman holding a mask over her faceWitches Have Red Eyes, pastel

Artist Ellen Cornett creates surreal tableaux in both black and white, and color. Her works, mainly created using chalk and pastels, frequently reference fairy tales, poems and rhymes.


A pastel drawing of a woman and a horseA Bad Idea, pastel

I’m really intrigued by the narrative nature of Ellen’s works. While the subject matter of each image varies widely, a number of common motifs, such as human figures with animal heads, or backgrounds featuring suburban housing, tie them together and make them seem like moments in one long, overarching plot. Animals factor strongly in most of Ellen’s drawings, solidifying the connection to fairytales and classical children’s stories.


A screen capture of the pastel gallery on Ellen Cornett's websiteEllen's website gallery of pastel works

There is a vaguely dark undertone that seems to run through many of the artist’s works, and while it never overpowers, one gets the sense that each artwork is a mystery waiting to be unraveled.  This sense of intrigue really makes these works worth a second look! Check out more on Ellen’s website,


A black and white drawing of a dog and a rabbit with birds on their headsFeathered Hats, carbon pencil

About the author

Dallas Jeffs Art Writer

Dallas Jeffs is the Editor of Artist Run Website's blog. She is a recent graduate of Emily Carr University of Art and Design, where she studied Critical and Cultural Practices. She is passionate about talking and writing about art, and sharing that interest with others. In her studio practice she is a painter, but she considers herself an art writer and educator foremost. If you like art, books and culture with a science fiction twist, check out Dallas' personal blog, HappySpaceNoises

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