Alan Ellis (b. 1934)

Blue and Yellow, 1995, Oil on cotton canvas, 29 ¾ x 19 ¾ in

[CAS 52] Acquired in 1996



Alan Ellis was born in Cheshire and subsequently lived in Southport, London and Birmingham before moving to Colchester in 1965, then to Peldon, a village on the edge of the Essex estuaries, a conservation area with mudflats and sandflats, boatyards and beaches. His work is closely linked to this scenery lying between the coastal road and the anchorage on the west side of Mersea Island and the North Norfolk coast, where he has spent many holidays.

This work was acquired following an exhibition at the Digby Gallery in 1996.

He was a member of Wivenhoe Arts Club in the early 1970s and joined Colchester Art Society in 1973. In 1991 he was elected to the committee as Membership Secretary, then General Secretary in 1995 and Archivist from 2008 to 2016. Alan has exhibited with Colchester Art Society many times since 1973.


Alan's involvement with the fine arts has focused on life drawing over the last thirty years, and this subject provided a foil for his growing obsession with abstraction. Nevertheless, he will argue that artists should begin from their own visual experience, and to this end he spends an hour or so walking, sketching and observing visual effects. The crucial importance of observation, once recorded in sketches, can then, according to him, brought to what he calls completion, meaning absolute control of a composition and reaching a point of no return at which each section becomes essential to the whole.

Selected Exhibitions

1996, 2010, 2014 Digby Gallery, Colchester, solo exhibitions

1998 The Swan Gallery, Harwich

1999 Wetzlarer Kunstverein and Stadthaus am Dom, Wetzlar, Germany, organised by Cath Wood Director of Firstsite (Wetzlar is twinned with Colchester)

2000 The Strand Gallery, Aldeburgh, solo

2000 Waltham Abbey, Essex, Artists in Essex 2000

2001 The Head Street Gallery, Halstead, solo

2002 to 2016 The Life Gallery, Colchester, solo and mixed

2007-8 The Beecroft Gallery, Southend, The Essex Open

2015 Firstsite, Open Exhibition


Colchester School of Art and Design, The Colchester Fine Art Open, many times

The Benham Gallery, Cuckoo Farm, Colchester

The Hay Gallery, Colchester Institute

The Quay Gallery, Sudbury

The Graham and Oldham Gallery, Ipswich