Charles Ellison on his boat dock at Camp Creek Lake

 


Charles Ellison

Texas Wildlife Artist

       I spent my early years near Kosse, Texas, living in the country. My family worked as sharecroppers in the beginning, but most everyone else in that area was in the same shape, so we didn't think about it. Then, my dad was hired as the first patrolman at Camp Creek Lake near Franklin. It was a beautiful place for a kid to grow up. I roamed the woods with my dog, Dixie. My father taught me how to course honey bees from the spring creek where they came to collect water and then return to their hive in a hollow tree. That's another story, and I have many. One must simply stop and listen to nature, and it will talk back to you by the way of trees rustling, the animals softly moving about, the birds singing a special song, or not singing at all, saying what's really going on out there. And of course, there was the softness of a warm, summer day filled with sounds and colors that I will never forget.

       I didn't want to leave my country home, but all things must change. My mother and father dropped me off at Sam Houston University in the fall of 1955; and from then on, I was on my own. Unprepared for any type of existence beyond the simple life I had treasured, I adjusted, made new friends, and extended my horizons. My life was never the same again, but I never forgot my humble upbringing and all of the sights and sounds I had come to love as a child.

       I graduated from Sam Houston University in Texas with a Bachelor of Science degree in art. I then went to North Carolina and worked as a graphic artist for Knight Publishing Co. until returning to Franklin a few years later. Having started playing country music at age 16, it was a natural transition into the role of singer/songwriter. During the next 15 years, I recorded in Nashville and played just about every honky tonk in Texas.

       My odyssey of life continues. During the week, I build fishing piers; during the evening I paint. I paint the scenes and sounds that were etched in my mind while growing up in the country. I paint in oil over special, textured and troweled substrates on canvas and masonite. My artwork has been accepted in major juried art shows in Texas, including Bayou Fest, the Woodlands, Deep Ellum, and ARTFEST in Dallas. I studied with Dalhart Windberg and with cowboy artists, Martin Grelle and Bruce Green. I paint from references, life, anything you can imagine, but mostly I paint what is beloved in my heart so I can tell it like I saw it.

Charles Ellison, Renaissance Man
Artist, singer, songwriter, mayor of Franklin, Texas