Assorted 1947 - 1982
Ellinore Ginn lets Fairies into her Life
Ellinore Ginn, is an artist who creates her own world of fantasy on the kitchen table. Bright colours, and fairytale figures people her paintings. Its a world of soft smiling girls, floating horses, butterflys, birds and flowers - Sunshine and Smiles are the prime elements.
'I prefer to live in a world of fantasy, I would like to live in a kind of Shangrila of my own. I don't want to live in a scene that is violent. I just want to paint lovely pictures. Ellinore says that she loves colour, and wants her art to be hopeful and gentle. 'It is happy painting, with poetic fantasy. I used to paint heavily in oils, but now it is almost all in acrylics, with almost a watercolour technique. But it must be done quickly, and you must know what you are doing.'
The Dominion. January 21st, 1977
Children flowers, Fantasy in Art
Actor David Tinkham described Ellinore Ginn's paintings as 'warm, gay and full of impish charm.' Children, flowers and fantastical figures dominate the works at a recent exhibition in Wellington. She has also been an actress during her career, and David Tinkham in his introductory remarks referred to the infidence of the theatre on the work.
Ellinore has worked with pantomime, and many of her figures reflect the gaiety of pantomime make-up,' he said. The subjects range from characters in clown-like make-up in an almost stage-like background to winsome faces of children surrounded by fantasy animals and magical gardens.
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Newspaper unknown. 1976
Former B.B.C Drama Player says she likes
the English Element in NZ
Ellinore is thrilled to be in New Zealand. The hills of Wellington she described as 'delightful and breath-taking,' and the colours in which the houses were painted were 'very pretty.' After returning to her home country in Ontario, Canada, this summer, Mrs Ginn said she had found the country had become 'well Americanised.' She liked the English element she had found in this country.
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She has done free-lance work for the BBC. There were 30 - 33 members of the BBC Drama repertory, and a play was produced each day. Rehearsals for a play usually took 3 days. The plays were then recorded and sent to America. She specialised especially in Irish and Cockney parts.
Played in well known plays as Of Mice and Men, Quality Street, Hay Fever and Candida. One well known actress who had taken part in plays for the BBC was Irene Van Brugh. Ellinore was very thrilled to be cast in the same play, Cyrano de Beregerac, with Sir Ralph Richardson, who is a very fine actor.
Ellinore then took part in a programme, America Singing with the well known American actor Kingsley Poynter, when selections from the American poets, Walt Whitman and Emily Dickenson were given.
Another programme in which she took part was a series of talks directed to India for schools to tell the Indians how the English people lived. Though, as she expressed it, radio was her forté. Mrs Ginn has taken part in documentary film work at Denham Studio. Among those she met was David Niven.
Evening Post. November 15th, 1947
Red Cottage Gallery
Ellinore acquired the shabby little dwelling in Wellington's down-town area. Then cleaning began with a vengeance - scrubbing, painting, tearing down, sanding, wallpapering, building up - all with the help of many friends enthused by Ellinore's dream.
Now the Red Cottage glows bright with pride and iressistibly beckons to all who walk the quiet little street. The tiny garden is enclosed by a white trellis fence. The vivid red exterior is faced with white. Inside Victoriana reigns supreme. The lights are shaded with French Canadian bonnets. On the bed in the tiny bedroom is an Early American powderpuff cotton patchwork quilt made and given by Mrs Muriel Lyver, who was an enthusiastic helper in the scrubbing and painting preliminaries.
Two rooms were merged into one to form the living room which, with its pale grey walls, provides a good neutral background for exhibits. Mrs Ginn has long loved antiques and from her home has brought early Windsor chairs, a rocking chair, Victorian sideboard and numerous period ornamentals. The spinning wheel, brick fire-place, old gas stove, copper bucket doubling as a lampshade all add to the homey atmosphere.
Ellinore who tries to achieve sweet fantasy in her paintings, looks for 'sweetness of life' in everyday living, and in her searching she goes a long way towards providing it.
Mrs Ginn is anxious to help all those who wish to develop their work and hopes to present a series of exhibitions by young 'unknowns.'
So many people have not been able to display their work, whether it is painting, photography, pottery or sculpture - and so I want to be able to help them all out.
NZ Womens Weekly 1971
I think art lifts the heart. It is the closest thing to God, don't you think? An artist, even if he is sitting under a bridge somewhere, must go on, force himself to produce what is best in him. We're only here for a short time and we must do our own thing, as they say.
One day I was stuck while painting a portrait. I went into a little room with no pictures on the wall and, with nothing to distract me, began painting little images of love and sweetness. My arm moved freely and the colours came abundantly. I just let my thoughts flow.
She described her cotttage in Wellington that she has had just over a year as: 'a diamond in the middle of a dark, dinghy part of Wellington.' But, she said the gallery is a magnet for young artists, especially those going through 'a period of malnutrition.' They come seeking encouragement, a wall on which to hang their work or sometimes just a little conversation.
Kitchener Waterloo Record, Canada. October 30th, 1972
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So many exhibitions are sophisticated - very practical and highly academic - but not mine. My roots are very deep in fairyland. My paintings are little cherries of fantasy.'
Ellinore believed it was very important for an artist to fall in love with each painting as it was created, so that there was real feeling put into each brush-stroke.
I can honestly say I feel the ecstasy and exquisite tenderness of each of mine, though that may leave me when I walk out into the broad daylight again. I try to convey lyricism and love in my work. I want people to react to the innocence, which we all should have within us.'
Dominion. November 5, 1972
llinore Ginn, an artist who creates a world furnished with cats, children, birds, lovers, shells and sweet-tempered people. Painted in a style that could have sprung from a marrriage of Frances Hodgkins and Marc Chagall, her gouaches - have a magical, fey quality and sweet colour that sometimes borders on the cloying.
In most of the works, the forms sweep together to create a fairytale world, unreal but charming. When her painting is firmly under control, she can pull off some stunningly effective combinations of colour. If you have a taste for decorative, fanciful painting, Ellinore Ginn's works is a treat.
Newspaper unknown. 1981
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Innocence, Fantasy, on Shows
When Ellinore sits in her flowery-patterned chair and talks of fairies and innocence it is not hard to understand why her paintings speak so clearly of fantasy.
With her red ribbons and long white ponytails, Mrs Ginn appears almost childlike, her soft smile and light green eyes capturing the naivety of the young. 'I hope my message is of gentleness and amusement and will carry weight spiritually,' she says looking out of the window at the blue sea and hills of Titahi Bay. 'I don't paint politicians, as they are changeable like the wind. And I don't paint society portraits, as you can be rich today and poor tomorrow. I just paint fantasy. Innocence is my forté. It's like capturing the essence of pure thought and sound. You can hit a plateau of pure thought - a peak that some people can feel and some just can't.'
'I tend to lose the human body and relate to the expression of love and beauty. The human body is a transient thing. I turn it into imagery.'
The Dominion. August 4th,1982
Whimsy of another world
Ellinore spreads a canvas on the kitchen table, sketches an idea, puts on a wash, begins to paint. And now her real world starts to appear - faun-like people with sweet, gentle faces, harlequins, clowns, musicians, flowers, animals whose eyes are alive with understanding.
As she develops her characters, she removes from reality. 'I'd rather live in a fantasy land,' she says. 'I'd rather be a wood-cutters wife, walking up a hill to a little house with a wooden gate.'
Ellinore is almost an anachronism. A dahlia-like lady with a beautiful face and long hair and skirts, she is extremely artistic - and almost frighteningly vulnerable.
New Zealand Times. May 19th,1985
Heritage Comes Alive
Ellinore Ginn Retrospective Exhibition
PAGE 90 will be hosting a major exhibition of celebrated Poriua artist Ellinore Ginn QSM. (This will be the first exhibition of her work since her death in May 1995). Ellinore Ginn was one of the area's most colourful and energetic figures. Ellinore Ginn was born in Canada, studied in London at the Slade and Heatherley Schools of Art before coming to New Zealand in the late 1940's. A longtime resident of Titahi Bay, Ellinore founded the Titahi Bay Little Theatre now called Porirua Little Theatre. Her volatitle character enlivened the Wellington art scene with numerous exhibitions.
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She is best known for her whimsical scenes personifying childhood paradise lost. She was also actie helping young artists exhibit their paintings and crafts and to this end established the "Red Cottage Gallery" in Kelvin Grove, Wellington in 1971. Response for the loan of paintings for the retrospective exhibition to commemorate the works and life of well known local artist, Ellinore Ginn has been overwhelming. Such is the respect and affection in which she was held! The paintings offered cover a period of forty years and will give a fascinating insight to the artistic development of this remarkable and talented woman.
Ellinore Ginn was born in Canada and spent the wartime years in London studying acting, working for the BBC as a radio dramatist and later studying her ultimate passion - art. Coming to post-war New Zealand and setting up home in Thorndon and later Titahi Bay with her Kiwi husband Russel, must have been what is today known as a 'cultural shock'! However she met and became close friends with artists such as Rita Angus, performers like Davina Whitehouse and who helped make the transition to a new life a new country.
The stage was never far from Ellinore Ginn's heart. With Molly Bryce, Ellinore was instrumental in rallying support for the establishment of the Titahi Bay Little Theatre (now Porirua Little Theatre) - in directing plays or often taking the role of the leading lady! The desire to further her art studies saw Ellinore Ginn attending classes with Paul Olds and exhibiting her works at James Smiths, Kirkaldie's and in galleries nationwide. In 1971 she openend her own galley - the Red Cottage Gallery in central Wellington - with an exhibition by Robyn Kahukiwa. Many well know artists showed their works ther over the years. All became friends. Many are loaning their special paintings by Ellinore Ginn for this exhibition. This will be a poignant exhibition - a wondeful, colurful explosion of poetic images, frivolity, whimsy, sadness all caught up in the extraodinary beauty that typifies Ellinore Ginn's works.
Kapi-Mana News May 1996
Note: PAGE 90 also had Titahi Bay Neil Penman's historical photographs as part of the theme for 1996 "Our History, Ourselvelves" with special emphasis on the people, the "identities" of the community
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