About Ellen Lane

Ellen Lane is an American contemporary artist residing in Bali. Her creative career has spanned a variety of mediums. Coming from a multi-media and photographic background with strong commercial roots into abstract and figurative works of an intuitive nature.

Ellen Lane has exhibited widely, and her award-winning artworks are in collections throughout the United States and Europe. Her paintings are published in the books, “The Best of Acrylic Paintings”, and “Portrait Inspirations” and “Living Artists 13”.

The works of Ellen Lane inspired by her experiences in Bali reflect the multi-dimensional nature of our community whilst highlighting the connecting thread of creative energy here. 

Sawidji Gallery Ellen Lane

I came to Bali because of the art and the culture,.. a place I wanted to experience.. Art is part of everything there. I wanted to know what that felt like. What that meant.

Ellen Lane


Ellen Lane attended the University of Wisconsin, Madison, UW Milwaukee, and studied photography and graphics at Milwaukee Technical College, which led to 12 years as a professional photographer and multi-media producer.

She has studied with international artists Fritz Scholder, Nathan Oliveira, and George Herms. Lane also has a series of dimensional works: both collage and assemblages incorporating non-traditional materials along with her sophisticated painting skills.

Ellen Lane has exhibited widely, and her award-winning artworks are in collections throughout the United States and Europe. Her paintings are published in the books, “The Best of Acrylic Paintings”, and “Portrait Inspirations” and “Living Artists 13”.

Creativity, a Choice

When you meet Ellen Lane today, you can see that art is in the centre of her life. And in listening to her share her experiences, you really get a sense of just how far from simple her journey has been. So, when asked ‘Were you always involved with art? or did you always wish to be an artist?’ the answer that followed actually tells you it was hard-earned.

Artist Ellen Lane Sawidji Gallery Photography by Sawidji Studio

When I was younger I was interested in creative activities, but I didn’t have exposure. And my parents were not receptive because they were brought up on farms. So when I got to high school I wanted to take art classes but they said no.. I had to take the sciences.

Ellen Lane

A Professional Start towards Artistic Freedom

I had two children right out of college and when I got divorced my priority was to take care of my children. The creative part of my life began later, through photography. I borrowed a camera and met a photographer who offered to teach me. I started working and learning at his company. I also studied at the Milwaukee School of Technology. From photography, I branched into multimedia and started commercial production work.


Ellen worked for several years with corporations such as Vidal Sassoon and Dial Corporation. Working as a producer for several years. This was an introduction to a creative, art-filled life.

Artist Ellen Lane Sawidji Gallery Photography by Sawidji Studio

For some, finding their identity as an artist may be straightforward. That moment of realisation, of acknowledgement, to herself was truly catalytic in her life.

While studying and taking art classes I went to a conference..  where I had to stand up and say what I did for a living. And I said, ‘I AM an artist…” It was an amazing moment in my life, and sold my first piece a week after that…. 

Ellen Lane

A New Chapter.. A New Experience

This realisation led to a surge of creativity in her life. She embraced fully her creative calling which led to new experiences.

I went to a workshop in Sun Valley, Idaho. One of the artists I was influenced by at the time.. produced a surreal kind of work. This fed into my creative side. I began to feel a need to do something that came from within me.. just me.. not just taking photographs,.. but creating something that evolved out of my imagination. That’s when I started painting. I was a novice.

Ellen Lane
Artist Ellen Lane Sawidji Gallery

She studied with the same art teacher, Alex Villumson, for 9 years. Joining a small group of artists that were mentored by him. He was very intuitive and spiritual, which was incorporated into his teaching style. He taught Ellen how to break down conservative methods and experience the process of art through an intuitive and meditative exploration. This is how her painting style emerged.

Leading to Bali

Ellen came to Bali over 10 years ago with nothing but a camera to express her art. She was drawn strongly to the creative culture and lifestyle for which Bali has come to be known.  She remembers in the early part of her transition here that she did not understand the art that she saw.

 However, as she spent more time here, exploring the island and going to museums, she learned the history and became more familiar with the culture. She began to appreciate the unique processes and evolutions of art. The contrasts between the contemporary and traditional. 

“I started to see more contemporary artists …these guys are good I really like what they were doing.. I began to see the difference between traditional and contemporary art in Bali.

Ellen Lane

Ellen Lane Today

Artist Ellen Lane Sawidji Gallery

I was totally intimidated and I felt very isolated here.. I don’t feel like I have interacted with other artists.. I notice that my colours have changed.. these are my inner musings.. The colours that emerge have shown a transformation they have become lighter. There are pinks in my paintings that were not there before. It was rather taboo before, perhaps too feminine or soft.

However, I am not thinking of those things,. I am not answering questions but am just trying to allow a flow. A free flow. A big blank canvas can take you into a new world.. let it happen. that’s why sometimes I see figures and sometimes it becomes more abstract.. I let the painting talk to me. I like my process to be unpredictable..

Ellen Lane

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