In her folk-like paintings, Mississippi’s Ellen Langford captures playful yet tender moments between children and creatures in a rural landscape.
Artist: Langford grew up in Jackson, the youngest of four children and the only girl, obsessed with drawing and painting.
The Mississippi native headed to Colby College in Maine, but took time off to take academic classes in art in New York, San Francisco, Washington, DC, and Italy. After six years, she earned a BA from Colby.
She eventually moved back to Mississippi. While doing her art on the side, she worked as a paramedic for a little over a decade.
Now a full-time artist, Langford found a resonance between her work (and her patients’ stories) and her work as an artist.
Langford is also a parent and owner of chickens and dogs, which she often includes in her paintings.
Company/studio: Paintings by Ellen Langford is based in downtown Jackson in a space the painter has shared for eight years with five or six other artists. She also works at her dining table, painting smaller works on paper, and paints on location.
Art & materials: Narrative paintings of people (often children) interacting with each other or with creatures like dogs and chickens, mostly in rural settings ($200 to $5,000). Paintings are created mostly with acrylics, but also gouache and oil.
Favorite tool: A cheap, reusable plastic sandwich container. It is lightweight and makes a great palette for oil or acrylic.
- Richard Diebenkorn for figurative painting.
- Walter Anderson for narrative painting.
- Julius Hatofsky for painting and drawing.
- The Mississippi Delta.
Fun or special commissions:
- In 2022, paint at a Filipino wedding at the World Equestrian Center in Ocala, FL.
- In 2021, paint at a fund-raising party for the Children’s Center of Mississippi.
- Paint a family’s four children, two of whom have severe cerebral palsy.
“I depicted them — and their dog, of course – dancing within the trees,” said Langford. “The son in the wheelchair was doing a wheelie, and the son with crutches was swinging them around in exultation.”
- In November 2022, gave the keynote address to the Mississippi Arts Educators conference. “I was really honored to be asked,” she said. “I have such a high regard for teachers.”
- In early 2022, honored by the Mississippi State Committee of the National Museum of Women in the Arts.
- In 2018, received a “women of vision” award from the Women’s Foundation of Mississippi.
- Not an official honor or award, but at a recent four-day painting event with other artists on Horn Island, she was asked to lead a demonstration.“I was honored, especially on this sacred island where the late Mississippi artist Walter Anderson often visited to draw and paint,” said Langford.
- In March, at the Caron Gallery in Tupelo, MS, with paintings around the idea of coming out of a dark winter into the hope of spring.
- In April, dk Contemporary Gallery in Marietta, GA, a group of paintings around our connections to dogs.
Where to buy: ellenlangford.com
- Instagram: @ellenlangfordpaints
- Facebook: Paintings by Ellen Langford