About the Artist

Matthew D. Ellrod

Fine Arts and Portraits

Matt Ellrod - Biography

I have always loved art. My older brother Rick and I were sure when we were pre-teens that we would eventually work for Marvel Comics, and we went at least once a week to the local bookstore to buy comic books (12 cents back then!).

When I was 8 or 9 I used to draw stick figure superheros for our homemade comic books, and Rick would write the cheesy dialogue. Each superhero had to have a cape with an insignia to indentify him, since there was no way to tell the stick figures apart otherwise. Eventually I began imitating my favorite comic book artists - Jack Kirby (the Fantastic Four); Steve Ditko (Spiderman); Jim Steranko (Nick Fury). Rick and I began a mammoth comic book pitting the 'good guys' (Marvel Comics characters and our own invented superheros) against the 'bad guys' (DC Comics characters and others) when I was about 11 years old. We finally abandoned it after about 150 pages, when I was 16 or so.

When I was 11 my parents signed me up for a Saturday morning charcoal drawing class at the local rec center. I loved drawing in charcoal and my teacher, Barney Loiselle, had to twist my arm to try oil painting. I finished my first painting at age 11, and continued through high school. I shudder to think of all the turpentine fumes I inhaled back in the day, as I played my Monkees records on the 'hi fi' and painted.

I painted mostly landscapes and seascapes when I was young, with an occasional still life or portrait. I experimented with gouache and acrylics but preferred oil paints to other media. Although most of my paintings from that era have disappeared, my first portrait (of my high school girlfriend Cathy) is still in existence, and Cathy was kind enough to email me a photo, which I have posted on this website as my first portrait.

My painting slowed down as I got my bachelor's degree in instrumental music education from Catholic University in Washington DC, and spent three years as a band teacher in elementary schools around the DC area. I then attended law school, graduating in 1983, when I married my lovely wife Louise and we moved to Florida.

Louise and I played in a band for years, and the painting pretty much stopped between 1983 and 2001. In 2001 we decided to retire from the band business, and I took up painting again, concentrating on portraiture. Substituting baby oil for turpentine made it more bearable for my family to paint in the house. Although I enjoy looking at landscapes and seascapes, and admire the excellent painters of those scenes, there's nothing like the response to a portrait, and I find it hard to get up the energy to paint anything but figures and portraits at this time.

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